DEFENCE SPEECH The President of Jury,Distinguished Members of Jury, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening.
TOPIC: ‘Decentralization and Sustainable Local Development inCameroon: The Case of the Fundong Council’.For many decades, decentralization and local development have beenencouraged by many African countries including Cameroon as a meansfor generating a dynamic approach to development by including localstakeholders and beneficiaries in project development andimplementation.
This is based on the premise that decentralized governance provides astructural arrangement and a level playing field for stakeholders and players to promote peace, democracy and development.
Figure 1: The Virtuous Circle of Effective Democratic Sub-national Government •local political processes •wide participation •opportunities for direct democracy •accountability mechanisms •Significant tasks •Sufficient resources •Capacity •Autonomy •Central government backing •Good central-local relations including a civil society capable of engaging with local government governmentsocit
Generally, the study intended to analyse theperformance of the decentralization policy interms of effectiveness in the delivery of servicesdeemed necessary by the local population ofFundong. The study also hoped to highlightinadequacies which could be addressed toimprove performances and lead to development.
More specifically, the study aimed at; •Examining the legal and institutional framework of decentralization in Cameroon. •Analysing the role of the different stakeholders in Cameroon and Fundong in particular. •Assessing the extent to which the results of decentralization have been felt so far in Fundong.
To achieve these objectives the studyanalysed the performance ofdecentralization from 2004 to 2012 whileconsidering 1996 as the year that thecurrent form of decentralization is basedon
This study is conceived and built on thehypothesis that when decentralization isconceived, planned, implemented andsustained as a structural arrangement tosupport and facilitate the involvement of thelocal population in the process of their owndevelopment, it stands strong chances ofpromoting sustainable development.
This means that the decentralization policy canlead to sustainable development because,through participatory management, thegrassroots citizens develop a sense ofownership of the resultant developmentprogrammes.
The designers of decentralization policy inCameroon hoped that when implementedproperly, it would reduce the workload at thecentre, create political and administrativeaccountability, promote responsiveness and inthe long run lead to development
Map of Cameroon showing Bamenda the North Wesr Region whereFundong is found.
However, the problem is; how effective is this process inachieving its development goal in Cameroon and under whatcircumstances can decentralization policies yield developmentresults? More specifically, what roles do the stakeholders inFundong in particular play in the realization of these goals?
The theories made use of in this study were;the Interdependence theory of RobertKeohane and Joseph Nye who posit that theState is no longer the sole actor ininternational relations because of the presenceof others like multinationals and NGOs.
The theories of public policy analysis were also used to enhanceunderstanding of the dynamism of the stakeholders in the process.These include; the referential approach of Pierre Muller, the AdvocacyCoalition Theory of Paul Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith Hank, and thepolicy network approach of Patrick Le Gales and Mark Thatcher.
METHODOLOGY USED• This study made use of both qualitative and quantitative research. Primary and secondary data were used. Primary data was done with the help of questionnaires administered during focus group discussions with quarter heads, community based organisations, opinion leaders and so on, and a random sampling of opinions
The major sources of secondary data werebooks, journal articles, legal instruments,seminar proceedings and documentedinformation from NGOs, MINATD andother credible sources. As concerns datatreatment and analysis, the SPSS 19.0version software was used.
ORGANISATION OF STUDY• The objectives of this study were achieved by focusing attention on various issues. There is a general introduction which provides the object and subject of research. Part one covers the framework of decentralization in Cameroon. The first chapter explores the process. The second chapter examines the stakeholders in the process.
Part two provides an assessment of the implementation ofdecentralization in the Fundong community. Chapter three in parttwo covers community awareness and participation in localgovernance and development. The fourth and last chapter assessessustainable local development in Fundong.
The findings of the study revealed 4 important issues
Firstly, Decentralization asa policy process is notwell-understood by theFundong population eventhough they participate init.
•Besides, the population participatethrough local elections, villagedevelopment committees and localassociations, quarter heads, faith basedassociations among other methods
•Moreover, the local stakeholders in Fundong are the local authorities, the customaryauthorities consulted in matters of tradition, specialised civil society organizations, theprivate sector and the local population as elucidated by appendix C (1).
DEVELOPMENT ACHIEVED Finally, in terms of development, basic In the social domain, PLAN social amenities have been provided like in education, construction of school Cameroon carried out classrooms, provision of study materials sensitization campaigns on and facilities like libraries and books, child protection, child abuse, scholarships etc.• In the health domain, the health centre child labour and other in Fundong has been given equipments advocacy campaigns have while in the villages health care services been done. Civil status like vaccination campaigns, sensitization campaigns on STDs and secretaries have also been reproductive health education, have supported with materials been given. like booklets, communal stamps and stationeries etc.
•Limited access to information•Insufficient human and material resources•Negative attitude towards implementation- women not feeling involved especially•High illiteracy•Gender inequality•Ineffective bureaucratic structure
SUGGESTIONS ON EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION• Encouraging participation from • The institution of accountability women and other marginalised on all the stakeholders in the groups process• Organisation and coordination of • Access to information the interventions of the • Encouraging decentralised stakeholders cooperation• Reinforcement of the capacities • Need for a favourable institution of the local actors
CONCLUSIONDecentralization in Cameroon and Fundong in particular is on an upward thrust. However, the fruits of decentralization in Fundong are still at an early stage of success, given that little has been achieved so far.That brings us to the end of the presentation.
END OF CONCLUSION• We acknowledge the fact that the work was not perfect. We therefore welcome your comments and constructive criticism in the hope of bridging the lapses in the work and making any further research on a similar topic more effective.