Better Governance and Public Policy: Capacity Building for Democratic Renewal in Africa

Better Governance and Public Policy: Capacity Building for Democratic Renewal in Africa

Better Governance and Public Policy: Capacity Building for Democratic Renewal in Africa

Better Governance and Public Policy: Capacity Building for Democratic Renewal in Africa

Synopsis

• Written by prominent scholars and practitioners of African development policy
• Describes recent governance changes in Africa
• Analyzes consequences of these changes for institutional reform
• Highlights challenges of capacity building for economic liberalization and democratization

This is an ideal volume for both students and scholars of African development, as well as anyone interested in the current issues of African governance. Published in association with the African Capacity Building Foundation, this book answers such questions as: What is the relationship between governance and institutional reforms? What is the impact of these reforms on public policy processes? And, what is the link between economic governance and policy research?

Excerpt

Governance is by no means a new concept. It has been a recurrent theme in the literature on politics ever since people began to reflect upon how they are being ruled. This theme can be traced to Plato and Aristotle in ancient Greece. Relevant ideas were also at the heart of enlightenment thinking in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, followed by the work of Weber and Schumpeter. What is new, however, is the meteoric rise over the last ten years of governance as a key concept in the international development debate. This marks an intriguing transformation in focus from micro to macro issues. It also poses fresh challenges to those interested in relating socioeconomic outcomes to macro interventions.

After ten years of efforts to make sense of governance, many basic challenges remain. What do we really mean by governance? How can we meaningfully measure it? What would a universal scale of measuring the quality of governance look like? How important is governance compared to other factors that may shape development outcomes?

A brief review of the literature highlights governance quality as the most critical variable in promoting development across the world. the development crisis in Africa has been described as a “crisis of governance” (World Bank, 1989). in contrast, the importance of good governance has been highlighted as one of the “big lessons” of the period of rapid growth in East Asia (Root, 1996). a recent report noted, “The reasons for South Asia’s colossal human deprivation are rooted in poor governance” (HDC, 1999). Much work on Latin America highlights the challenges of shifting from authoritarian regimes towards building effective democracy (Linz and Stepan, 1996).

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