Local governance, decentralisation and corruption in Bangladesh and Nigeria

  • Hamish A. D. Nixon' Alina Rocha Menocal, Nieves Zúñiga, Debapriya Bhattacharya, Syed Muhtasim Fuad, Idayat Hassan, Kelechi C. Iwuamadi, Umme Shefa Rezbana, Shamsudeen Yusuf
  • Apr 2018
  • Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
  • International

Corruption is high on the agenda of national governments, international organisations, aid providers and civil society. At the same time, within the context of broader democratization trends, decentralisation has become a dominant policy reform across the developing world. This generated enormous enthusiasm both domestically and within the international community about prospects for improved governance. ‘Democratic decentralisation’ appears to promise government and services that are ‘closer to the people’, while fostering greater citizen voice and participation and increased accountability. 

This research aims to deepen understanding of the links between decentralised governance and corruption, and what this implies for the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures at the local level by exploring these connections in Bangladesh and Nigeria. To do so, it explores the performance of decentralised governance arrangements in particular settings, analyses the nature and dynamics of corruption in those settings, and identifies implications of both for the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts at local levels.The research is based on a thorough review of the literature on corruption and decentralisation as well as two country studies on Bangladesh and Nigeria which have been published separately by CPD and CDD. 

This report synthesises the findings and implications of a two-year research collaboration between the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja, Nigeria, on Multi-level Governance, Decentralisation and Corruption. The research project is part of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded Anti-Corruption Evidence Grant Programme (ACE) administered by the British Academy .