Governance and Leadership in Africa: Measures, Methods and Results

By Rotberg, Robert I. | Journal of International Affairs, Spring-Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

Governance and Leadership in Africa: Measures, Methods and Results


Rotberg, Robert I., Journal of International Affairs


Governance is performance--the delivery of high quality political goods to citizens by governments of all kinds. In Africa, as everywhere else, those political goods are security and safety, rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance, created at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, evaluates forty-eight sub-Saharan African countries according to fifty-seven variables. The results of this massive measurement exercise produce overall rankings of governance attainment, plus rankings for each of the five categories of political goods and each of the fifty-seven variables. Yet, the purpose of this Index is not to rate, but to diagnose. The Index is a diagnostic tool for civil society, donors and governments so that performance can be enhanced and the lives and outcomes of Africans can be strengthened. Improving African governance is the goal.

A THEORY OF GOVERNANCE

Governance is the delivery of political goods to citizens. The better the quality of that delivery and the greater the quantity of the political goods being delivered, the higher the level of governance--everywhere and at every jurisdictional level, not just in Africa? Delivery and performance are synonymous in this context. If governments patch roads or fix broken street lights, they deliver valuable political goods that are hard for citizens to obtain privately. These homely examples illustrate an underappreciated truism: Governments and nation-states exist primarily to provide for their taxpayers and inhabitants. Governments exist to perform for their citizens in areas and in ways that are more easily--and more usually--managed and organized by the overarching state than by private enterprises or collective civic collaborations. The provision of physical safety and national security are prime examples.

Modern nation-states deliver political goods to persons within their designated borders. Having inherited, assumed and replaced the suzerains of earlier centuries, nation-states now buffer external forces and influences, champion the local concerns of their adherents and mediate between the constraints and challenges of the international arena as well as the dynamism of their own internal economic, political and social realities.

It is according to their performance in the governance realm that states succeed or fail. Stronger states are distinguished from weak states according to the levels of their effective delivery of political goods. Such goods are those intangible and hard to assess claims that citizens make on national and local governments. Political goods encapsulate citizen expectations and bundles of obligation, as well as inform the local political culture and give content to the social contract between ruler and ruled that is at the core of state and citizenry interactions. (2)

A HIERARCHY OF POLITICAL GOODS

There is a hierarchy of political goods. None is as important as the supply of security, especially human security. Individuals alone can sometimes arrange their own security. Groups of individuals can band together to purchase goods and services that provide more or less substantial quantities of security. Traditionally, however, individuals and groups of individuals have not effectively substituted privately obtained measures of security for publicly provided security.

States are obliged by definition to provide national security--to prevent cross-border invasions and losses of territory. They are obligated to deter domestic threats or attacks upon the national order and social structure. Nation-states are also charged with preventing crime and related assaults on human security. They pledge to help their citizens resolve differences with the state and with their fellow citizens without resorting to arms or other forms of physical coercion. When states fail to deliver these fundamental political goods, they lose the Weberian monopoly of violence and encourage the rise of non-state actors, insurgents and anarchy. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Governance and Leadership in Africa: Measures, Methods and Results
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.