The Implementation of Decentralization and Local Government Reforms in Turkey and Cameroon : A Comparative Assessment
Bekolo Ebolo, Emmanuel
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This thesis presents a comparative assessment of the implementation of decentralization and local government reforms over the period 2004-2019 in two unitary countries influenced by the Napoleonic model of administrative system. The focus is on the degree of the government closeness to the people manifested in Turkey and Cameroon. Building on the line of comparison suggested by Ivanyna and Shah (2014) further continued with a far more comprehensive framework, seven main variables were assessed: the structure of local government; average size of local government; the weight of local authorities in the multi-level governance; the security of existence of local authorities; the empowerment of local governments in the political, administrative and fiscal dimensions. The study used both secondary data and primary data. The primary data were generated from semi-structured interviews conducted with thirty-three informants from twenty-seven municipalities in different cities of the two countries. The results have revealed a convergence in terms of the presence of sectoral drawbacks preventing the achievement of the highest possible closeness to people. These drawbacks are essentially the continued manifestation of administrative centralization through, among others, a low fiscal decentralization making local governments highly dependent on central government transfers, and a weak participation of citizens in the management of local affairs. However, in each of the variables comparatively assessed, there are also noticeable differences between the two countries putting Turkey in a better situation than Cameroon. Based on these findings, the study concludes with recommendations for the improvement of decentralization outcomes in either country.
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