Local governance comprises a set of institutions, mechanisms and processes through which citizens and their groups can articulate their interests and needs and mediate their differences. The participation of citizens in governance is one of the underlying components of democracy. Engaging citizens in the act of governance engenders transparency, improves accountability and public resource management and brings about good policy outcomes, development and the social well-being of citizens. When done effectively, it encourages inclusiveness and cohesiveness, speeds up problem-solving through community initiatives and generally improves the effectiveness of local authorities.

This Report is an exploratory study which adopted various strategies to try to understand the issues, perspectives and results from citizen participation in local governance across various countries and regions in Africa.


Publication date
24 May 2023
Margaret Wanjiku Ngunjiri
Number of pages
978-91-7671-628-1 (PDF)


Executive summary

1. Overview of the study and methodological approach

2. The context of citizen engagement and local governance in Africa

3. Global, continental and regional frameworks in Africa to enhance public participation

4. The effectiveness of existing frameworks on public participation in local governance

5. Existing institutions, mechanisms and practices for public participation

6. Contributions of CSOs and non-state actors to citizen engagement

7. Operationalization of public participation in local governance

8. Summary of country case studies

9. Conclusion and recommendations


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Citizen Participation in Local Governance in Africa

A Selection of Case Studies
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