Is Good Governance Good for LDCs? The European Union and its Good Governance Concept

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2013

23 Pages, Grade: 1,7



1) Introduction

2) The concept of governance
2.1) Governance in general
2.2) The governance concept in origin

3) Good governance
3.1) The governance concept of the World Bank
3.2) Systemic, political and administrative democratic good governance
3.3) From the Washington Consensus to Post Washington Consensus
3.4) Good governance principles of important international organizations

4) The concept of the European Union
4.1) Developing a concept
4.2) First time mention of good governance and its interpretation
4.3) Concretisation through the treaties of Lomé and Cotonou
4.4) The first step to another concept
4.5) A try to measure good governance
4.6) The concretization of democratic governance

5) Summary and Critique


1) Introduction

The concept of good governance has been a long time discussed the concept of development cooperation. Almost every institution on the world level, like the World Bank or European Union, got its own definition, in which way this concept had to be converted into real politics.

It is widely believed that only with the implementation of good governance least developed stats are able to overcome poverty. And even the most paying states believed that LDC´s have to convert these concepts into real policy to overcoming poverty. But nobody, not the World Bank or the western governments could really give an answer, if this concept is really helpful in all its instances? In this work, I will try to collect some of the definitions of good governance. Because there are very different attributes, I like to compare them which each other, as good as it gets.

The concept of good governance is used in some many different ways that almost every political cooperation between the state, the society and the economy is somewhere touched be this concept.

And because of this, it is really difficult to find one satisfactory solution, which maybe defines the concept of good governance sufficient. My main question is: “What are the main characteristics of this concept and why does it find its place in almost every development cooperation between the western societies and the LDCs? “

Although, I will try to outline, what are the positive attributes of this concept and which changes had this concept learned over the long time of years. This point is in my opinion really necessary, because the concept of good governance is almost a dogmatic one, that nobody realize anymore, if this concept in which all the institutions believing is helpful.

In contrary, I will show next to the positive attributes the negative outcomes of this concept. Especially the polity of the European Union produced a lot of different interpretations of the good governance concept. Which were really serious and have been implemented and which were just window dressing?

I will try to make my statement more clear with an example. Since at the end of the eighties, the European Union follows a development plan which is characterized through contracts between the EU and LDCs out of the ACP-States group.

I like to show how the concept had changed over the years, especially between the years of the different treaties. And how has the experience over the years changed the EU view of this cooperation?

Since the contract of Maastricht, the European Union has admitted the good governance concept in their development aid program. On the basis of the latest results of the granted aid, the European Union shifted away from insisting too much on the completely implementation of all parts of good governance. What for consequences exactly the LDCs had to worry about out of the concept democratic governance, and why this is maybe a big failure in the development politics of the EU, I will try to describe as my last point.

2) The concept of governance

2.1) Governance in general

On the international level, good governance describes, how governmental institutions shape fundamental human rights. It is a management between the public sector, economic markets and the interests of the society. With the term governance, the literature is connected “the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)” (UNESCAP 2009). More or less, governance in the original meaning defines the political power of a state and how it is managing all the nation's affairs in an involving relationship with other state institutions, like federal agencies or the department of international development. According to this view, it is necessary to focus during the process of decision-making on the main actors, which can be formal or informal. The most important actor is surely the government itself. On the national level, it is coordinating the political decision between the parliament, the political parties and the opposition. The political process is nevertheless influenced through all lot of non-national institutions, like the media, lobby-groups or NGOs. All of them had a rural interest in almost everything in the political process, which is taking place on the national level. All of them ties to get a big piece of the cake. Nevertheless, governance is often realized in three different ways. The first way is through networks, which are involved in public-private partnerships (PPP) or through the combination of community organizations. The second one is characterized by the use of market mechanisms, like the competition of the market with the effect to allocate resources. This way is even characterized through government regulation. The third approach combines a method, in which governments and the state bureaucracy are involved in an exchange process.

Generally, these different approaches of governance a market through a clear hierarchy structure. But even with a clear hierarchy, the branches of powers in a state are controlling each other in different ways. For instance, there are the checks of balance approach, in which the executive, the legislature and the judiciary are split into three different parts.

2.2) The governance concept in origin

Governance is now a days in the international development discourse a key concept to explain how development and underdevelopment emerge. Since the early nineties, the topic of governance has been well discussed. More and more good governance gets a normative-praxeologically concept, which depends on the experiences of development cooperation during the seventies and the late eighties (Czada 2009: S. 2). The concept should explain, how reforms and structural adjustment programs could be implemented in LDC´s. Many African countries had difficulty to perform the required economic reforms, as well in Latin America, where the results of reform initiatives were often disappointing. Governance deficits were diagnosed as the biggest problem of formulating a well development policy. The political community gets in the governance debate much more attention. In other words, institution-building and designing, building and transparency of decision-making, representation of interests and conflict resolution, the limits of the exercise of power and the responsibility of the political leadership were connected with governance. Just by the lack of explicit definitions of governance in the past, the new definition could be used as a comprehensive concept, under which every political processes and interests, as well as desirable objectives and value preferences can be subsumed. In a normative-praxeologically way the supporters of the good governance concept looked at the effectiveness in solving the practical problems. The biggest problem after the second World War was the ineffectiveness of the technical aid, which the western societies build in the LDCs. Infrastructure and industrial programs should generate economic growth and prosperity (Czada 2009: S.4). In fact, these kind of development aid was granted without any governance structures, without any protecting laws or control authorities. The infrastructure and the industrial buildings collapsed almost immediately, even the western societies helped the LDC-Countries with the training of technicians and the maintenance of the factories. Especially with a look on the so-called “Tigers” in Asia, the performance of the LDC-countries in Africa was very poor. Their success was due primarily to government intervention creating and controlling new markets.

3) Good governance

3.1) The governance concept of the World Bank

The first appearance of the good governance concept appeared during the world banks report of Africa in 1989. In this report, the world bank argued that, "Underlying the litany of Africa's development problems is a crisis of governance" (World bank, 1989). The study comes to the conclusion that economic aid fails their purpose if they are not administered as a part of efficient public institutions and were not controlled.


Excerpt out of 23 pages


Is Good Governance Good for LDCs? The European Union and its Good Governance Concept
University of Potsdam  (Wirtschaft- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät)
Transformation in international development cooperation
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Good Governance, LDC, European Union
Quote paper
Florian Henning (Author), 2013, Is Good Governance Good for LDCs? The European Union and its Good Governance Concept, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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