Discuss whether good governance depoliticises development, and if it does, discuss the negative or positive implications of such.

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Discuss whether good governance depoliticises development, and if it does, discuss the negative or positive implications of such.


A plethora of developmental theorists and realists have always sought to define, propose and adopt a proper and perfect development route at both national and continental scales. At large, development has always been understood as much more of a socio-political phenomenon vis-à-vis economic progression. However, the upsurge of planned economies meant a shift from the view that was expansively held. With the emergence of concepts such as good governance, democracy and such, development has come to be understood along the lines of economies, as thus extracting the political aspect from development.

Societal relations and relations between State and civil society has evolved to assume a shape determined by political and economical development. The evolution is always typified by the emergence of mode of practice and norms such as democracy, good governance, rule of law, and some other aspects that are axiomatically viewed as concomitant to development. Hypothetically, good governance involves a variety of characteristics. These include issues such as participation, consensus orientation, accountability, transparency, responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, equity and inclusivity and the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized1, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also supposed to be responsive to the present and future needs of society.

According weighty significance to what was raised above, and will be raised herein, the below writing is destined at making attempts to discuss whether "good governance" depoliticises development. It further will discuss the probable positive and/or negative implications of the phenomenon, if it were, for development theory and practice in the current epoch.


It seems as if the general, perhaps hypothetical conception held around and about good governance at State level is that which refers to rule of law, respect of human, political & civil rights, transparency and accountability. A closer analysis and/or deduction would qualify neo-liberal policies and conditionality for development at the current developmental sphere, as interlinked and intertwined with good governance.

Recently the terms "governance" and "good governance" are being increasingly used in development literature. Bad governance is being increasingly regarded as one of the root causes of all-evil within societies. Major donors and international financial institutions are increasingly basing their aid and loans on the condition that reforms that ensure "good governance" are undertaken. Recently, United States (US) aid experts visited 16 low-income countries selected to receive aid as a reward for good governance in a multibillion-dollar programme that has won high praise for the Bush administration2.

By and large, good governance, which is mostly and at practical level, defined on proper economic and corporate governance, has taken the development agenda. As thus, the political aspect of development is minimised, since political influence on development has decreased its sphere of operation and functioning.

There has always been the notion that states must embrace neo-liberal policies in order to realise development. Despite the fact that neo-liberal policies have their own shortcomings, they have always been justified, largely after the collapse of communism and end of Cold War. For instance, the failure of Structural Adjustment Programmes in Africa was blamed on the 'poor governance' of African governments. The view propounded is that neo-liberal solutions were not wrong, instead they were incorrectly and insufficiently implemented. There can be minimal opposition to the view that the West is using good governance as a tool for domination over weaker developing countries. As thus, good governance deprives developing countries of their political powers to decide their own future.
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While it is true that the promotion of democracy has always been part of Western foreign policy rhetoric and that the end of Cold War allowed this ideal to be pursued more consistently, the good governance agenda is not exactly an expression of pure altruism. As a discursive transformation, good governance has been contingent in the past allowed and/or enabled the West to maintain its hegemony over the third world, perhaps with even fewer resources and less resistance than in the past3.

Good governance is much more of a discursive transformation that, while claiming to liberate ...

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