The Local Governance and Leadership stream of the Africa Power and Politics Programme has investigated governance surrounding the delivery of four public goods at local levels in seven sub-Saharan African countries. This report presents new findings from participant observation and key informant interviews carried out between May 2010 and February 2011 in Ndirande, a peri-urban township within Blantyre city, and several other sites, in Malawi. This builds on information gathered throughout Malawi in 2008-09 on public goods delivery and town chiefs.
The research focused on four public goods: safe birthing; security and public order; markets and enterprise environment; and water and sanitation. The report identifies eight factors that affect the (non)delivery of these four public goods in peri-urban Malawi. These factors are then grouped under five broader headings where, it is argued, they account for much of the variation in the general quality of public goods delivery in Malawi: (1) the level of waste caused by politically driven mis-prioritisation; (2) the extent of policy coherence/incoherence and cross-agency collaboration; (3) the intrusion of unhelpful national politics logics into the local governance of service delivery; (4) the role of different forms of local leadership; and (5) the capacity of residents to work collectively for their own benefit.
The conclusion of the paper outlines lessons learned from the research that may be of interest to the state and to donors hoping to improve the delivery of services and aid to peri-urban areas. It is argued that research at local levels is vital during programme design in order for providers of resources to become informed about local contextual details.
Cammack, D. APPP Research Report 03. Peri-urban governance and the delivery of public goods in Malawi,2009-11. Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP), Overseas Development Institute, London, UK (2012) 63 pp.