Im­por­tance of the in­ter­re­la­tion­ship be­tween gov­er­nance, lead­er­ship and ethics – Part II

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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

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