Governance of basic services provision in sub-Saharan Africa and the need to shift gear
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During 1970 to mid 1980s, governments’ policies on basic services in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) had an almost exclusive focus on directly provided, publicly-funded. This approach coupled with disintegration of the economic structures resulted in steep decline in people’s access to basic services. Recent developments however show that policies and strategies have changed and so is people’s access to the services. Decentralisation within the state and from the state to market and to civil society has been implemented in an unprecedented fashion in a number of countries. In addition, the strategy of ‘unbundled’ chain of service production has resulted in increasingly complex institutional arrangements between governments and non-state actors. Using data on the provision of primary education, primary health care, sanitation and solid waste collection, and drinking water from a number of countries in SSA, this paper shows that the new approach has not only changed how basic services are provided and managed but has also influenced improvements in coverage and people’s access, though quality varies and inequalities between localities have not much declined.