The role and performance of regional development authorities:A case study of Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) in Kenya
The problem facing most of the developing countries today is that of the establishment of appropriate institutions that will optimally implement development policies. A number of development policies have often been inadequately implemented or if implemented, with negative consequences. This study analyses the performance of one institution established to help in the implementation of regional development policy in Kenya. The Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) was created in 1979 by the Kenya Government to accelerate the development of the Lake Victoria basin region in Western Kenya as it was felt that the then existing institutions wore not capable of treating the region as one comprehensive and integrated unit of development efforts. The study examines the role of the Authority vis-a-vis other institutions in the area as far as the development of the region is concerned. This is done in the light of the experience of the authority since its establishment. It is argued that despite the fact that the Authority has undertaken a number of projects which have undoubtedly made some impact, however dismal that might be, the role of the Authority vis-a-vis other institutions, particularly government ministries and departments in the region is far from clear. Thus seven years after its establishment, there is still no concrete sign that the Authority will be able to fulfill the high hopes and aspirations that greeted its creation. The study, however, maintains that despite vagueness of its role, the raison d’être of the Authority is unquestionable and that the Authority is absolutely necessary for the sake of a comprehensive and integrated development of the region. The study recommends, in the light of its findings, the measures that are to be undertaken to make the Authority play its expected role in the development of the region, the absence of which, the study further argues, will make the creation of the Authority be just another case of organizational proliferation with no meaningful impact on the region's development process.