Discussing water issues inevitably leads to discussions about local governance. The Sahel context is often about declared decentralisation processes with little power and resources for local authorities. For instance in Mali, local authorities were put in place in the framework of institutional and legislative reforms in the 90s. Communes were pushed to develop ways to manage infrastructure and equipment related to health, education and hydraulics (concentration areas of the PDSEC – Plans de développement social, économique et culturel). But in the mid-2000s the transfer of competences was judged ‘virtual’ since the transfer of financial means and human resources had not happened.
Local elects we met in Niamey also told us that decentralisation reforms had not resulted in budget transfers to their communes or “conseils regionaux”. The late 90s saw the emergence of administrative reforms and the question of decentralisation also in Niger