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Governance and Anti-Corruption reforms in Developing Countries: Policies, Evidence and Ways Forward

From the Introduction: International institutions and in particular the World Bank and the IMF are rightly giving a great deal of attention to issues of governance and institutions in developing countries, and they are particularly concerned with corruption. There is strong evidence that governance and institutions matter in accelerating development and in reducing poverty in developing countries.

However, the evidence strongly suggests that there is no common set of institutions that all successful developing countries have shared. More worrying is the observation that governance and institutions in the most successful developing countries have often been starkly at variance with the good governance model that international agencies are committed to. Even the most successful developing countries have suffered from significant corruption and other governance failures during the early stages of their development. However, they did have significant governance capacities that allowed states to ensure that the conditions for rapid growth and sustained political legitimacy of the state were maintained.

A sustained pressure to reduce corruption and improve governance is both necessary and desirable but these ends cannot be achieved unless attention is also given to the governance capacities required for accelerating and sustaining growth. The very desirable goals of good governance may be neither necessary nor sufficient for accelerating and sustaining development. Nevertheless, some types of anti-corruption and governance reforms are likely to be part of a sustainable development strategy in most countries. The challenge for developing countries trying to devise institutional reform and anti-corruption strategies is to learn the right lessons from the international experience and create feasible governance reform agendas appropriate and feasible for their own circumstances. The current governance and anti-corruption agendas do not achieve this and may even be doing damage by setting unachievable targets for developing countries and diverting attention from critical governance reforms.

By Mushtaq Husain Khan

Download: Governance and Anti-Corruption reforms in Developing Countries: Policies, Evidence and Ways Forward (PDF, 133.18 K)

Read More: Development, Governance, Poverty, Global

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