A while back I was working for a small education foundation in Bangalore. Every day I took the bus to the office along a road that had so many pot holes it felt like the driver had decided to take a short cut across the surface of the moon. About a month before I left the whole stretch was covered by a smooth layer of gleaming tarmac and a series of huge posters appeared – announcing the hard work and successful lobbying conducted by our local city councillor.
Evidence is piling up on the need to revisit the standard ‘supply’ versus ‘demand’ concept of how to improve governance for development. This is pointing to an exciting set of new priorities for reform in sub-Saharan Africa.
Recently, at a community meeting I attended at Robina clinic in Tonkolili district, Sierra Leone, facilitators asked a group of young women to rate the quality of health service delivery using what they coined the “mango test.” As part of this “test” community members decide how many hypothetical mangos, on a scale from 0 to 5, they would give a nurse as thanks for the quality of her care.
We know justice matters in development. Barriers to access to justice are a central dimension of poverty and an effective justice system is essential in ensuring a capable and accountable state. Across the world people strive to live in fair societies, where power is not exercised arbitrarily and fundamental rights are respected.
In many areas of contemporary development practice–from the formulation of local budgets to the delivery of education services–social accountability mechanisms are being employed to assist citizens in holding the state accountable and thus, hopefully, to improve development outcomes.
In June 2011, the Government of Mongolia amended the Public Procurement Law of Mongolia (PPLM) to include a new formal role for civil society and professional organizations in bid evaluation and contract monitoring.
An interesting new paper by Abhijit Banerjee, Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Esther Duflo, Daniel Keniston, and Nina Singh shows how sometimes top-down reforms might be a good move through a look at a range of reforms tried out by the police in Rajasthan, India.
This week the Executive Board endorsed the Updated Governance and Anti-Corruption (GAC) Strategy. It is perhaps inevitable that at the end of a corporate strategy process one reflects a little on how it went, what one would do differently next time (not that I can contemplate for one moment any such 'next time' right now), and indeed, how things have changed since 2007.
Lessons from China, Brazil, Ukraine, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, and looking empirically at fragile states and budget execution
Does transparency lead to development? Not necessarily. At least not when it comes to the oil, gas, and mining sectors. Transparency is important but far from sufficient to improve livelihoods. An ongoing discussion among practitioners on the Governance of Extractive Industries (GOXI) platform reveals a lack of clear answers to this question.