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One of the major promises of decentralisation is that it brings popular participation and accountability to local governance, making local government more responsive to citizens’ desires and more effective in delivering services. Acknowledging the potential of decentralisation in improving delivery of basic services, the present article uses primary data to demonstrate that higher availability of urban basic services (UBSs) is associated with higher levels of citizen dissatisfaction. Policymakers need to adopt a comprehensive set of reform policies – strengthening the organic link between urban residents and municipalities, exploring alternative service delivery options, etc. – to improve the delivery of UBSs.

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