This paper examines, compares and draws lessons from the implementation of local government systems in the Lusophone African countries in the period post-independence, highlighting elements of continuity and variability in sub-national tiers of government in African countries with a common administrative culture. The paper addresses the following research questions: 'What is the type of local government in these countries and how did each of them evolve since independence?'; 'What are the main similarities and differences in these local government systems?; ´What are the main characteristics of the recent local government reforms?'. The study answers these questions based on the analysis of the post-colonial local government acts and related legislation, in particular in the field of spatial planning. Two main sub-periods are considered: the first, characterized by a single party political regime, centralized administration and by the nationalization of the main economic sectors; the second, characterized by a multi party political regime and decentralization. Among other findings the study shows how the institutional models of local government and central-local relations evolved, and the opportunities and challenges confronting sub-national tiers of government in these countries, in particular the challenges with which the implementation of recent decentralization reforms is confronted.
Keywords: Local Government Reforms |Decentralization|Lusophone African Countries