Over the last fifteen years, Mozambique has pursued a decentralization model which combines the deconcentration of public services at provincial and district level, with the simultaneous devolution of certain responsibilities to urban local governments. Local Administration (Provinces and Districts) have executed increasing proportions of the general and sector budgets, while Local Governments (Municipalities) have lately received extended competence for service delivery in sectors like health, education and transport.

The decentralization process has brought about considerable changes, for example it contributed to a more cost-effective delivery of several basic services and a deepening of democratization. However, major challenges still stand in the way for Mozambique to reap the full potential that decentralization holds. Current developments such as the increasing economic focus on the extraction of natural resources, will surely bring about new challenges in terms of the allocation of resources, protection of the environment, local economic development and corruption. Are central and local governments in Mozambique prepared to meet these challenges?

In order to strengthen technical knowledge and understanding of the outcomes of Decentralisation reforms so far, to share views about the challenge ahead, and to reflect on how to increase the effectiveness of development cooperation in Decentralisation and Local Governance, Development partners and Government officials requested DeLoG* to support an in-country joint learning event. The Hague Academy, together with ECDPM and Bernhard Weimer (a Mozambique based expert in decentralisation), were asked to assist in the preparation and implementation of this event, which took place from  18-20 April in Maputo and was based on DeLoGs generic training course on aid effectiveness, harmonisation, decentralisation and local governance and an in-depth analysis of local case studies, programmes, policies & strategies. One of the major success factors of the event, was that it managed to bring together a broad group of participants from the ministries of state administration and finance, as well as sector ministries, various local governments, civil society organisations and development partners. At the end of the course participants expressed the desire to continue working together on a more integrated implementation of all (sectoral) components of decentralization and to start looking at the best way to harmonize donor support to local governments.

* DeLoG stands for the development partners working group on (De)centralisation & (Lo)cal (G)overnance. DeLoG is an informal network of 27 bi- and multilateral development partners which was created in 2006.