Cameroon will launch, next year, PGL-RC, a project aimed at improving local governance and building resilient communities. The project was presented by Prime Minister Joseph Dion N’Gute during his address before the national assembly last November 30.
The 5-year project, funded by the World Bank to the tune of XAF189 billion, will be overseen by the Ministry of Decentralization and Local Development.
According to the PGL-RC concept document seen by SBBC, the project will be implemented in six regions, namely the Far-North, the North, Adamaoua, the East, the South-West, and the North-West. It will also provide technical assistance to further operationalize the decentralization process and provide decentralized entities with improved tools and processes to effectively manage and implement resources that would benefit all decentralized Territorial Collectivities in the 10 regions.
The main objectives of the PGL-RC are to: strengthen citizen commitment to consolidate the social contract; reinforce local governance bodies for project ownership and service delivery; improve the provision of basic services for vulnerable populations, especially those affected by conflict; support community resilience and the creation of socio-economic opportunities in conflict-affected regions.
A remake of the National Participatory Development Program?
These missions are identical in every respect to those assigned to another program formerly financed by the World Bank, the National Participatory Development Program (PNDP), which is nearing completion."The project will draw on lessons learned from other World Bank projects that have contributed to strengthening the social contract, and will apply an integrated approach based on recent studies conducted by the Bank," explains the concept document. The functional organization of the new project will be based on the PNDP model, with a national coordination unit and regional units.
Indeed, the PNDP was set up in 2004 to boost local development through support for local project management, civic involvement, and local planning. It helped more than 300 communes devise their communal development plans, carry out several socio-economic projects, and streamline their accounting processes. The program was initially implemented in six regions, before being extended to all 10 regions.
The World Bank has been one of the major backers of the PNDP project, with almost XAF90 billion contributed over the past 19 years. Other partners, such as the French and German cooperation agencies and the European Union, have also joined in the adventure. But after almost two decades of implementation, the World Bank wanted the government to make the concept permanent, by notably creating a dedicated national agency, according to PNDP.
For now, PNDP funding has come to a halt, almost all its regional units have been closed and its activities are expected to end by December 31, 2023. We also learn that one of the PNDP's key managers, a specialist in local territorial planning, is the World Bank's main contact for the PGL-RC project.