Senior officials representing governments, local authorities and NGOs from 29 African countries gathered in Durban last week for Africa’s first regional seminar on participatory budgeting – a system that gives the public a say and an eye on how municipal funds are spent.
UN-HABITAT helped explain how the public benefited from better access to budgetary decision making in Asia, Latin America, and Europe in a series of presentations by delegates from those regions. The ministers responsible for local government in Rwanda and Somalia, who attended the March 10-14 meeting, said they intended to see how they could introduce public participation into their municipal budgeting cycles.
UN-HABITAT and the Harare based Municipal Development Partnership Eastern and Southern Africa used the occasion to launch a new publication, Participatory budgeting in Africa – a training companion with cases from eastern and southern Africa. The system is intended to ensure more transparency and better governance in Africa’s rapidly growing towns and cities.