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Paper short abstract:
This paper aims to reflect on the changing role and political situation of local governments in African countries which tackles decentralization and urbanization. This paper focuses on political impacts brought through decentralization process in urban local governments in Benin and Burkina Faso.
Paper long abstract:
What have decentralization and urbanization brought about impacts on African politics and society from the local level to the national level while democratization process started earlier since the beginning of the 1990s?
Decentralization and urbanization are one of the most remarkable phenomena and have brought about significant political impacts in contemporary African countries and societies. They have been expanding the economic and political gap between urban local governments and rural local governments as the devolution progressed from the central government to local governments. Decentralization encourages international cooperation between African local governments and non-African local governments, and among African local governments.
Decentralization and local governments' international cooperation have significantly influenced the local politics. Decentralization might change the relationship between the state and local governments, and between local government and its residents. The political influence of "elected" mayors of big cities, especially in the capital cities, became much stronger under decentralization process.
First, this paper retraces the historicity of decentralization in Africa. Second, this paper reflects on the impacts of decentralization on African politics and international relations while focusing on the local election, international cooperation coordinated by local governments, and political disputes in urbanizing African local governments through the cases in Benin and Burkina Faso.
It is an appropriate timing to focus on local governments in order to better understand the political and social transformation in decentralizing and urbanizing Africa.
Local Government in decentralizing and urbanizing society (Le gouvernement local dans la société décentralisante et urbanisante)