Benin: Innovations Adapted to the Context

10 years of sustained intervention in support of the Borgou municipalities by UNCDF in partnership with the Belgian Fund for Fund Security (FBSA) and UNDP, have enabled the strengthening of the role of municipalities in the planning and implementation of development.

The alignment of intervention and the funding on national mechanisms, with the integral project ownership by the municipalities, have enabled an appropriation of learnings.

The PA3D project has shown to be relevant in regards to the needs of the region and the targeted groups, and for what concerns the needs to build the capacities of the local governments in the local project management and the generation of resources that can contribute to local economic development and food security. It is a particularly strategic aspect of decentralization, for which the capacity building needs are considerable.

The PA3D has been efficient insofar as most of the budget could be engaged and the planned actions actively set up through the 7 municipalities with innovating support modalities such as the resource mobilization specialists.

The specialists have provided important expertise to the municipalities which have enabled them to set up real strategies to mobilize resources. Despite several difficulties, the project has managed to reach good levels of financial and physical implementation and an acceptable cover rate for the beneficiaries.

Finally, the governance mechanisms of the project and the exchange platforms have worked and have contributed to the activities and involvement of the actors. Moreover, it added to the dialogue on the challenges of the decentralization and devolution process.

In terms of efficiency in reaching results, the support of PA3D to the municipalities has enabled to strengthen a set of capacities in terms of project management, and to develop and implement proper strategies of resource mobilization, fiscal and non-fiscal.

Thanks to the competences acquired, the projects are approved and financed faster by both PA3D and others. The pilot project of Territorial Information System (SIT in French) and its implementation at the starting level in three municipalities of Borgou has provided a crucial tool for decentralization and serves as assistance to the decision-making of the locally elected representatives and the planning of municipal investments.

Most of the investments are functional, and the management mechanisms have taken into account the lessons learned from the prior project ADECOI even if strengthening will be necessary. Through a persistent action, the project has managed to obtain practical results in matters of gender integration and a certain appropriation appears at the level of municipal planning. The impact of warranty stores on the dynamic of the food sectors is promising and has brought the acceptance of the participants.

In terms of viability, for what concerns the capacity building of the municipalities, many achievements are likely to be sustainable to the extent that the action has been completely channelled through the local authorities. The sustainability of the achievements in terms of the capacities of the municipalities is positive. The project has, in principle, focused its action on the sectors of corn, market gardening and manioc and the long-term economic viability of the investments depends on their insertion in the competitive sectors.

An innovative guidance

UNCDF has introduced several innovations in the guidance of the decentralization process in Benin:

  • UNCDF has been the partner that has the most aligned on the national procedures by fully using the Treasury circuit and the general auditing for the delivery of the financial resources to the municipalities;
  • UNCDF has innovated in the domain of the support to municipal management with approaches and tools, notably in the assistance to local project management (market rules of the local authorities and applied by them), the budget preparation, the monitoring-evaluation of the LDP and the financial management of the municipalities that have passed the duplicability test;
  • The mode of intervention chosen by UNCDF by setting up a multi-disciplinary proximity team (as guidance and not substitution) has been determining not only for the capacity building of local elected representatives and the municipal administrations of the partners municipalities, but also in the reach of the objectives of improving the provision of quality local public services and with a fair cost;
  • In matters of the capacity building of individuals, organizations and institutions, UNCDF and UNDP have already widely proven their commitment.

Stories from the Field