User Participation in Delivering Public Services in Africa: Theory and Practice

Orest Sebastian Masue, Henry Abraham Mollel


For over three decades now, African countries particularly those in the Sub Sahara have been implementing public sector reforms aiming at improving delivery of public services through user participation among other strategies. In this paper, we examine how these reforms have shaped public service delivery through user participation in the Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). We envision the reforms process in three periods: the first wasmid1980s to1990s- where the significant effect is conceived to be mainly preparatory and setting the scene for the reforms actions to take place;   the second was mid 1990s to early 2000s conceived mainly as a phase for structural improvements and; third was mid 2000s –dates convincing improvements in service delivery through user participation is seen to have happened. We use evidences from different countries in the SSA to show the value of understanding the context in creating the fit for policy adoption. The main argument this paper raises is that as much as all of the reform packages implemented in Africa from the 1980s were externally prescribed by the World Bank and donors; they did not fit into the African context hence failed to empower users. 

Keywords: user, participation, reforms, NPM, service delivery

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

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