This paper explores the nature of the governance debate in African politics. It offers an overview of key debates since the governance concept first emerged in development circles. Through a review of the critique of the ‘good governance’ agenda, the paper demonstrates the futility of a rigid application of pre-defined good governance institutions in African states. Rather, it argues that there is a need for understanding the political feasibility of possible alternative growth-enhancing governance initiatives. The paper argues that growth-enhancing governance will always be context dependent and that there is a need for more research into potential political incentives that might lead ruling elites to adopt policies for growth-enhancing governance. To this end, it is necessary to improve our understanding of the particular features of ruling coalitions that enable growth-enhancing governance. To do this we need to research the organisation of ruling coalitions and how they are financed, and we need to know more about the role of elections in shaping policies and their implementation.
Governance in Africa, 2014, Vol 1, Issue 1, p. 1-10