Tangang Andrew Tangang

Local Government Studies

Collaborative localism: Community governments in the decentralisation process in Cameroon   

Supervisors: Catherine Durose and Dr K. P. R. Bartels

After obtaining independence in 1960, Cameroon adopted a centralised system of government to consolidate ‘unity’ in an ethnically diverse society, and enhance consensus politics that was typical of pre-colonial Africa. However, this centralisation project failed to enhance consensus politics and rather promoted the rule of centre to the detriment of the periphery. Faced with the failures of the centralisation system, local citizens in Cameroon developed various local self-governance schemes such as Village Development and Cultural Associations (VDCAs) to replace formal local governments and promote local development irrespective of the actions or inactions of the central government at the time. The decentralisation (devolution) reforms of 1996 emphasised the need to promote development, good governance, and democracy at the local level, thus, an opportunity for the formal local (municipal) governments to harness the potentials of already existing community government institutions who were already involved in local development initiatives. 

Despite the strong potentials of community governments and its institutions, they have been considerably minimised in the decentralisation drive in Cameroon. The relationship between community governments and formal local governments in Cameroon has neither been clarified nor legalised. In situations where informal cooperation between these authorities is not intact, the local government cannot effectively perform its functions. The community governments and the municipal governments are compelled to coexist and carry out their functions to meet the needs of local citizens.

This study examines the evolution of community governments, and how its institutions have been structured and reformed to meet the changing needs and aspirations of their respective communities. From the foregoing, it situates the role of community government institutions within the local governance sphere in Cameroon by analysing how local citizens perceive the community government vis-à-vis the municipal government.

Also, effective collaboration between the community governments and municipal councils is primordial to building a robust local democratic culture. This collaboration should transcend the minimal consultations organised by municipal council authorities in prelude to implementing some development projects, to engaging a cross-section of the community governments as key stakeholders in the development process. The study analyses the different patterns of collaboration at the local level and would recommend strategies for enhancing this collaboration. This is indispensable to transforming the local sphere in Cameroon into an arena for the conception, implementation and evaluation of local development policies in line with the decentralisation plan.



Tangang Andrew is a young Cameroonian from Bambui Village, Tubah Municipality of the Northwest Region. He holds 3 Master’s degrees in Public and Development Management, Governance, and International Cooperation from Universities in Cameroon and South Africa. He works in various civil society organisations such as Effective Basic Services (eBASE) Africa where he serves as Research Fellow and Senior Policy Analyst, and Local Youth Corner (LOYOC) Cameroon where he is the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist. Since 2014, he has been volunteering in various global youth advocacy initiatives such as the Youth Power Partnership (YPP), Youth Power Global Leaders, and the Global Youth Governance and Accountability Task Team, championed by international development organisations like Restless Development, Project Everyone, Plan UK, ActionAid and the British Youth Council. These initiatives have sought to mainstream youths in the conception, implementation and evaluation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Prior to this, he served as a Youth Representative and member of the Youth and Education Committee of the Bambui Village Council. Due to his academic and leadership excellence, he has been awarded prestigious scholarship awards like the Shaun Johnson Memorial Scholarship (2020), the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship (2018), and the Pan African University Scholarship (2014/2015).

Research interests

  • Decentralisation and Local governance
  • Youth governance
  • Conflict resolution
  • Public Policies
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Local self-governance
  • Decentralised Cooperation (Municipal Diplomacy)
  • Public Accountability


  • MPA, Public and Development Management (Stellenbosch University)
  • MSc, Governance and Regional Integration (Pan African University/University of Yaoundé II – Soa)
  • MSc, International Relations: International Cooperation and Decentralised Cooperation for Development (International Relations Institute of Cameroon – IRIC, Yaoundé)
  • BA, Classical Philosophy (Catholic University of Central Africa – UCAC, Yaoundé)


Zukane, M, & Tangang, A. T (2017). The state of youth policies in the Central African sub region. African Educational Research Journal, 5 (2)

Contact details

Email: TAT066@student.bham.ac.uk