Decentralization and Institutional Change for Sustainable Forest Management in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia
Edited By Franz Gatzweiler
Introduction: Decentralization, Institutional Change and Learning for Sustainable Forest Management in Eastern Africa: Franz W. Gatzweiler and Emily Obonyo
1 Introduction Decentralization, Institutional Change and Learning for Sustainable Forest Management in Eastern Africa Franz W. Gatzweiler and Emily Obonyo Centralization as a precondition for decentralization To understand the meaning of decentralization, it is necessary to understand the importance of centralization under different types of institutions first. In addi- tion, particularly for African countries, the concept of a state-nation and the difficult trajectory from state to nation-building (Joseph, 2003) are core issues which need to be addressed in order to fully understand the challenges of decen- tralization for sustainable forest management in East Africa. The need to under- stand the history of indigenous political institutions thus becomes crucial if we are to attempt to understand the structure of contemporary African states and the complexity of institution building. The history of African pre-colonial societies especially in Sub-Saharan Afri- ca has largerly been ignored or hidden behind ‘myths’, and often regarded as devoid of any civilization (Mahtar- Mbow, 1999; Diop, 1974; Gump). However, the history of Africa north of the Sahara including the Egyptian and Nubian civilization is better known mainly because of its links with the mediteranean and the writings of ancient Greek travellers who stumbled upon these civiliza- tions and surviving transcriptions from ancient Egyptian/Nubian architecture (Brooks-Bertram, 1994). Slave trade and colonialism also contributed widely to the disintegration of communities, thus destroying some important historical facts leading to misconceptions about Africa’s socio-cultural and socio-political set- tings. Southern Africa’s history for instance is depicted by many historians by quick reference to...
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