Top officials from the government and civil society bodies gathered in the Senegalese city of Kaolack last week to launch a national participatory budgeting programme for cities of Kaolack, Rufisque Est and Meckhe designed to give the public at large a greater say in government and municipal spending.
The so-called participatory budgeting system, widely practised in Latin America, is expected to be introduced in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique and other African countries to ensure more transparency and better governance in Africa’s rapidly growing towns and cities. UN-HABITAT is expected to play a major role as a key advisor and partner providing firsthand information on the implementation of the system.
Speaking at the Dakar launch, Mr Alioune Badiane, UN-HABITAT’s Director of the Regional Office for Africa and the Arab States, urged government leaders and other elected civil officials to make every effort that would ensure the successful implementation of the programme.
“Lessons learnt from this exercise should be shared at the international forums such as World Urban Forum coming up later this year in Nanjing in China,” he said.
It was hoped that the programme will enable municipalities in Senegal and in other parts of Africa reduce the biting poverty, and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Speakers at the launch expressed gratitude to the Spanish Cooperation, who supported the initiative and expressed their commitment to implement in their municipalities and local authorities the participatory budgeting programmes. They hoped the system will give local communities a greater say in local spending, improve service delivery and promote transparency.