UN official lauds Kenya’s devolution as ‘pacesetter’ for the region
UN Director of Economic Commission for Africa Antonio Pedro says countries could borrow a leaf from what Kenya has achieved.
- The meeting was arranged to identify the connection between structural transformation, institutions and decentralisation in realising economic growth.
- The four-day meeting addressed various issues deemed important to fast economic growth in in the region.
- These included infrastructural development, as well as creation of stable institutions and the decentralisation process.
A regional forum bringing together 14 African countries in Nairobi has lauded Kenya’s devolution process.
The United Nations director of Economic Commission for Africa’s eastern Africa sub-regional office, Dr Antonio M. A. Pedro, on Thursday said Kenya is a pacesetter in the decentralisation process and as such, other countries could borrow a leaf from what the country has achieved.
He spoke during the final day of the 20th Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) meeting held in Nairobi.
“Kenya can play a very important leading role because overall it is in an advanced stage of devolution,” he said, moments after the four-day meeting was officially closed.
The meeting was arranged to identify the connection between structural transformation, institutions and decentralisation in realising economic growth.
It brought together delegates from 14 eastern Africa countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia, Seychelles, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Djibouti and Eritrea.
The forum noted that although most countries in Eastern Africa have experienced strong economic growth, unequal growth had created pockets of underdevelopment in some regions.
“We need to promote broad-based development for which decentralization is fundamental process particularly when trying to ensure that there is no geographical or spatial inequities,” said Dr Pedro.
The four-day meeting addressed various issues deemed important to fast economic growth in in the region.
These included infrastructural development, as well as creation of stable institutions and the decentralisation process.
“Participants have recognised that structural transformation is key to Africa in claiming its rightful place in global trade dynamics.
We have recognised that the current pattern of growth, which is not inclusive enough, is not sustainable,” said the director.
He highlighted the reasons of its unsustainability as Africa’s overdependence on agriculture and exploitation of raw materials for export.
“The current growth is essentially based on the exploitation of raw materials and export of the same, but we are living in a period where commodity prices are down and are fluctuating.”
Dr Pedro called on the leaders to address leadership and development gaps in both national and county governments and the society in general for Africa to achieve progress.
Delegates agreed that, as a way forward, member countries would establish a dynamic community where experiences from successful countries would be shared to help other countries still in the early stages of the devolution process.
“Some of the things that have been agreed is that there are pockets of leadership existing everywhere, both at national and sub-national levels as realised in private sector, government, civil society, in local communities.”
“We will be documenting best practices on decentralisation and we will facilitate exchanges between communities in the sub-region,” said the director.