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  • 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: Jameson Boex, Benjamin Edwards
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: As we approach this year’s deadline for achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, the global development community is trying to decide how to make the new targets for 2030 more responsive and appropriate to local needs. An important piece of this debate concerns the role of local governments, and how local spending on public services such as health care and education could promote human welfare. A growing body of research explores this relationship, but so far the focus of most studies has been limited to spending by elected local governments, with the assumption that this type of local spending is the only type that matters. Yet many local entities responsible for service delivery in the developing world are not elected. Excluding resources provided directly by central government ministries or their local administrative arms ignores a rich and complicated story of how different levels of government interact to provide basic services.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government, Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus