Civil society participation in urban governance in Africa: supporting CSOs’ political voice for a transformation of citizen–state relations

Gutheil, Lena
Externe Publikationen (2022)

Policy Brief 2022 05, 14.07.2022S (SWP, IDOS, IfW)

Volltext/Full text

Urbanisation offers great potential for Africa’s economic and social development: citizens earn twice as much in large cities compared to rural areas, and young urbanites receive on average between 2.5 and 4 years more education than their rural  counterparts. At the same time, the rapid rise of the urban population is putting a strain on Africa’s cities. While on average, city dwellers have better access to services than their rural counterparts, more than half of all citizens in sub-Saharan  African metropolises live in informal settlements without adequate access to basic infrastructure. Citizens have long demanded participation in urban governance that goes beyond elections in order to voice their concerns. Although participatory  processes have become increasingly evident in many African countries in some cities and neighbourhoods, they are still far from being institutionalised at scale. This policy brief asks why participatory approaches have not been successful thus far and analyses the challenges regarding a political mobilisation of civil society organisations (CSOs), which often face weak and fragmented state institutions. It argues that participatory processes need to be thoroughly embedded in politics in order to move beyond  particularistic gains towards a structural improvement of relations between citizens, CSOs, and local governments.

Über die Autorin

Gutheil, Lena


Weitere Expert*innen zu diesem Thema

Asimeng, Emmanuel Theodore

Stadtplanung, Nachhaltigkeit 

Breuer, Anita


Dick, Eva

Soziologin und Raumplanerin 

El-Haddad, Amirah


Gronen, Maria Elisabeth


Hadank-Rauch, Rebecca

Umwelt- und Entwicklungswissenschaften 

Haldenwang, Christian von


Herrfahrdt-Pähle, Elke


Houdret, Annabelle


Jauregui Fung, Franco

Architektur, Urbane Ballungsräume 

Leininger, Julia


Morare, Ditebogo Modiegi


Roll, Michael


Schoderer, Mirja


Subramanian, Saravanan


Wehrmann, Dorothea


Zumegen, Lisa

Urbane Transformation