Governance and Development: The current role of theory, policy and practice
Published: June 2009
Governance matters are arguably at the core of international development. What role do theory, policy and practice play in shaping matters of governance with respect to development? This review paper, which is organised in three parts, focuses on this subject since the demise of communism in 1991. In the first part, the theories on the governance and development nexus are outlined. In the second, governance policy is discussed with reference to: the early strategic policy shift; the concepts, principles and framework for enhanced governance; selected reviews by scholars and practitioners; and numerous key current issues. Governance in practice is examined in the third part with the same or similar questions, reviews and current issues. In addition, lessons are drawn from a case study. The conclusion of this paper is threefold: first, it is a fallacy that there is a pre-eminent system of governance that is universally applicable; second, the relevant theories on the subject have a remarkably limited role to play in sculpting policy and practice; and, third, perhaps the single most important problem in policies and practices on governance for development is the failure to temper interventions to the contextual dynamics found in each developing country setting.