chapter  2
26 Pages

Getting (in)to good governance

For over two decades the pursuit of good governance has been in vogue among

international development agencies as the determined path to social and eco-

nomic development. The discourse of good governance promises that with the

right alignment of state, market and civil society actors, and the right mix of

technical solutions (Odugbemi and Jacobson 2008), a governance environment

can be created where markets flourish, governments are efficient and account-

able, and all people benefit, even the most marginalized. Such promises make it

a very seductive discourse. Adding to its appeal is the way views of develop-

ment as neoliberal economic growth have been merged with alternative dis-

courses such as participation and human rights. It is a discourse of inclusion

where both the attainment and continuation of good governance require that

everyone ‘can, indeed must be included’ (Craig and Porter 2006: 2). As the

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (1997: 16) has stressed ‘[e]

ach domain of governance – the state, the private sector and civil society – has a

unique role to play’.