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The significant expansion of Zambia's Constituency Development Fund in the 2022 budget provides an important opportunity to make service delivery more responsive to public needs, strengthen decentralised local institutions, and promote economic development. This policy paper, drafted at the request of the Government of Zambia, outlines recommendations for policymakers to consider immediately, over the first year of the roll-out, and over the longer term that can improve the fund's effectiveness.
The paper is structured as follows: Section I provides a summary of recommendations. Section II outlines the institutional structure of the CDF with a focus on prominent bottlenecks. Section III provides an overview of cross-country economic evidence on similar community projects, with a focus on what design features have worked better than others. Section IV focuses on evidence on improving accountability with Section V providing insight on how learning can be built into the CDF's design and evaluation. Section VI concludes by focusing on longer-term design trade-offs to consider.