Since 2009, the government explicitly acknowledged that decentralization represents an essential item on the country's reform agenda, especially important given the European Union integration aspirations of the country. The goal is to improve resources management and bring quality services closer to citizens; to strengthen the system of local fiscal autonomy (in line with European Union standards); to give more decision-making powers to the local governments following the principles of transparency, legality, efficiency, responsibility and administrative solidarity; and to create a more stable, clear, and enforceable legal framework on local public finance. With this overarching goal in mind, a draft Decentralization Strategy is undergoing various mandatory consultations before it is submitted to the Parliament for consideration and approval. This process will be continued with the development of sector decentralization strategies.
The nature of the land reform process carried out during the nineties has contributed to the chronic structural nature of rural poverty. It provided for most small and fragmented areas making anything other than subsistence agriculture impractical. Rural infrastructure remains in poor condition: While the main roads and facilities are in fair condition, it is the condition of rural roads, energy supplies and water supplies for both domestic and irrigation needs which have the greatest negative impact on agricultural-based income. The relative lack of provision of appropriate financial products and tools for agricultural-based rural enterprises remains a further serious constraint on the growth of incomes from these sources.