Land assets have become an important source of financing capital investments by subnational governments in developing countries. Land sales, often with billions of dollars per transaction, rival and sometimes surpass subnational borrowing or fiscal transfers for capital spending. However, the use of land-based revenues for financing infrastructure can entail substantial fiscal risks and requires development of ex ante prudential rules for land financing comparable to those governing borrowing. This paper is part of a larger effort at the World Bank to develop knowledge products on subnational finance and fiscal reforms.
The article discusses the impact that the current international public finance crisis (which coincided with the downturn of real estate markets) has had on government property assets and related services, primarily at the level of sub-national governments. Using examples mainly from North American and European Union countries, the article illustrates how the crisis amplified the risks to which government assets have been exposed, even in more ordinary situations. The central challenge: will governments be able to mobilize the economic value of their assets strategically, to mitigate the crisis impact, or will the government property be wasted on temporary fixes?
The purpose of this guidebook is to provide practical advice to local governments (LGs) and their advisors on how to establish and maintain a process of planning and funding capital investment as a regular activity integrated with other activities of the LG and based on principles of good public management. The guidebook is addressed mainly to cities that have not yet established such a process. However, it also can be used by cities with established capital investment planning, because the guidebook addresses important aspects often not incorporated in existing practices, such as life-cycle costing or land financing.
In this commentary for The Guardian - online, senior fellow Olga Kaganova discusses how local governments don't usually have advanced asset management practices even though 65-99 percent of the value of the wealth owned on the taxpayers' behalf is concentrated in land, built-up property and infrastructure.
One of the international community's overarching strategic objectives in Afghanistan is to promote a more capable public sector that serves the Afghan people. Afghanistan's Constitution and their Sub-National Governance Policy aim to establish a system of elected municipal governments and a framework that allows municipalities to effectively provide public services to their constituents. This will require a major transformation of municipalities from a weak public sector tier to a devoted local governance level. This paper reviews the current state of municipal governance in Afghanistan and discusses the re-orientation required in order for Afghanistan to achieve a more effective and responsive municipal sector.
Decentralization in Macedonia was conceived of in two different phases, allowing for an asymmetric allocation of fiscal powers. During the first phase, all local governments were assigned the responsibility to deliver only a few – mainly communal – local government functions. After fulfillment of specific conditions and approval by the central government, local governments in Macedonia would be allowed to take on their broader functional responsibilities. Using a detailed dataset of local government finances, this study analyzes the evolution of local government revenues and expenditures in Macedonia and highlights the main problems of the country's intergovernmental finance system.
Is poverty incompatible with asset accumulation? We examine whether the poor can and do save and whether they are able to build up assets over time. Data are presented from household surveys, as well as from programs targeted at helping families accumulate assets. Presenting and evaluating the state of knowledge provides a new lens on whether the current income-based safety net could better serve poor families by having an asset building component. Conventional thinking is that families that are income poor cannot save. This chapter shows that this thinking is inaccurate; poverty does not have to be incompatible with asset accumulation.
Gender equality in property rights is a critical human rights issue and a key driver of overall economic development. This paper explores three issues in international development which are not often considered together or in terms of how they relate to each other. These issues are: (1) The rights of women to participate in property use and ownership with full legal and societal protection; (2) the importance to economic development of property rights in urban areas; and (3) the role of women in economic development. The final section offers recommendations for more effective development programming and implementation through the integration of these issues.
Post-Gadhafi Libya brims with promise, but also with pitfalls. The Urban Institute's Charles Cadwell and George Mason University's Jack Goldstone outline steps Libya should take if it is to make great strides toward democracy and its people are to enjoy their hard-won freedom.
The Constitution that Kenyans adopted in September 2010 represents an important step in the process of national reconciliation and an important attempt to make Kenya's public sector more efficient and more accountable through devolution. The new Constitution assigns a prominent role in the public sector to county-level governments, as it transfers detailed functional responsibilities to the county level and provides that at least 15 percent of national revenues are to be shared with county governments. This IDG Policy Brief discusses whether the implementation of the Constitution will bring about a sea-change in intergovernmental fiscal relations and public empowerment in Kenya, or whether the changes in Kenya's intergovernmental structure in practice will represent a smaller and more incremental step towards a more decentralized governance structure.