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Decentralisation and Regional Development : Experiences and Lessons from Four Continents over Three

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The authors analyze decentralization and regional development paths and success factors in different governance sectors in Ghana, the Philippines, Tanzania, and Chile and discuss overarching aspects of relevance. Decentralisation, referring to the delegation of administrative responsibilities, political decision-making and fiscal powers to lower levels of government is today considered one of the most efficient engines of development. In Sub-Sahara Africa decentralised states have made more progress in reducing poverty as compared to states with a lower decentralization score . But in many countries decentralisation is still considered ‘work in progress’ with unsatisfactory results. From a spatial point of view, the link between decentralization and regional and district development is particularly interesting. Both in the North and in the South, regional or district development is attributed potential for advancing social and economic development, even more so in decentralized policy settings. Space-based networks on regional or district levels are considered instrumental for responding to locally specific challenges e.g. in economically lagging areas.

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