Decentralised Local Governance and Poverty Reduction in Post-1991 Ethiopia: A Political Economy Study

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

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Decentralised Local Governance and Poverty Reduction in Post-1991 Ethiopia: A Political Economy Study


  • Yeshtila Wondemeneh Bekele Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
  • Darley Jose Kjosavik Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway


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Abstract:  After 1991, Ethiopia has introduced an ethnic federal governance system constituting nine regional states and two autonomous city administrations, Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. The restructuring of the state seemingly led to the decentralisation of power to the regions and Woreda (district authority) levels local governance structure in 1995 and 2002 respectively. The purpose of this article is to examine the practices of decentralised local governance in Ethiopia in general and the local governance performance at the level of peasant association (Kebele) in particular. The article also analyses the link between the local governance and poverty based on three indicators: decentralisation and self-rule (DSR), local capacity for planning (LCP), and effectiveness of local governance system (ELGS). Data was collected from eight selected Kebeles of three different regional states through household survey, qualitative interviews and focus group discussions. The study shows that while the power and control of the central government is well established, the Kebeles lack the capacity and resources to deliver development. The LCP at Kebele level is weak because of organisational incapacity and institutional constraints related to DSR. The ELGS is also poor since Kebeles do not have any fiscal rights and administrative power for the reasons associated with DSR and LCP. The government has been implementing poverty reduction strategies using productive safety net programmes and farmer training centres. These, however, have not had the desired outcome due to organisational and institutional incapacitation of Kebele administrations.

Keywords:  decentralised governance; FTC; Kebele; poverty reduction; PSNP

Published:   18 October 2016


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v4i4.590


© Yeshtila Wondemeneh Bekele, Darley Jose Kjosavik. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.