Revenue generation

Keeping the Taps Running: How Cape Town Averted ‘Day Zero,’ 2017 – 2018

Author
Leon Schreiber
Country of Reform
Internal Notes
originally published 2/21/2019
Abstract

In 2017, Cape Town, South Africa, was on a countdown to disaster. An unprecedented and wholly unforeseen third consecutive year of drought threatened to cut off water to the city’s four million citizens. Faced with the prospect of running dangerously low on potable water, local officials raced against time to avert “Day Zero”—the date on which they would have to shut off drinking water to most businesses and homes in the city. Cape Town’s government responded effectively to the fast-worsening and potentially cataclysmic situation. Key to the effort was a broad, multipronged information campaign that overcame skepticism and enlisted the support of a socially and economically diverse citizenry as well as private companies. Combined with other measures such as improving data management and upgrading technology, the strategy averted disaster. By the time the drought eased in 2018, Capetonians had cut their water usage by nearly 60% from 2015 levels. With each resident using little more than 50 liters per day, Cape Town achieved one of the lowest per capita water consumption rates of any major city in the world. The success set a benchmark for cities around the world that confront the uncertainties of a shifting global climate.

Leon Schreiber drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Cape Town, South Africa, in November 2018. Case published February 2019.

Reconstructing a City in the Interests of its Children: Tirana, Albania, 2015 – 2019

Author
Gabriel Kuris
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract

When Erion Veliaj became mayor of Tirana, Albania, in 2015, he inherited a fast-growing city with unchecked construction and traffic that threatened the health and well-being of all citizens—especially the youngest and most vulnerable. Overcoming public distrust and budgetary shortfalls, Veliaj’s administration worked with private donors and international experts to quickly construct parks, playgrounds, nurseries, schools, and pedestrian spaces. At the beginning of the mayor’s second term in July 2019, the city was poised to adopt new models for streets and neighborhoods redesigned to serve the interests of infants, toddlers, and their caregivers.

Gabriel Kuris drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Tirana, Albania, in April 2019. Case published July 2019. Format revised January 2020. The Bernard van Leer Foundation supported this case study to foster early-stage policy learning.

Keeping up with Growth: Building a Modern Tax Administration in Vietnam, 2004-2015

Author
Leon Schreiber
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract

As Vietnam gradually became a middle-income country during the early 2000s, its tax agency struggled to keep up. In the decade and a half following the Communist Party–led government’s 1986 decision to establish a market-based economy, local entrepreneurs launched businesses, foreign investors poured into the country, and the average annual rate of economic growth soared to 7.5%. But during the same period, tax revenues declined as the General Department of Taxation (GDT), which previously collected almost all of the country’s taxes from a small group of state-owned enterprises, strove to keep pace with the economic dynamism. In 2004, the department established an internal reform team and adopted a strategy to make sure those who could pay covered their fair share of the cost of government services. The GDT worked with the finance ministry’s tax policy department and the parliament to implement a raft of legal changes. The department then reorganized each of its 758 tax offices along functional lines, rolled out a new IT system, improved staff training, and created a unit to bolster taxpayer compliance. It later adopted a personal income tax and tried—sometimes unsuccessfully—to close exemptions created earlier to attract foreign investors. Although its collection levels began to plateau after 2010, in the decade or so from 2004 to 2015 the GDT increased the number of registered taxpayers in the country to 15 million from 2 million and tripled the amount of taxes it collected annually, maintaining one of the highest tax-to-GDP ratios in East Asia.

Leon Schreiber drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Hanoi, Vietnam in May 2018. Case published in August 2018. 

To view a short version of the case, please ckick here

The Foundation for Reconstruction: Building the Rwanda Revenue Authority, 2001-2017

Author
Leon Schreiber
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract

After the 1994 genocide that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, Rwanda’s tax collection collapsed to $132 million in 1996 from $225 million in 1990. Aside from its desperate need for money to pay for reconstruction, the new unity government, led by Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front, was also determined to break its dependence on foreign donors by becoming entirely self-funding. To do that, Kagame’s government had to convince a traumatized and distrustful public to pay its fair share of taxes. In 1998, the government replaced the existing tax and customs departments with the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), a semiautonomous tax agency. The RRA overhauled tax collection procedures, increased staff capacity, improved information management, and launched a massive and sustained public education campaign in an effort to build a new social contract. As a result, in 2017 Rwanda collected in three weeks the same amount of tax it had collected annually a dozen years earlier. From 1998 to 2017, Rwanda’s tax-to-GDP ratio improved from 10.8% to 16.7%, and total tax revenues collected grew more than 10-fold to $1.3 billion. Moreover, from 2007 to 2017 alone, the number of registered taxpayers grew 13-fold—from 26,526 to 355,128—though Rwanda was one of the world’s poorest countries and most of its labor force of 6.3 million still had incomes below the threshold that made them tax eligible. By 2017, the government financed 62% of its annual budget from domestic tax revenues, up from just 39% in 2000. The country was on its way to ending donor dependence.

Leon Schreiber drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Kigali, Rwanda in March 2018. Case published May 2018.

To view a short version of the case, please click here

Broadening the Base: Improving Tax Administration in Indonesia, 2006-2016

Author
Leon Schreiber
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract

In the mid 2000s, Indonesia’s Directorate General of Taxes (DGT) was still struggling to recover from the shock of the Asian financial crisis of the previous decade. Tax revenue had plummeted during the crisis, and the collection rate remained well below accepted standards, as well as below the standards of many peers in the region. In 2006, the directorate’s new leaders launched a nationwide overhaul, drawing lessons from a successful pilot program that had reorganized the DGT’s biggest offices and enabled large taxpayers to settle all of their tax-related affairs with a single visit to one office rather than having to go through multiple steps. Expanding that pilot to more than 300 locations across a 3,000-mile archipelago presented no small challenge. The implementers built a digital database that linked all offices to a central server in the capital of Jakarta, developed competency testing and training that bolstered the quality of staff, and created new positions to improve relationships with taxpayers. Other measures aimed to reduce corruption and tax fraud. When political and practical crosswinds frustrated the DGT’s efforts to build the workforce its leaders thought it needed, the agency turned to big-data analytics to improve compliance and broaden the tax base. By 2018, domestic revenue mobilization had plateaued, but the changes introduced had produced important improvements. The question was then what to do to broaden the base further without decreasing incentives for investment or raising administrative costs to unsustainable levels.

Leon Schreiber drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Jakarta in January and February 2018. Case published April 2018.

To view a short version of the case, please click here

 

Fostering an Innovation Economy: Launching a Technology Park, Mexico, 2004–2010

Author
ISS Staff, Anna Levy, Ariana Markowitz
Summary

Test Summary

Focus Area(s)
Core Challenge
Country of Reform
Translations
Abstract

Beginning in 2004, the governor of Nuevo León, Mexico, set out to promote a high-tech knowledge economy and generate economic growth by bringing government, universities, and the private sector together to build a new technology park in Monterrey, the state’s main city. Many countries had used tech parks to promote applied research that could generate new industries and expand economic opportunities. Because this US$450-million project could generate benefits only in the medium to long term, the initiative required building trust in government, achieving broad consensus among a variety of institutions and interest groups, and creating a sustainable model to move the region’s economy away from low-skilled manufacturing jobs and toward high-value, specialized industries. Nuevo León’s governor partnered with Jaime Parada at Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology to mobilize support, raise funds, devise incentives to attract tenants, and set up governance structures. By 2013, the park housed 35 research facilities, had created more than 1,500 high-skilled jobs, and was expanding onto additional land to serve a waiting list of tenants. At about the same time, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico’s largest private university, created several technology parks of its own (spotlight below). The two experiences highlighted some of the design and implementation challenges countries commonly encounter when they try to develop and diversify their economies.

ISS staff members drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Monterrey and Mexico City, Mexico, by Anna Levy in August and November 2013 and by Ariana Markowitz in November 2014.

 


Spotlight

      

Tecnológico de Monterrey Technology Park Initiative

From 2004 to 2015, the Mexican government’s ambition to diversify the economy and increase the number of higher-wage jobs helped inspire several other efforts to bring universities, government, and business together. At the same time that the state of Nuevo León launched its Monterrey Knowledge City program, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey), known as Tec de Monterrey, created a technology park at its Monterrey campus—the first in a network throughout the country. Of 21 Tec de Monterrey collaboration experiments, 5 showed strong signs of success by 2013. The Tec program faced some of the same core challenges PIIT had encountered. Those challenges spurred further learning about how to use collaboration to promote economic development.

The link between PIIT and the Tec experiments was Arturo Molina Gutiérrez, a computer scientist who had become dean of the School of Engineering and later rose to become the university’s vice president. Molina took seriously the Mexican government’s concern for improving labor productivity, raising incomes, and diversifying the country’s economy. In his view, Tec could serve an important role in building the strength of the Mexican economy. It was the largest private university in the country, with 31 campuses and more than 90,000 students. Tec also had strong ties with the business community, and its emphasis on active learning created an opportunity to forge the specific kinds of partnerships new national policies encouraged.

The question Molina faced in his leadership roles at Tec—as director of the Ciudad de Mexico campus, rector of Mexico City campuses, dean of engineering and architecture at Monterrey, and vice-president for research, graduate studies and continuing education—was how best to create a virtuous circle that linked research and training to business development and job creation.

Framing a Response

The first conversations took place in 2000–2001, when the university began to create business incubators on its campuses, according to Luis Miguel Beristain, a Tec professor involved in the university’s entrepreneurship program since the 1990s and a leader at the Ciudad de México life sciences campus.

Molina wanted to go beyond a simple incubator concept. He sought to link education and business in new ways. In the words of Carlos Ibarra, a professor who became director of the Querétaro (Monterrey) park in 2014, the aim was to create “an ecosystem of entrepreneurship”: networks and opportunities for students and a source of skill and insight for corporations.

Molina appointed Monica Breceda, who had a background in entrepreneurship and engineering, to manage day-to-day planning. The two toured technology parks in China, India, Spain, and the United States. They decided that the University of California, San Diego, Science Research Park and the University of Barcelona offered promising models in which the university built lab facilities and shared access with companies and with its researchers. Molina and Breceda first wanted to create an innovation center in Monterrey to provide proof of concept and then expand the model to Tec’s other campuses.

During 2004 and 2005, Tec began to construct a facility on the edge of its Monterrey campus in an old shopping mall to help develop small, high-technology, high-value companies that were in the idea phase and needed help with patenting, scaling up, or marketing. The main requirement for private sector participation was that a company had to have a high-value technology product.

Financial support came from the university—which covered the cost of the infrastructure—and from government grants for small and medium-size enterprises. Breceda assembled support services to help tenants with legal contracts and immigration services and devised a plan to bring companies to the campus and link them with researchers and students.

Breceda said the planners encountered early problems. “The dream didn’t quite fit with the reality” at first, she said. The project was understaffed. It was hard to work out agreements with the university because the building was outside the campus and the university did not want to extend security and other services off campus. It also was important for the tenants to have access at all times, and an around-the-clock-access policy departed from the campus norm.

Two companies that were part of a preexisting university center for innovation were the first to join. Breceda and Molina identified three additional companies, and in early 2006, the park opened with those tenants. Almost immediately, Sasken Communication Technologies, an Indian company, requested space for up to 100 engineers, and the university mobilized to improve accommodation and infrastructure.

The new Center of Innovation and Technology Transfer, dubbed CIT2, was off to a promising start, and the publicity generated by Sasken’s arrival drew other Indian firms to the project.

Getting Down to Work

With proof of concept in hand, Molina made a bold proposal. He had just become Tec’s vice president of research and technological development and was newly responsible for all Tec campuses, which numbered 24 at the time and would rapidly rise to 31. He felt strongly that Tec could promote economic development in the states where the university operated.

Molina developed an agreement with the federal government to create 21 technology parks on Tec campuses. Heriberto Félix Guerra, undersecretary of small and medium-size companies, signed the agreement; and Molina and Breceda plunged into the task of making the idea a reality. They built state-level support by inviting governors from relevant states to tour the flagship park in Monterrey.

Creating models

Molina realized that one approach would not work everywhere. Therefore, he and Breceda outlined three models that other campuses could consider. One model simply provided space near a campus, where high-tech companies could locate. The proximity to the university would lower the costs of hiring students, who would gain work experience and job opportunities. The companies might learn from researchers on the campus.  “It was good for our engineering schools, good for our information technology schools,” Molina said. The second model helped people with ideas—including students—build new companies or enabled companies to improve and expand in ways that would enhance their revenues and increase jobs. The third model added research collaboration to the functions offered. [i]

Each campus could identify the model and the kind of substantive specialization that would best match localeconomic strengths, campus research and teaching capacities, and market opportunities. 

Tec de Monterrey agreed to cover the costs of initial operations on each campus, and the flagship campus negotiated support from the state and federal governments to share facility construction costs. Campus tech park directors, once chosen, would be responsible for creating operational budgets, for developing long-term financing strategies, and for applying for government research grants and funds for small and medium-size enterprises. Breceda’s office had to supply advice on a continuing basis because creating medium-term revenue models was not easy. “To create the financial models for the parks was a challenge,” Molina said.

To qualify as a tenant of a Tec technology park, a company had to be able to link students, researchers, and corporate activities. If a company just wanted to rent space, the park director had to refer the company’s managers to other business parks nearby.  This rule helped to keep the program true to its aims. 

Planning and preparing

Molina and Breceda conducted a series of market analyses (1) to identify each state’s economic capacities and relative competitiveness in several sectors and (2) to highlight clusters of activities that could strengthen each other. “So, really, you build around the competence of the region,” Molina said. “Everybody wants to do IT, but it doesn’t make any sense. Instead ask, ‘IT applied to do what?’ If you have the automotive industry, then you develop IT applied to the automotive industry.” They also identified some of the support services, such as hotels, that would be necessary to attract and retain new business.

The Ciudad de México campus technology park exemplified the kind of focus needed. The director decided to concentrate on life sciences because in 2006 the campus was in the middle of the largest biomedical cluster in Latin America. Within a five-kilometer radius were 11 of the country’s 13 national institutes of health and the facilities of 15 of the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Students at the park could help conduct or replicate preclinical trials and develop technology. “You have to very clearly understand the innovation process of your technology or your industry,” said Beristain.

Each participating campus appointed three people to manage the project. These new managers participated in a training program Molina and Breceda had developed. The program shared advice about models and strategies and highlighted the best park experiences.

Providing landing services was an important first step in attracting the participation of companies. Such services included help in looking for homes and schools for workers, assistance in recruiting management, and help in installing technology.

The parks also had to offer around-the-clock support for the facilities. Even when the buildings were at the edges of the campus, as they usually were, the university had to provide electric power, for example. Campuses were accustomed to limiting electricity and other services during holidays or peak periods of use. For the companies, such disruptions were potentially damaging, and the university had to adjust its policies.

The three-person management team also built relationships between companies and local governments, and it worked with the university to recruit students and researchers. Breceda said Tec’s network of trusted business consultants, lawyers, and other professionals played an important role in attracting tenants.

Negotiating

Attracting firms and negotiating collaborative arrangements also presented challenges. For example, big companies sometimes would sometimes seek special deals. No matter how attractive an investment a big company would bring, Breceda urged park managers to adhere to the same terms for all tenants. To lure and retain smaller, vibrant start-ups, it was important to avoid giving concessions to larger companies that had deep pockets.

All agreements between Tec and the companies included a clause binding the company to collaboration. Without that clause, the parks would risk attracting companies that sought services and rental space but did little to develop new products and train or hire students.

Although Tec provided facilities and access to professional networks, researchers, and students, each tenant agreed to a contract that stipulated prices for water, electricity, security, and other services. Each also had to purchase a telephone landline to help it establish a legal address.

Maintaining the parks at about 85% capacity proved possible in most instances—and was about what most of the park managers could reasonably handle, Breceda said.

Collaboration

“Once you have the building, you have to make it alive,” Molina said. To succeed, each park would have to have a strategy for matching companies with the interests and capacities of professors, researchers, and students. “There has to be a living environment to really sustain a technology park. It is not like you’re renting an office,” he said. It took time and strong leadership to meet that goal. Molina’s team created opportunities for park managers to visit each other and learn from one another’s experiences.

One way to create an effective partnership in, for example, the IT field was to use a tenant’s software as a vehicle for instruction in a university class. Students would learn general concepts while also becoming familiar with the company’s product or system. For the company, that approach lowered training costs. Companies could simply hire students who had performed well, and they would be assured that the students already knew how the software operated. In turn, the students appreciated that the skills they had learned in class would be useful in their careers, and they invested themselves more heavily, which also improved faculty morale. Molina said, “Everybody wins.”

Molina wanted all students to participate in this kind of interaction at least once before graduation. The program collaborated with companies to create summer opportunities for students to intern, apprentice, or take part-time jobs.

To make the approach work required some other steps as well. For instance, park managers learned they had to invite the companies to give conferences and play active roles in helping connect the professors with the students and the companies. Gradually, some of the park directors took other steps to facilitate collaboration among businesses. They sponsored social events and networking sessions at which people talked about recent failures. If one company hosted a conference, the other tenants received invitations. The university also joined the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation and started to participate in the association’s events, borrowing ideas about ways to foster collaboration from other countries.

To ensure that the parks truly inspired innovation and acted as incubators or accelerators for new enterprises, Tec de Monterrey initially limited the tenancy agreements to four years. Molina said, “We want them to move—establish, grow, and then move out.” That policy was consistent with the ambitions of the government’s program for small and medium-size enterprises as well as with the Tec’s philosophy.

 Later, the university eliminated the four-year limit, though all leases remained short-term in order to avoid problems with evictions or contract violations. It experimented with awarding points to tenants when they hired students as employees, allowed students to do projects, provided professional practicums, or participated in classes. Those that failed to accumulate a specified minimum number of points at year-end were asked to leave. Some of the companies that fell behind would race to accumulate points in the month before the annual evaluation, and increasingly, the program leaders found that as well as the total points, they had to look at the pattern of activity throughout the year.

Obstacles

Because of its size, the initiative required considerable coordination by the dean’s office. When Molina became head of the Monterrey campus, he lacked the time to follow up, and his bold plan for technology parks on every campus lapsed. The parks initiative required more supervision. On some campuses, talented leaders made up for the deficit, however, keeping the vision alive.

Breceda, too, learned that timing mattered in ways that hadn’t been obvious at first. Government funding cycles created several challenges. For example, construction projects and other activities often continued for more than one year and one budget cycle, but government accounting required that all objectives be met within the fiscal year the money was appropriated. The leadership team had to develop workarounds.

Further, grants often did not materialize on time, and Tec had to devise a system for smoothing the revenue or funding for park partners. Breceda guided park tenants through funding applications to minimize interruptions, and Molina persuaded the university to provide temporary funds for applicants that the applicants would repay when government grants were released.

A second kind of timing problem sometimes arose in connection with the university’s course schedule. When a project couldn’t be completed within a term, it was hard to evaluate student performance or manage student participation. Park directors worked with companies to align their projects to fit the academic calendar.

Results

At Molina’s direction, the university kept track of basic information about each park’s performance. As a result, it could monitor and compare investments, projects, and performance. According to Ibarra, the university began to evaluate the success of the parks according to four metrics: the percentage of tenants that met the academic linkage requirements (90% had to do so), external accreditations as business incubators or accelerators with the Ministry of the Economy, number of companies started by recent graduates, and financial capacity to be self-sustaining.

By the end of 2013, of the technology parks Tec de Monterrey was able to launch, 5 were working very well in the view of administrators, 6 had mixed records of success, and 3 were failing. In 2014, 13 parks remained. The 152 resident businesses had created 2,000 jobs, according to Beristain—about a quarter of them at the Ciudad de México campus. Tec had spent roughly 300 million pesos (US$22 million), according to Joaquín Guerra, a professor and former campus president. Although the university had had to invest more than it initially anticipated (roughly 50 to 60% of the actual cost), this expenditure helped make the concept a reality, Guerra stressed. “If we had seen this project as one about earning money, it wouldn’t have worked,” he said.

The five successful parks attracted companies and generated jobs for Tec graduates and students. The initiative also changed teaching at Tec: curriculum developers focused on industry needs and the practical application of knowledge rather than on pure theory.

The first years of Tec’s experiment generated several lessons: The parks had no shared operations manual because each tenant was supposed to tailor its activities to the local economy. Nonetheless, had a manual and a compilation of standard practices existed, some of the parks would have performed better—in Molina’s view. A more gradual rollout might have eased the problem because each new park could have learned from the others.

Those who participated in the parks project agreed that strong and effective leadership was a key element in the project. Guerra said, “The most important factors are the commitment and engagement of the people involved: the board of trustees, campus administrators, professors, private sector authorities, and students.”

The mix of tenants also influenced levels of success, as did proximity to certain kinds of businesses or services at a park’s edges. Getting the right focus was important too, but identifying clusters of related enterprises that could link to existing supply chains proved a challenge for park managers at many campuses. Beristain said, “The parks that haven’t worked didn’t have clear business models.” Expanded analytic support for this function would have increased the probability of success. It also helped to have one large anchor business—and to have banks nearby, as was the case in Querétaro, one of the most successful parks.

Third, the model would not work at all universities, Molina concluded. At some, it was highly successful. One of the university’s technology parks grew to occupy a nine-floor building, with 120 companies in its incubator program (many more than it could house physically), an information technology cluster, and two floors devoted to graduate study and continuing education.

Guerra underscored the observation that it takes time for technology parks to realize their potential. “You have to build confidence,” he said. Companies had to see to be convinced, but as they saw the parks growing, they wanted to be part of them. It also took time to convince faculty members to move away from traditional ways of working and to think about how their research could help create a business.

Nonetheless, the Tec experiment was timely and had promise. In Molina’s view, it was important to “send a message to the community that we were doing something” to help, and technology parks were the best vehicles.

 


[i] For more discussion see Arturo Molina, Jose Manuel Aguirre, Monica Breceda, Claudia Cambero. “Technology parks and knowledge-based development in Mexico: Tecnologico de Monterrey CIT2 Experience,” InderScience Online http://www.inderscienceonline.com/doi/abs/10.1504/IJEIM.2011.038859

 

 

 

Remaking a Neglected Megacity: A Civic Transformation in Lagos State, 1999-2012

Author
Gabriel Kuris
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract

Lagos State began the twenty-first century as a boomtown crippled by crime, traffic, blight, and corruption. A regional economic hub and burgeoning state of 13.4 million people, the megalopolis had a global reputation for government dysfunction. Two successively elected governors, Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola, worked in tandem to set the state on a new course. Beginning in 1999, their administrations overhauled city governance, raised new revenues, improved security and sanitation, reduced traffic, expanded infrastructure and transit, and attracted global investment. By following through on their promises to constituents and forging a new civic contract between Lagos and its taxpayers, Tinubu and Fashola laid the foundations of a functional, livable, and sustainable metropolis.
 
Gabriel Kuris drafted this case study based on interviews conducted by Graeme Blair in Lagos, Nigeria, in August 2009 and by Kuris in Lagos, in October 2011 and in Providence, Rhode Island, in November 2012. Case published July 2014.

Associated Interview(s):  Babatunde Fashola, Bola Tinubu

Streamlined Tax Administration in Rio de Janeiro: Implementing Nota Carioca, 2009-2014

Author
Neil Fowler
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Abstract

A complex paper-based city tax collection system made Rio de Janeiro a difficult environment for business and a source of lost revenue when Eduardo Paes became mayor in 2009. Elected on a promise to set the city’s fiscal house in order, Paes planned to implement an electronic invoicing system based on similar programs piloted in other Brazilian cities. A recent constitutional amendment required all levels of Brazil’s federal system of government to ease the burdens of the country’s tax system. Paes reasoned that the potential efficiency gain from a new system was among the few routes available for increasing revenue. His team had to overcome significant challenges to implement the new system and ensure participation by consumers in monitoring tax payments. Strong political and technical leadership, collaboration, and good design helped to successfully implement the new system, called Nota Carioca. This case study offers other governments at the national or subnational levels useful lessons in improving revenue administration and implementing reforms that feature information technology, stakeholder communication, and partnerships.
 
Neil Fowler drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in March 2014. The case was prepared by ISS in partnership with the World Bank as part of the Bank’s Science of Delivery initiative. Case published July 2014.

 

 

Rebuilding Public Confidence Amid Gang Violence: Cape Town, South Africa, 1998-2001

Author
Richard Bennet
Focus Area(s)
Core Challenge
Country of Reform
Abstract

Violence in neighborhoods on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, escalated in the late 1990s. In areas like Manenberg and Hanover Park, gangs dominated community life, interrupted the delivery of public services, and in some instances threatened civil servants working in housing offices, medical clinics, and libraries. Following the African National Congress’s victory in the first democratic local government elections in 1996, city officials sought new ways to reduce the impact of the gang presence on the delivery of community services. Ahmedi Vawda, executive director of the Directorate of Community Development (called ComDev), and his team thought that the only ways to succeed were to build confidence among residents—thereby increasing their resolve in standing up to the gangs—and to lower the attraction this way of life had for young people. By giving a greater voice to residents, including greater discretion over service delivery, the team hoped to build social capital and gradually enlarge the space under public control. The ComDev team mapped the economic and social challenges facing the most-vulnerable communities and created Area Coordinating Teams (ACTs) that enabled local organizations to play major roles in governance. These forums increased community understanding of local government responsibilities—along with the community’s role in development—by identifying areas where municipal funding could support community initiatives. Although the ACTs did not take direct action against the gangs, in the neighborhood of Manenberg they provided a space for local participation in development projects and laid the foundation for progress by soliciting local feedback for city services, by asserting the presence of government in previously insecure areas, and by restoring a degree of community confidence.

 Richard Bennet drafted this case study on the basis of interviews in Cape Town and Pretoria, South Africa, in March 2011. Case published May 2012.

Palermo Renaissance Part 1: Rebuilding Civic Identity and Reclaiming a City from the Mafia in Italy, 1993-2000

Author
Laura Bacon and Rushda Majeed
Country of Reform
Internal Notes
1.22.13 new draft includes corrected links and Palermo titles as well as new reader feedback language.
Abstract
In 1993, Palermo residents elected Leoluca Orlando mayor with 75% of the vote. At the time of Orlando’s election, a series of assassinations of high-level anti-Mafia leaders had left the city reeling. For decades, the Sicilian Mafia had held a strong political, cultural and physical grip on the city. Orlando’s election affirmed that voters wanted him to continue what he had begun but couldn’t complete during his first mayoral term (1985–1990): to purge the government of Mafia influence and help restore Palermo’s cultural and economic vibrancy. Prior mayors had tolerated or assisted Mafia activity while the city center deteriorated, cultural life and business activities dwindled, and the education system weakened. Backed by a national crackdown on organized crime, the mayor used his second and third terms in office (1993–1997 and 1997–2000) to engage civic groups and businesses in revitalizing Palermo. By the time Orlando left office in 2000, his administration had renovated or reacquired hundreds of public buildings and monuments, built a cultural center and founded a downtown concert series, kick-started entrepreneurial activity and tourism, built dozens of schools and integrated civic consciousness into classrooms. Those actions helped reawaken civic pride. Although subsequent city administrations abandoned or rolled back many of the reforms, Orlando’s administration helped define and lead a “Palermo Renaissance.”
 
Laura Bacon and Rushda Majeed drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Palermo, Italy, in March 2012. Aldo Civico, assistant professor in the department of sociology and anthropology at Rutgers University and cofounder of the International Institute for Peace, provided initial ideas and guidance on this case. Roberto Pitea, Valentina Burcheri, and Brian Reilly provided research assistance. Case published September 2012.
 
Two companion case studies address simultaneous reform efforts in Palermo from 1993 to 2000: “Palermo Renaissance Part 2: Reforming City Hall” focuses on the city’s budget, taxes, one-stop shop for licenses and documents, and citizen outreach. “Palermo Renaissance Part 3: Strengthening Municipal Services in Palermo” details efforts to improve service delivery, management, hiring, and bidding processes in Palermo’s water, gas, transportation, and waste management services.