‘Cash, Competence, and Consent’: Building Local Governments

Leigh A. Gardner

in Taxing Colonial Africa

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199661527
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744877 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

‘Cash, Competence, and Consent’: Building Local Governments

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From the 1930s onwards, colonial administrations made concerted efforts to strengthen local government institutions. New administrative units were established, and given both the right to raise revenue and responsibility for public services. These efforts intensified after World War Two, as African protests against declining living standards and colonial policies proliferated. Local governments were intended to deflect demand for social services to a local level. Further, proponents argued that Africans would be more willing to shoulder a larger tax burden if they were closer to the authority collecting the taxes and spending the revenue. This chapter examines the rise of local authority treasuries and offers speculative conclusions regarding the impact of decentralization on development. It argues that the principal impact was growing inequality between local areas in the services offered.

Keywords: local government; decentralization; development; regional inequality; local treasuries; World War Two

Chapter.  11558 words.  Illustrated.

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