Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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MEBRATU Alemu, Development Study, Arba Minch University, Ethiopia

This research is concerned with the assessment of the implementation of decentralization policy in Benishangul Gumuz Region with particular emphasis on Assosa and Menge woredas. The study explores the extent to which decentralization efforts have been under taken in the region and it explores the condition of local governance by examining the status of the facets that underpin local governance namely: participation, transparency, accountability and women’s empowerment. In addition, it examines how far the presence of different ethnic groups has affected the implementation of decentralization efforts in the region.The research employed more of qualitative case study approach. Structured and semi-structured interviews at regional, woreda and kebele levels, focus group discussions with the community,observation, and study of national and regional documents were among the tools that were employed to collect the data for this research. The qualitative method was deemed appropriate to collect the data for this kind of research in view of its flexibility.Absence of political will and commitment to devolve power, ethnic strife, local elite capture, weak budgeting and expenditure administration, poor revenue generating capacity are revealed as some of the major problems associated with the implementation of decentralization process. The study also explain the problem of transferring responsibility to woreda and kebeles without corresponding financial and skilled manpower resources to support them. The study showed that decentralization albeit with many problems has to some extent promoted service delivery in the region. Despite the fact that it has brought insignificant improvement in good local governance in the region; visibly, decentralization has some virtues, which could justify its continued implementation, if many adjustments have to be made for optimal results. To this effect the study proposes various suggestions.