Decentralisation is a major policy item across many emerging African democracies. However, repeated waves of local government reforms have had little impact on the region’s continuing problems with governance, and the decentralisation agenda remains incomplete. Yet, within this larger story there are smaller stories, of how different regions and different actors experience differential outcomes in the
decentralisation process. Such stories have not been told in enough detail in the overall narrative on Africa’s decentralisation efforts. This IDS Bulletin is an attempt to get at these micro, comparative stories by accumulating evidence on how decentralisation works differently in a series of countries, and the factors that are responsible for differential outcomes. Together, the
six articles of this issue interrogate the extent to which decentralisation has affected change at the local level and identify the factors that may allow decentralisation efforts to have greater impact through future reforms.