Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 220

Full Length Research Paper

Does decentralization have a role in poverty reduction? The Ethiopian experience

Alene Agegnehu*
  • Alene Agegnehu*
  • Department of Civic and Ethical Studies, Adigrat University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Worku Dibu
  • Worku Dibu
  • Department of Civic and Ethical Studies, Adigrat University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 13 October 2016
  •  Accepted: 14 December 2016
  •  Published: 28 February 2017


This article reviews the actual impacts of decentralization on poverty reduction in Ethiopia after the inception of decentralization since 2000s. Secondary document analyses accompanied by interview with few government officials were employed. The objective of the article was to investigate the tangible impacts of decentralization on Ethiopian poverty reduction program. The goals of decentralization in Ethiopia are to reduce poverty through providing basic pro-poor services such as education, health, water and expanding rural gravel roads by mobilizing local residents and resources accompanied by participatory democracy. Pragmatically, however, meaningful changes are yet registered due to various inter linked factors such as weak institutional arrangement and inadequate empowerment of local government and inadequate autonomy to decide their own affairs. Moreover, insignificant change of poverty reduction was also occurring due to lack of financial autonomy and high dependence of local government on its nearby upper echelon of government. Demographic factors such as alarming rate of population growth and lethargic economic growth, heavy hand control and centralization tendency of the ruling regime, lack of technical and financial capacity of the regional and local governments, and lack of the culture of accountability, and transparency, etc. are also factors that make decentralization to have little impacts.

Key words: Decentralization, poverty reduction, Ethiopia.