Importance of the interrelationship between governance, leadership and ethics – Part II
THIS IS THE SECOND PART of the article that supports the proposition that governance, leadership and ethics are interrelated and part of a whole that delivers the optimum resultsi. We continue our examination below by taking a close look at the linkage between good national governance, effective-ethical leadership and economic prosperity.
Many African nations, and others elsewhere in the developing world, are poorly governed. It could be proposed that this is one reason why these countries lag behind the rest of the world in economic growth, in medical and educational achievements, in social and political improvements and in freedom from internal conflict. If governance and leadership were to be improved in Africa and elsewhere, infant mortality rates would fall, the struggle to contain the Aids epidemic might be more effective, civil strife would prove less damagingii and democratic transitions would be much smoother (such as those in Botswana).
Hunger, poverty, HIV/Aids and lack of development in Africa are in the first instance political and governance issues. Both economic and corporate governance take their cues from political governance. It would be naïve to suggest that the latter could improve within a corrupt and self-serving political system, without ensuring that political governance itself is underpinned by effective-ethical leadershipiii.
Well-governed states serve their citizens effectively. They deliver high levels of security, maintain strong adherence to the rule of law, respect political freedoms and human rights, nurture strong institutions, provide quality educational and health services, strengthen or regulate effective infrastructure, bolster an economic framework conducive to growth and prosperity, offer an atmosphere in which civil society can flourish, and regulate the environment for the benefit of all. Sentiments such as these echoed in the inaugural address of President Barack Obama when he said: “[ The question] we ask today … is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works (delivers promised results), whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified”.
There is a direct link between good national governance, effective-ethical leadership and economic prosperity. The difference between African and Asian countries, many of which started their history as states at the same point in the 1960s, is striking. Africa has fallen behind while Asia has surged ahead. Consider Singapore, a pirate haunt until 1965, and contrast it with Ghana. Ghana was wealthier than South Korea in 1960.
To Africa’s development partners, the G8 group of countries in particular, issues of political accountability and good governance logically lie at the core of Africa’s inability to develop. For the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to succeed, it has to encourage good governance, respect for the rule of law, political stability, transparency and accountabilityiv. In the next article, we look at the demand for effective leadership. i Botha, H.J. 2006. ‘ The interrelationship between governance and leadership: a theoretical study’, Dynamicus Journal for Private Higher Education. Rotberg, R. 2002. ‘A yardstick for the best and worst in Africa’, Financial Times (London), 13, November 25. Cilliers, J. 2003. ‘Peace and security through good governance: a guide to the NEPAD African peer review mechanism, Institute of Security Studies, Occasional paper 70. Harris, W. 2004. ‘NEPAD is the only way forward for Africa’, Institute of Directors Journal Developing Africa, March-April.
Reward must match performance. David Couldridge