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What is the really good governance Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by meland, United States Jun 26, 2006
Human Rights   Opinions


What is the really good governance
Accountability is a key requirement of good governance. Not only governmental institutions but also the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. Who is accountable to whom varies depending on whether decisions or actions taken are internal or external to an organization or institution. In general an organization or an institution is accountable to those who will be affected by its decisions or actions. Accountability cannot be enforced without transparency and the rule of law.


Over past decades, Africans have paid a high price for the absence of good governance in many parts of the continent. In Africa, as elsewhere in the world, good governance fosters social and economic progress, which, in turn, helps sustain good governance. But today "We are witnessing ... a new wave of progress in Africa, based on peace, democracy, human rights and sustainable development. Together, these four principles form the pillars of good governance." And they must rest on a popular mandate. The will of the people must be the basis of governmental authority in Africa, and governments, duly elected, and must not be overthrown by force. That is the foundation of democracy. That is the foundation of good governance." The major issues on good governance in Africa are:
-- Sustainable human development requires the participation of all economic actors, including the state, business community and civil society;
-- Empowerment of civil society is a guarantee for effective government partnership;
-- Economic progress and good governance go hand-in-hand;
-- Gender equity and women's empowerment are essential ingredients of good governance;
-- The military should protect constitutionality, rather than fostering instability;
-- Human rights and other constitutional guarantees are essential to guard against arbitrary power and a "winner-take-all" syndrome;
-- Mechanisms that build on history, culture and indigenous traditions are vital for democratization and good governance; and
-- Donors should better coordinate their country programmes and provide aid in a way that builds partnership, rather than imposing a particular set of governance mechanisms.
But general agreement on how to achieve good governance has been slower to emerge. Specifically on democracy, the issue now in Africa is not whether to democratize, but how, how soon and in what form.

From the above discussion it should be clear that good governance is an ideal that is difficult to achieve in its totality. Very few countries and societies have come close to achieving good governance in its totality. However, to ensure sustainable human development, actions must be taken to work towards this ideal with the aim of making it a reality.

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