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  • Author: Cade McCurdy, Harvey Galper, Reehana Raza
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: For national governments around the world, effective budgeting depends on accurate revenue forecasts. Revenue forecasts are estimates of what governments will collect from various sources, such as income taxes, value-added taxes, corporate taxes, and excises, which together determine the funds available to allocate to various public programs. If revenues are significantly overestimated in the budgetary process, the results can be unexpected borrowing, high debt-service costs, and cutbacks in these important governmental services. Under Kenya’s newly decentralized government structure, accurate revenue forecasting has become more important than ever. Kenya’s new constitution, approved in 2010, decentralized the country’s government structure and created 47 county governments, each responsible for a broad range of programs and services. Counties’ execution of these programs depends heavily on funds from the national government.
  • Topic: Government, Budget, Economic Growth, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Reehana Raza, Karuti Kanyinga, Akanshaka Ray
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: On August 8, 2017, Kenya held its first elections since creating 47 new county governments in 2013 under a constitution promulgated in 2010. The elections were intensely contested both at the national and local level. Disputes over presidential results, amid allegations of fraud, saw Kenya’s new apex court, the Supreme Court, annul the August 8 presidential election. The court ordered a fresh presidential poll, which was held on October 26, 2017. Meanwhile, more than 20 local governorship results were legally contested, with multiple cases being taken all the way to the Supreme Court. These elections and the violence that followed the disputed presidential election created long periods of uncertainty across Kenya’s national and local government. In Wajir county, the election result for governor was contested for almost 20 months, until the Supreme Court ruled last February that the election was valid. Political transition generally creates uncertainty for bureaucrats, but prolonged transition periods exacerbate uncertainty and paralyze government functions. An annual survey and a technical report by partners implementing a project funded by the US Agency for International Development and the UK Department for International Development, Agile Harmonized Assistance for Devolved Institutions (AHADI), assesses how 22 Kenyan counties are improving their capacity to efficiently provide services to citizens. The most recent 2018 assessment shows how the 2017 elections undermined counties’ ability to sustain and maintain capacity-building initiatives.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Elections, Transition
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Fenohasina Rakotondrazaka Maret, Jacques Lévesque
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Across Africa, there is increasing public investment in strategies to promote government transparency and empower citizens to hold their leaders accountable. Achieving transparency, however, is a formidable challenge, especially given constraining political contexts in some sub-Saharan African countries, a third of which have been ruled by a single party for several decades.
  • Topic: Government, Democracy, Accountability, Investment, Transparency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tanzania
  • Author: Patrick Meagher, Ammar A. Malik, Edward Mohr, Yasemin Irvin-Erickson
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The world is in the midst of an unprecedented refugee crisis, and Uganda’s response to the influx of asylum-seekers from South-Sudan is considered successful and is therefore a valuable target for study and replication. Uganda accepts refugees regardless of point of origin and gives them the rights of freedom of movement and the opportunity to seek employment. This case study examines the official government and humanitarian agency response to increased refugee numbers, both in terms of policies and resources. It also focuses on telecommunication access and humanitarian cash transfers, and it analyzes the partnership between Danish Church Aid and Airtel Uganda.
  • Topic: Government, Humanitarian Aid, Science and Technology, Refugee Issues, Immigrants, International Development, Asylum
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Jamie Boex, Ammar A. Malik, Devanne Brookins, Ben Edwards
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Cities are engines of economic growth that provide spaces for social transformation and political inclusion. Their ability to deliver widely accessible and efficiently functioning public services drives productivity and sustains development. We design and apply an assessment framework to 42 cities in 14 African and Asian countries to better understand the functional, administrative, and political dimensions determining the quality and coverage of water, sanitation, and solid waste collection services. We find that urban local governments are constrained in their authority and discretion to deliver basic public services. Reforming intergovernmental institutional structures to better match responsibilities is essential for realizing cities’ full economic potential.
  • Topic: Government, Water, Governance, International Development, Economic Growth, Urban, Sanitation, Services, Cities
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Benjamin Edwards, Mohammad Hamze
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The world’s urban population is projected to add 2.5 billion people by 2050, with nearly 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. The provision of safe, clean drinking water in urban settings is a high priority for international development, and justifiably so. Drinking water that is protected from contamination improves health, education, and economic growth, yet roughly 150 million urban dwellers do not have access, with numbers on the rise. Fortunately, the problem has not gone unrecognized. An expansive body of work explores the causes of water market failures and the policy interventions national governments can use to mitigate them. This body of work, however, has paid less heed to local governments’ role in implementing those policies, a critical link in the chain of service provision.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Water, Cities
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Caroline Smith, Luke Fuller
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: Of the world’s 10.5 million refugees, just one-third reside in camps. This figure turns on its head the common perception that refugees live in rural camp settings and begs the question: where are the other seven million refugees? The short answer is that many refugees and displaced peoples make their way to cities or other communities in pursuit of better opportunities for employment and education, to join existing ethnic or familial social networks, and to gain some level of security not available to them in settlements. However, host country policies designed to protect and support refugees often apply only to those residing in settlements, implicitly discouraging refugees from moving into urban areas. So if policies largely overlook the existence of urban refugees, how do governments, humanitarian agencies, civil society organizations, and others plan, implement, and coordinate efforts to ensure that this massive segment of the refugee population is cared for?
  • Topic: Government, Refugees, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Charles Cadwell
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: All eyes are on Kenya today as some 14 million citizens are expected to vote for an array of candidates for president and other offices. The world hopes to avoid a repeat of the post-election violence in late 2007 and early 2008 that killed some 1,500 people and created as many as 600,000 refugees, a trauma that lingers even five years later. Indeed, one candidate and his running mate are under indictment at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for their role in the 2008 violence. Nonetheless, at a rally last weekend, six presidential candidates held hands and committed to accept the results of the vote. While there are reports of scattered pre-election violence, most observers do not expect a repeat of the last cycle’s mayhem. In this circumstance, it’s easy to lose sight of the dramatic changes in Kenya’s political and governmental structure that take place tomorrow. These elections launch an entirely new constitutional arrangement for Kenya.
  • Topic: Government, Elections, Constitution, Transition
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa