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The urban challenge in Africa: Growth and management of
its large cities|
Edited by Carole Rakodi - United Nations University Press - TOKYO - NEW YORK - PARIS - © The United Nations University, 1997
Kadmiel H. Wekwete
Les caractéristiques des mesures administratives et politiques de l'administration des villes durant la période post-coloniale vent relevées dans le cadre d'un examen d'ensemble de l'évolution de la gestion urbaine. Quelles qu'aient été les différences entre les divers héritages coloniaux, l'administration des villes étaient habituellement confiée aux autorités locales, malgré l'importance du contrôle exercé par le gouvernement central, en particulier dans les pays francophones, les municipalités dépendant plus ou moins des transferts de fonds du gouvernement central. Cette méthode de gestion mettait fortement l'accent sur la planification physique et l'aménagement d'infrastructures et confiait un rôle important au secteur public, tandis que les autres acteurs du développement urbain ne participaient pas activement au processus. On sait l'échec de cette méthode, tout particulièrement à la suite des changements politiques et de la dégradation économique survenus dans le milieu des années 70. Suite à cet échec, dans le cadre de leurs politiques de restructuration économique, la plupart des pays d'Afrique ont tenté de réduire l'intervention de l'État en même temps que les dépenses publiques et de ressusciter le secteur privé. L'on suggère qu'un nouveau modèle d'urbanisme est en train d'apparaître dans le cadre duquel divers acteurs - organisations non gouvernementales, communauté et secteur privé - participent de plus en plus activement au processus de prise de décision et à l'apport de services. Toutefois, ces changements vent le plus souvent imposés de l'extérieur, la décentralisation des responsabilités ne s'est pas accompagnée d'un apport suffisant de ressources, il n'existe pas de mécanismes qui incorporent les ONG dans la prise de décision au niveau des municipalités et l'on ne dispose que de peu d'informations quant à l'impact de la participation accrue du secteur privé dans l'apport des services. Il ressort des quelques exemples disponibles qu'un modèle impliquant en même temps les secteurs public et privé est en train d'apparaître, avec des ONG sans cesse plus nombreuses intervenant parmi les populations à faible revenu, le programme d'urbanisation durable du Centre des Nations Unies pour les Établissements Humains (HABITAT) et la mise en place de mécanismes de consultation pour décider des priorités. Toutefois, il n'existe pas suffisamment d'analyses rigoureuses des résultats de ces initiatives pour permettre d'en tirer des conclusions précises, que ce soit au sujet de la mesure dans laquelle cette nouvelle méthode est en train de remplacer l'ancien modèle sectoriel, fondé sur le secteur public, hiérarchisé de haut en bas ou quant à la question de savoir si ce nouveau modèle orienté sur l'action, autorisé par le secteur public, décentralisé, à vocation socio-économique, a des chances de surmonter de façon plus efficace les problèmes de la croissance urbaine.
The elusiveness of urban management as a concept has been widely acknowledged (Stren, 1993; Mattingley, 1994). Indeed, Stren observes that the concept is strongly lacking in content and that it is largely an analysed abstraction. This is in spite of the significant interest in urban management that has been generated at local and international levels, as represented particularly in the World Bank, UN Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS), and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Urban Management Programme of 1986-1999. The key question still remains: What is urban management? What are the objects to be managed and what is the operational reality of that management?
In Africa, urban management refers to the political and administrative structures of cities and the major challenges that they face to provide both social and physical infrastructure services. These include managing urban economic resources, particularly land and the assets of the built environment, creating employment, and attracting investment in order to improve the quality and quantity of goods and services available (Clarke, 1991). Enumerating the challenges and aims, however, does not necessarily specify how urban management can achieve all these different goals.
The traditional view associates urban management primarily with municipal and central government. This is a largely supply-driven model, whereby the state and its agencies have the statutory responsibilities for management. The provision of services and their maintenance are therefore viewed as rights that citizens expect, partly as a result of the taxes they pay and partly because of the political legitimacy that they give to both the state and local authorities. Indeed, in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, there are local government statutes or decrees that define local responsibilities and also articulate centre-local relationships.
A more recent view of management articulates a broader governance view that brings to the fore the role that civil society plays and expands the range of stakeholders to include private sector agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and a variety of interest groups (Mabogunje, 1990). Urban management within the broader governance perspective has to be more participative, broader in outlook, more transparent, and less bureaucratic. Although there are no significant changes in what is being managed, the range and scope of actors significantly increase.
Urban management has been influenced by other forces at work, particularly the globalization of the world economy. The importance of globalization and global restructuring of the world economy has been discussed earlier in this volume by Rakodi (chap. 2), Simon (chap. 3), Rogerson (chap. 10), and others. Rapid advances in information technology and the liberalization of the international capitalist regime have significantly reduced the barriers of territorial borders, and have, in particular, reinforced the position of cities and towns as significant points of exchange and interaction. This transformation has been linked to the "regimes of accumulation" thesis, which highlights major changes in labour markets and consumption patterns, particularly the deregulation of markets. The organization of production has shifted away from the Fordist principles that shaped the industrial revolution of the Western world, with the systems now becoming more technologically driven, flexible, and decentralized. Globally, cities are more interlinked and have to be competitive in a global sense to attract capital. Older cities have to compete with new centres of production, and more and more have less of a manufacturing base as their economies become more service oriented.
At local and national levels, a major trend has been the shift from centralized government systems to more decentralized ones (Mawhood, 1983/1993). The international structural adjustment process, together with the end of the Cold War, has reinforced the idea of the market and placed less and less emphasis on state intervention. Decentralization and local government have been emphasized in many countries and this has significantly improved the visibility of municipal and city governments.
Although, as emphasized by Rakodi, Simon, and others in this volume, Africa has been relatively marginalized by recent globalization processes, it has nevertheless been influenced by the major global trends and has also made some adaptations. Structural economic adjustment has been a major trend in all African countries, and this has involved devaluations of currencies, major restructuring of the public sector, and in many cases increased poverty and unemployment (see, especially, chap. 13 in this volume). The positive scenario is that this is temporary and will be followed by growth in the economy. In most countries, however, structural adjustment policies have generally ignored urban areas and the local institutions that must manage them. Indeed, structural adjustment has been hailed as a possible solution to the problems of urban bias, as the terms of trade shift in favour of the productive rural areas (Becker et al., 1994; see also chaps. 3 and 13 in this volume).
The major trend in most towns and cities has been that of an increasing crisis in terms of failure to provide services and to attract new investment. Calls have been made for improved urban management and building up capacities at local and national levels. Some commentators have viewed urban management as a new paradigm, representing a shift from master plans to a much more dynamic process of managing urban economies (see also chap. 14 in this volume). There is no substantive evidence that such a new paradigm has emerged to date, because urban management has continued to operate within the framework of a traditional sectoral, public sector management model. Urban management has continued to be viewed in terms of addressing problems of land, environment, infrastructure, poverty, and finance, which are the traditional domains of city and town management. A typical municipal/city government operates on the basis of departments (e.g. Health, Town Planning, Engineering), which have responsibility for providing and maintaining services. These departments are usually linked to the operations of those central government ministries with responsibility for managing cities. Indeed all these models are top-down, sectoral, and based on a link-pin system for the organization of the state apparatus.
The objective of this chapter is to highlight the urban management experience in Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. Given the major challenge of rapid urbanization, the chapter will examine the challenges and highlight some of the key experiences. Significant interest has been generated in this subject since the publication of an edited volume by Richard Stren and Rodney White (1989) on African cities in crisis. This volume captured some very interesting case-studies across Africa, particularly highlighting the growing deficiency in services and the inability of traditional management systems to provide the answers. An important question to ask is: Are any new models emerging from the experiences both of the large cities reviewed in this book and of others, and how are they shaping the management systems?
Conceptual framework for urban management in Africa
The management of towns and cities in Africa is part and parcel of the public sector management system of government inherited from the colonial era. Towns and cities operate through elected and appointed local government representatives, who have the political and administrative mandates to provide and manage social and physical infrastructure services. The powers of local governments are provided by central government (state/federal governments) and within the model there are variations in terms of the nature of local government structures and centre-local relationships.
In both francophone and anglophone Africa, the responsibility for managing towns and cities revolves around land management and related built environment services. The local authorities aim to determine planning permission for all development and, together with central government, to provide and manage services. Other responsibilities are defined by the enabling statutes and are translated into the work of both political and technical-bureaucratic committees. This is the nature of the inherited municipal management model, although it is far removed from actual practice in many African cities today.
Urban management responsibility in African cities straddles urban physical planning, urban administration, and social services provision. This represents several areas of responsibility, which form the basis for the key administrative departments. The main stakeholders in urban management include central government, local government, non-governmental agencies, private sector business, urban households, and the various segments of civil society. These groups have interests in the way towns and cities are managed and create a dynamic environment of both competing and complementary interests. Traditionally, local government represents the public interest, and in particular the management of externalities created as a result of the operations of the different interest groups. Like central government, local government aims to ensure that public interest is maintained and regulates activities to ensure free and fair competition. The intention is to provide a restraint on the operation of markets to serve private interests, and to ensure the protection of all interest groups in society. In terms of management objectives, the aims of government differ significantly from private sector corporate objectives, which usually have a focus on profit maximization, although in the end there is convergence in terms of a need for efficiency and effective management.
Although current development thinking tries to separate markets and politics, it is clear that in urban management they are linked and mutually dependent. Urban management addresses key public goods that are prerequisites for markets to function various dimensions of law and order, property rights, and enforcement of contracts through planning permits. Of particular importance is providing the physical skeleton and circulatory systems that are essential to the functioning of urban economies, because they allow goods and services to move to the market.
The objects to be managed vary significantly by country and city, depending on the powers of the local government system. Table 15.1 shows the range of local responsibility, ranging from primary responsibility to no responsibility at all. In all cases the role of central government is important, so that, even where the municipality has primary responsibility, central government sectoral ministries or agencies still play a key role, particularly in terms of project funding and providing expertise. In table 15.1 there is significant commonality in the area of general urban services provision and physical planning. There is also general agreement that the local authorities are the main actors in terms of municipal management. They assume this primary responsibility because they directly provide services and usually levy charges for what they can provide. The crisis in most African cities is the failure to provide services, particularly as most urban areas have expanded without formal planning. The new spontaneous and squatter areas are not covered by formal services, despite accommodating as many as 60 per cent of urban residents. This is a problem of both management capacity and increasing poverty, because most of the new migrants do not have formal jobs and have limited incomes (see also chap. 13).
Table 15.1 Local responsibility for services in selected African cities
P = primary responsibility
Within the areas already provided with services there is a maintenance crisis - potholes in the roads, broken water pipes, lack of garbage collection services, and a general lack of investment in infrastructure. The per capita levels of investment in infrastructure have declined to zero in the past decade for most major cities. There are no new highways, street lighting, refuse collection trucks, or markets. Cities such as Nairobi, as already discussed by Obudho in chapter 9, are experiencing major decay in terms of infrastructure. The source of this problem is government policy that has not allowed significant resource flows to towns and cities, and has not provided local autonomy for revenue generation.
Another important local responsibility that has significantly emerged is that of social services. This has been the result of the rapid urban growth, civil disorder, lack of employment, and the refugee crisis faced in many countries. Municipal/city governments have been called on greatly to expand the horizon of their management responsibilities to include a significant component of social services delivery. There is a call that they should address a variety of social problems that emanate from lack of employment and growing social disintegration in urban areas (UNCHS/UNDP/World Bank, 1995).
In defining local responsibility, it is crucial to factor in centre-local relationships because they determine overall resource allocation and determine the limits of powers that local authorities enjoy. The tradition in both francophone and anglophone countries is that, although local authorities have been given a whole range of responsibilities, this is not always matched with the resources they are granted. The mismatch is particularly severe because of the rapid growth of urban areas and the attendant demand for services. In most African cities the major services have been neglected or abandoned because of the failure to transfer resources from the centre.
In terms of the capacity to generate local revenues, many urban local authorities are severely hampered because they are responsible for highly inelastic taxes and have poor means for local collection. The overall median of local taxes as a percentage of total local expenditure was 46 per cent for a sample of developing countries before 1979 and 39 per cent after 1979. Table 15.2 shows a sample of towns and cities in sub-Saharan Africa and the significance of local tax revenues in local expenditures. Data are very patchy in most African countries and so a major exercise is under way to strengthen the gathering of baseline data at local levels (UNCHS/UNDP/World Bank, 1995). This is an important dimension of the extent of local authority in local economic decision-making. In most African cities the contribution of local revenues is very limited and therefore they have to depend on transfers from central government for their development budgets. This dependence has been growing as the range of responsibilities has increased. In table 15.2 it is clear that after 1979 there was a significant decline in local tax revenues. This is the result of both poor management capacity and a lack of new taxable investments.
To be able to construct a meaningful model for urban management, two issues have to be identified: first, responsibility and, secondly, the objects to be managed. In recent years the responsibilities of local government have grown significantly as cities have grown and their range of interests increased. Of importance in African cities is the role that local and international NGOs increasingly play in the development of urban services. There is also growing participation by the private sector. The definition of responsibility therefore requires a clear delineation of what the different actors do and the matrix of management responsibility. The local government statutes usually stipulate what municipalities and metropolitan governments should do, but in practice they fail to articulate the roles of the different actors in urban management. In terms of micro-level support to households and individuals, NGOs and CBOs have been very active in interventions to strengthen health, education, and credit, as well as strengthening decentralization in decision-making, particularly in low-income urban areas (see also El-Shakhs' discussion of these issues in chap. 14 of this volume). Part of re-emergent civil society (see chap. 12 in this volume), they have mobilized poor urban communities on a location basis and provided them with support to improve their livelihoods. One of the major new dimensions of urban management is therefore the increased involvement of new management actors. Urban households have become much more involved in the process of management, sometimes out of sheer necessity and sometimes through the active involvement of CBOs and NGOs. There are many varieties of community-based organizations, including social and cultural groups, religious groups, and other more specific task-related groups.
Table 15.2 Local taxes as a percentage of total local expenditure in selected African cities
Although the private sector has always been the economic engine of city economies, it has never been formally incorporated as part of the management system. The traditional model of management has always been driven by public sector investment programming, and one of its key objectives has been to create favourable conditions for private capital investment. As long as public funds were invested in essential infrastructure, the private sector role was seen in terms of paying taxes and other service charges for the services rendered. With the growing inability of the public sector to provide services, private firms have began to provide their own services (private electricity generators, private maintenance of service roads, private garbage collection). This involvement has been out of need, although it is now formalized as public-private partnerships in urban management. Another source of the collaboration has been through increased subcontracting of services traditionally carried out by municipalities.
In developing a conceptual model for urban management there is a need to capture some of these dynamics and also to include all the key political, economic, and social variables. The major transformations are occurring at all levels, thus making the management matrix complex and multidimensional. Table 15.3 depicts the traditional urban management model, with a clear sectoral public sector orientation and an emphasis on physical planning and infrastucture provision. In this model, local and especially central government are the dominant actors, with non-governmental organizations and international assistance playing a limited role in social sector provision and other emergency relief, perhaps accounting for one-fifth of all management activity.
Table 15.3 The traditional urban management model
Table 15.4 The emerging public-private sector model of urban management
The range of actors involved in urban management has grown significantly and there is an emphasis on local-level interventions by NGOs and CBOs. Indeed there has been an abandonment of master plans in favour of more flexible and incremental planning. This is reflected in a range of coordination-type plans that municipalities and cities are advocating. Attention has shifted away from a predominant central government/municipality involvement to the new actors, including local non-governmental agencies, international non-governmental agencies, and private sector business. There is less of a focus on blueprint land-use planning and public sector investment planning and more on coordination planning, where the municipality plays the role of enabler. One could argue that the public-private model is based on the enabling doctrine, according to which government provides an environment conducive to maximum participation by different actors, and that the agenda for management has shifted more to social issues as opposed to traditional physical planning. In all cases the enabling agenda has been more human oriented, focusing on the living standards of urban households, with more attention paid to the informal sector, poverty reduction, access to justice, and broader governance questions.
This public-private sector management model has been largely sustained by external support and resources, particularly from NGOs and bilateral donors, because most cities have limited resources and their revenue bases have not expanded. Indeed, although decentralization of responsibility might have formally increased, there are still very severe constraints on making it function. In theory, the de-emphasis on central public sector planning should strengthen local-level operations, but in practice in many African countries central governments are granting maximum autonomy to local government without adding any extra resources. The dependence of local authorities on central government is being replaced by dependence on donors, which could have adverse long-term consequences for the overall national development process. Thus three sets of relationships must be recognized, critically examined, and re-formed if the shift towards a new form of urban management is to make progress and achieve its aims.
First, as discussed earlier in this volume, urban growth is occurring within economic and political circumstances that are relatively unstable and without sustained economic growth. The shift from model I to model II is therefore not entirely organic, in that, like the institutions and laws that underpin the management structures, it is largely externally induced. The consequences of the Structural Adjustment Programmes are all pervasive and have particularly influenced the development model adopted, from one dominated by the state apparatus to one now largely left to market forces. For many countries and cities the change has not been out of choice but as a direct or indirect result of policy conditionality imposed by the influential Bretton Woods institutions (the IMF and World Bank), which have exerted a significant influence in shaping macroeconomic policies and in turn influence the policies of bilateral donors.
Secondly, although the focus of municipal and city government has always been at local government level, this is very dependent on centre-local relationships. Only in a few countries (e.g. Namibia) is local government enshrined in the constitution. In most cases local government is created by central government and therefore receives its powers and responsibilities from the enabling statutes or decrees. This situation continues to prevail even where there has been a significant shift to a public-private sector model of management. The issue of local government autonomy remains a major factor in the resolution of the nature and character of urban management. Recently, countries such as Zambia, Uganda, and Ghana, under the impetus of the Structural Adjustment Programmes, have proclaimed a significant degree of autonomy for local government. This is a positive approach, allowing for the consolidation of local decision-making powers and may promote meaningful public-private sector development at local levels, if economic growth is achieved.
Thirdly, although the role of NGOs and CBOs has been acknowledged, in most cases there are no formal structures at municipal levels to incorporate them in ongoing decision-making processes. In only very limited cases are non-governmental organizations formally involved in decision-making. They usually get involved in specific local-level interventions that municipalities may view as ad hoc and short lived. There is also a major problem of coordination, which has been experienced in cities such as Lusaka, Nairobi, and Freetown. The role that NGOs are playing is significant. They are responsible for the majority of improvements in low-income settlements. What is lacking are formal relationships, which need to be established between elected local governments and NGOs and CBOs, so that the former can become more demand responsive and the latter better coordinated.
Finally, another important trend has been the debate on public-private partnerships focusing on the profit-making private sector. An increasing role for the private sector has been projected, in terms of franchising, contracting out, leasing, etc. Several major conferences have been held in sub-Saharan Africa (the most recent a Mayors' Colloquium held in Accra in November 1995) to discuss the prospects for strengthening private sector involvement. Some interesting experiences are emerging in the provision of utilities where the private sector is playing a dominant role. There is a need for further research to document the experiences and to map out the changes occurring.
In synthesizing the shift from the traditional urban management model to the public-private sector model it is important to factor in a range of specific country socio-economic and political variables and to track their influence in the process. This can be achieved only through detailed case-studies. In this chapter, only limited evidence will be cited to demonstrate the changes that have occurred or are occurring. It is important to re-emphasize that there are major differences between countries, particularly in relation to differences in size and level of urbanization, which influence both the scale and nature of the problems and appropriate institutional frameworks.
The most effective way of addressing the experience with the changes that have occurred in urban management is to use a common time-scale and to chart the changes through it. In the process, the experiences of different cities can be mirrored together. The case-studies in this volume go a long way to achieving that purpose and therefore this particular review will be synthetic, highlighting what are considered to be the major trends.
As noted by Rakodi in chapter 2, at independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s the level of urbanization was very low. In most countries, fewer than 20 per cent of their population were living and working in urban areas. In spite of that, towns and cities still accounted for a substantial portion of total economic activity. Over half of Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) is generated in urban centres and it has been estimated that 75 per cent of industrial activity is urban based and up to 50 per cent of all services. Even when agricultural production is dominant, urban centres are still responsible for providing essential inputs and specialized services, whether produced locally or imported. During the colonial and immediate post-colonial eras the management of towns and cities followed what have been described as the "anglophone" and "francophone" models of government (Alderfer, 1964). These were typical traditional municipal management models, where service provision and maintenance were very much centred on the city hall. In most countries, rural to urban migration was a controlled phenomenon (particularly in southern and eastern Africa), resulting in relatively well-planned and functional urban centres. The image of towns as places of "European settlement" prevailed, and the patterns and processes of governance reflected this. Management was centred on the physical fabric of urban areas, and usually physical planning and provision of services were a prerequisite for development.
In all the countries, it is crucial to understand the colonial legacy and how it shaped the philosophies and ideologies of planning and managing cities. Colonial urbanization implanted new settlements in what were primarily agrarian societies, and the new settlements were completely packaged to reflect the needs of colonial administrators, traders, and settlers. This brought in new value systems, which shaped both the physical and social spaces created in urban areas, as shown by Anyumba (1995) for Kisumu. The new post-colonial administrators adopted the colonial inheritance but were immediately confronted by the major contradictions it presented. These "islands" of economic activity had to be transformed so that they could benefit the needs of the majority of the population, who were still largely rural. The urban areas set high standards for development, and so one of the legacies of colonial Africa has been the maintenance of standards. Until the 1973 oil shocks, most of the major urban centres managed to maintain their social and physical infrastructures fairly well, and, indeed, as highlighted by Becker et al. (1994), most African countries experienced rapid employment growth, with manufacturing employment growth rates of over 10 per cent per year. However, after 1975 there was slower growth and by 1985 patterns of negative growth began to prevail in most countries. This had a major effect on private investment in urban areas, and infrastructure investment declined to zero.
Besides the changes in economic performance, African countries underwent major political changes. Most significant was the almost universal adoption of one-party systems of government and the emergence of military forms of government as a result of coups in the 1960s and 1970s. This had major consequences for local government in both rural and urban areas, and the impact was more significant for the established municipal and city governments.
The first consequence was the loss of the relative autonomy of local governments, as representation became largely a reflection of the one-party structures or military government appointees. Very limited decision-making capacity was left at local level. This applied to all the major countries that had attained independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s - for example, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, and Uganda. In the case of Ghana and Nigeria, the military took over, signalling the end of elected national and local governments. In Zambia and Tanzania, the adoption of one-party systems seriously weakened the local government systems. In Uganda, there was growing political instability, which eventually resulted in a military dictatorship. The new governmental structures in all these situations resulted in a growing centralization of political and administrative powers. In francophone countries, which already had a tradition of centralized government, the post-independence adoption of one-party systems reinforced the situation.
The second consequence, closely linked to the first, was the growing management and administrative paralysis at city and municipal government levels. The usurping of all decision-making powers by central government created a major problem in terms of the traditional roles that city local governments had played. The lack of effective municipal governments meant a serious lack of attention to urban problems. There was no political constituency to articulate problems of infrastructure development and maintenance at city government levels. The people who were made mayors and chief executives of urban local authorities had neither the experience nor the competence to deal with urban affairs. In most cases they were simply party or military appointees with no specific urban interests. This represented a major departure from the tradition of civic leaders and aldermen, which was based on a culture of civic interest. In this tradition, towns and cities were managed by those with an interest in the basic activities of the urban economy.
Decentralization of decision-making under one-party systems was largely focused on de-concentrating central government authority to the lowest levels. This authority was in the form of the party, government ministries, and the public sector investment framework. The decentralization did not recognize specific urban interests, which were treated equally with rural district interests. In many cities this distorted land information systems, disrupted the formalization of property rights (Kinshasa, Zaire; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania), and instituted high-level corruption in the functioning of the urban economy, particularly with respect to land allocation (see also chap. 11 in this volume). Even within cities such as Nairobi, functioning in a highly capitalized environment, central government interests and interference distorted normal market functions, making land access largely a political issue.
By 1980, evidence from most major African cities clearly reflected the strain on services, lack of maintenance of infrastructure, and virtual collapse of the traditional municipal model of government. This was the result of political interference, demographic pressure, lack of investment, and poor management. Politically and economically, towns and cities were viewed as part of a chain leading up to central government. There was a clear formal exclusion of other development actors in the process. The lack of autonomy in decision-making meant that local revenue collection was neglected or even abandoned at city level. There was no effective management of human resources and so key personnel left or became redundant. This is a major problem in most African cities today, where there is no cadre of managers with competence and a vision to manage the cities. Salaries are very low and so motivation is non-existent. This is, however, not unique to municipalities, because it affects the whole public sector.
Recent case-studies have highlighted problems of rapid, uncontrolled, and unplanned urbanization: acute shortages of housing and basic shelter; lack of employment; and a high incidence of crime and violence (Stren and White, 1989; Amis and Lloyd, 1990). In Kinshasa, Zaire, Mbuyi (1989) forcefully concluded that "the law of the strongest prevails and the anarchy of Kinshasa's land systems benefits heavy capitalist speculation" (see also Piermay, chap. 7 in this volume). In most cases the management systems have been run down and are riddled with corruption. These problems have been highlighted for Nairobi, Kampala, Addis Ababa, Lusaka, Dakar, and Khartoum (Stren and White, 1989) and for the cities considered in this volume. The problem is not only a lack of resources but a lack of vision. This vision should normally be embedded in both the political and administrative structures, which must be robust enough to respond to the dynamic changes in urban economies.
In response to the well-documented deficiencies and collapse of management systems at city and municipal levels, a variety of nontraditional public sector approaches have been adopted. Most have been supported and funded by external non-governmental organizations and bilateral donors. Initially the focus of most of these agencies was on rural development, but since the 1980s there have been dramatic changes in terms of support to the urban sector. In the late 1970s and early 1980s new approaches emerged in the shelter/housing sector, largely sponsored by the World Bank (for example Dakar, Lusaka, Nairobi), advocating a site and services approach, aided self-help, and a variety of other enabling strategies. This was a recognition of the problems of delivering complete housing units and the high standards that made the outputs unaffordable. There was a call for more community involvement in management processes and a more incremental approach to urban development. In terms of overall urban management, this important shift was an acknowledgement of the role that households play in the development process, and of the city as a dynamic entity with processes occurring at different times and scales.
However, such innovations were not fully incorporated in the political and administrative structures of cities, which in most cases continued to collapse. The new projects created management structures that sometimes duplicated existing municipal structures. The new structures were externally funded and usually managed by expatriates. The end result was that they became unsustainable when the project life expired (for example, in Lusaka and in Dandora in Nairobi). It was not possible to replicate them because the local conditions were never fully recognized in project management. The projects remained outside innovations, with their own structures and direct funding. This has continued to be a major problem with donor-funded projects, in that instead of reforming existing institutions they have usually created new ones linked specifically to project funds.
In the 1980s and 1990s, as also discussed by Aina in chapter 12, there has been a major flourishing of NGOs and CBOs and they have become accepted as part of the urban management scene. In Nairobi, Kenya, for example, there are at least 20 NGOs and CBOs operating at various levels and locations within the city. Their focus is very diverse, but their main thrust is to support urban households in improving their livelihoods. Support has been given to the jua-kali (informal) sector, which includes skills training, improving access to credit, and marketing of jua-kali products. There has also been a strong focus on poverty-reduction programmes at local neighbourhood level, e.g. Action Aid programmes in Korogocho, Nairobi, and Undugu Society programmes, which are city wide. In some cases, interventions by the non-governmental sector have been carried out in conjunction with the city and central government management systems. There are also several cases where external agencies have provided direct support to localities in conjunction with the local authorities. This has been typical when emergency action is required, e.g. support to refugees and displaced people. This has happened in Tanzania and in Zaire after the Rwandan tragedy. It has also been experienced in peacetime conditions in Lusaka, Zambia, where the World Food Programme has provided support for food-for-work programmes in the spontaneous and squatter areas.
There have been a variety of interventions in other cities sponsored by bilateral donor aid, external NGOs, and multilateral programmes. In all cases the intervention is a direct function of the collapse or non-functionality of the public sector management model. As cities fail to provide water supply, to remove garbage, to provide basic infrastructure, to provide shelter and housing, space has been created for the participation of the non-governmental sector, and new forms of cooperation have emerged in addressing the problems of urban low-income residents. Like the rural sector in the 1960s and 1970s, there are now a significant number of new management actors operating in towns and cities. This has been positive, but there are still major problems of developing integrated management approaches to avoid duplication and disjointed project implementation.
Although no distinct new paradigm of management has emerged, there is no doubt that both central and local governments have recognized the role and importance of the non-governmental sector in urban management. There are several areas where NGOs and CBOs clearly have advantages over the traditional city management models. These include community mobilization in poor and disadvantaged areas, social support at local levels, and the provision of services that are affordable and have adaptable standards. However, it is clear that, if they operate in a political and/or administrative vacuum, major problems arise in terms of ad hoc approaches, donor-driven orientation, and generally a lack of sustainability.
More recently, new approaches have been proposed to strengthen the urban management capacities of municipalities. One example is the UNCHS (Habitat) Sustainable Cities Programme (SCP; see also chap. 14 in this volume), whose key objective has been to strengthen the planning and management capacities of urban governments. The programme uses environmental issues as an entry point in trying to strengthen the capacities and abilities of municipalities and encourage broad-based and effective public participation. The approach is largely procedural. The four key steps recommended are:
The approach is being implemented in several cities globally, and in most cases it is too early to draw any definite conclusions. In Africa the approach has been adopted in Dar es Salaam, Ibadan, and Accra, with Dar es Salaam as the oldest project (started in 1991/92).
The other major global initiative is the Urban Management Programme, which was launched in 1986, to strengthen the technical and management capacity of countries with respect to urban development. Policy papers have been prepared for the key sectors (land, environment, finance, infrastructure, and poverty) and used in city and country consultations. There is no doubt of the importance of the programme in raising global awareness of urban issues and providing a framework for dissemination of best practices. Like the Sustainable Cities Programme, the focus has been on cities and improving their management performance. Although the annual programme evaluations have been positive, a major criticism has been the scattered nature of the programme and particularly its lack of focus at regional level.
In spite of these initiatives, African cities continue to lack management systems to deal with the challenges of urban development. Most of the global initiatives concentrate on technocratic and procedural issues and fail to address key political and other social dimensions. They have also tended to lack a strong grounding in economic issues, and therefore have hardly addressed critical issues such as the Structural Adjustment Programmes that many countries have been grappling with. Issues such as decentralization have been highlighted without a clear understanding and knowledge of the political dynamics. Therefore hope lies more in the small changes and initiatives that are occurring at local municipal and city levels. Some of these, which could be positive indicators for the future, are reported in anecdotal form in the succeeding paragraphs.
In Johannesburg, South Africa, the city council has been relatively innovative in terms of improving the economic opportunities of the small business and informal sectors, even before the end of apartheid. In the city centre, the planning authority has tried to accommodate informal vendors, thus improving their employment and income opportunities. There is also a much stronger economic orientation in city management in Johannesburg and other South African cities than in other African countries, and this has, inter alia, promoted a more efficient development control system geared to catering for the needs of developers. However, as Beavon has emphasized (chap. 5 in this volume), the legacy of apartheid remains strong and will be difficult to overcome in spite of the non-racial political structures being established. The new local government system that was established in 1995 will require significant resources and good management to address the legacy of segregated cities effectively.
In Harare, Zimbabwe, although there have been no major new management innovations, some successes have been recorded since 1980 in adapting the colonial city to the broader needs of the African population. In housing, although major shortages exist, the policy of selling municipal houses to sitting tenants has been successful in empowering African householders, who have become more permanent urban residents and small landlords in many cases. The city has also retained a capacity to generate local revenues and to maintain its infrastructure (Wekwete, 1992). However, there are growing problems of providing services for the increasing numbers of school leavers and those retrenched as a result of the intensified Structural Adjustment Programme since 1990, and of sustaining service provision in a situation of increased economic stress.
In Lusaka, Zambia, the new movement for multi-party democracy reinstated democratic local government in 1991. However, because of years of decay, not much change has occurred and the municipalities still need to be overhauled. There is still too much administrative control in spite of the autonomy enshrined in the Local Government Act. Lusaka offers a good laboratory in terms of the role of private, non-profit actors who have claimed space in the management matrix. Several bilateral aid agencies have set up projects in Lusaka's unplanned compounds, focusing on upgrading and providing social services. The major crisis is the lack of strategic decision-making, which is crucial for major infrastructure investments to improve the performance of the city as a whole (UNCHS, 1993a). The experience of the city shows that the restoration of local democracy requires civic education both amongst citizens and amongst those elected to public office: in 1995 all the elected councillors were suspended and some departmental directors suspended or transferred.
In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the city has suffered major infrastructure decay since the mid-1960s and has grown spontaneously without a municipal management system. Central government has a major influence in decision-making through the ministries and parastatals. In 1992, the Sustainable Dar es Salaam project began, with the objective of strengthening management capacity and improving the participation of key stakeholders. The project has set up working groups to deal with the priority areas identified in the environmental profile. This has stimulated significant activity and attracted central government attention to the urban management needs of the city. However, the project has not yet addressed the structural problems that the city faces. These include central-local relationships, particularly the administrative and financial questions. Both these dimensions are still dominated by the central government, and there are few resources for the city to operate with. The major innovation of the project has been the strengthening of a participatory system of management and a forging of public-private sector partnerships. These, however, will not be sustainable unless the management structure is overhauled and the city is able to generate its own local revenues (Mabogunje et al., 1990).
As discussed by Obudho in chapter 9 in this volume, in Nairobi, Kenya, the city has declined from being a vibrant capital of East Africa to one bogged down by lack of basic services. The decay has been explained in terms of corruption at "City Hall," too much central government interference, and the rapid informal development of the city. The then mayor of Nairobi opened the Nairobi City Convention (July 1993) by highlighting the problems of greed and corruption, excessive central government interference facilitated through the powers of the Local Government Act, and the increasing failure of the city to pay its way. The "Nairobi we want" convention was an important social and political landmark, in that it brought together a wide range of actors from the public and private sectors. The resulting action plan covered all the major sectors of the city's development, and highlighted the need to restore and reinforce professionalism and ethics at City Hall. Although there has been no follow-up in terms of implementation, the convention created a forum that has remained an important pressure group on the need for change. Even after the former mayor was deposed, the new mayor has continued to crusade against corruption and has uncovered the "ghost" workers of the city. Recently, the mayor suspended several key officers of council, including the town clerk and chief planner (Karuga, 1993).
In Kampala, Uganda, there are interesting management innovations within the broader governance system that has been established. The Resistance Council System has offered opportunities to change the way both municipal and district councils function and has broadened their responsibilities and scope. Resistance Councils are democratically elected authorities whose jurisdiction covers socio-economic development. In terms of urban management, this innovation has strengthened bottom-up processes in the management of municipalities. There is no evidence yet of Resistance Councils strengthening the capacity for local revenue generation, but there is evidence of strong local-level participation in local-level (neighbourhood) development.
These examples point to some of the limited innovations occurring in the urban management sphere. There is still a major challenge to document them and to identify emerging models. There is, however, evidence of a shift towards a more public-private sector management model, away from the predominantly public sector approach.
The main conclusion of this chapter is that recent urban management experience in Africa clearly shows that changes are occurring in terms of who manages the cities and what objects are being managed. Although there has been significant documentation of the malaise found in many cities, there has not been enough documentation or conceptualization of the types of changes that are occurring. As a result, my conclusion that a changing model of urban management is emerging can be only provisional.
It is important that urban management, like economic management, be viewed first and foremost as the management of scarce resources in ways that are sustainable, equitable, and efficient. Traditional economic variables (land, labour, and capital) have to be understood within the framework of urban economies. Organization for city management should therefore have a significant economic and business orientation. This dimension has been lacking, resulting in a tendency to focus on the supply orientation of urban management. Another key variable is political organization. Any management process has a political base and in many cities of Africa it is vital that the base shifts away from central government to local government. This shift, if it occurs, will undermine the traditional top-down orientation and strengthen the role of democratically elected authorities and civil society generally. Those elected to manage the cities should be fully empowered to take responsibility for their actions and should have the freedom to appoint good managers, lawyers, planners, and accountants to manage city activities. All this points to a need to strengthen local autonomy and to tilt centre-local relationships in favour of the local level. Finally, in each case there is no escape from asking: What is being managed? Who is being managed? What is the formula for resource allocation and management? These are critical and fundamental questions and they have to be asked and answered in a holistic way. This is the challenge for urban management in Africa now and into the future.
The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements or its officials or individuals acting on its behalf.
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