POLS Semineri: “Long-Term Consequences of Public Policy Reforms: The Track-Record of the 1990s’ Decentralisation in Six African Countries”, Jan Erk, 12:30 26 Ocak (EN)

“Long-Term Consequences of Public Policy Reforms: The Track-Record of the 1990s’ Decentralisation in Six African Countries ”

Jan Erk
Ph.D. in Political Science, McGill University, Canada
& LLD in Public Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa

January 26, 2022, Wednesday, 12:30

***This is an online event. To obtain Zoom link and password, please contact to the department.

Contact Info:


One of the core components of the public policy reforms which swept through the African continent in the mid-1990s was decentralisation. In the post-Cold War context, there was both international support and domestic receptiveness toward new public policies designed to bring about democratisation and development. Decentralisation blueprints adopted from the Western experience came with the promise of policy improvement, increased democratic visibility, and enhanced accountability in governance. Fast forward twenty-five years, the aftermath of the policy reforms show widely divergent consequences across the continent. What is common however is nothing has remained as it was designed on paper. This presentation seeks to explain the different reasons behind the different outcomes in six select regions of six African countries subjected to almost identical decentralisation reforms in the mid-1990s. Weaknesses in state capacity, developmental deficiencies, and the influence of uncodified factors are partly responsible for this. The findings are based on the applicant’s completed and on-going field-research in Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. In the context of these case-studies, the presentation will target the reasons behind the divergent consequences of formal policy reforms and propose a set of generalisable explanations potentially transportable to other parts of the non-Western world.

Short Bio:

Jan Erk’s work covers both the West and the Developing World / Global South. He holds two doctorates: a PhD in Political Science from McGill University, Canada and an LLD in Public Law from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He is the former editor of Regional and Federal Studies.