World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment

Nov 19, 2019 | Publications

The World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment (SNG-WOFI) is the largest international database on subnational government structure and finance. It is a multi-stakeholder initiative launched in 2017 led by OECD and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), with the support of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), AFD, CEB and DeLoG. The objectives of the SNG-WOFI initiative are three-fold: 1) Ensure standardised, reliable and transparent access to data on subnational government structure, finance and investment; 2) Support international dialogue and decision-making on multi-level governance and subnational finance; 3) Serve as a capacity-building tool on subnational governance and finance.

The 2019 report of the World Observatory presents the main organisational and financial indicators for subnational governments in over 120 countries (including 23 least developed countries-LDCs), representing 86% of the world’s population and 89% of world GDP. The study reveals that subnational governments are responsible for 24% of public expenditure worldwide, and 37% of public investment. On the other hand, subnational revenue account for 26% of public revenue. The study also reflects the significant imbalances on subnational government finance and investment between high-income and low-income countries, as well as the lack of reliable and transparent local fiscal data in most LDCs and developing countries.

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