Home News Governance for growth, stability and inclusive development
President David Granger is on record post March 2, 2020 proclaiming that the national and regional elections were free, fair and credible. This position of the activity carried out on polling day was sanctioned by all the international and local observers. It is public knowledge that the elections saga commenced at the Region 4 tabulation, where the count of the statements of poll was never completed and conducted following the prescribed legal procedure, as did the other nine regions.
The world has witnessed both major political parties declaring that they have won the elections, to the extent that one political party made publicly available evidence to support its claim, while the other has not been forthcoming to date. It would appear now that the National Recount is corroborating the evidence provided by the political party which sought to support its victory with evidence insofar as the Statements of Poll are matching the Statements of Recount.
The position of his Excellency has henceforth changed to hint at inclusive governance, from his party’s previous position that they have won the elections.
Today’s article, therefore, seeks to present, in theory and empirically, the bedrocks of inclusive governance for growth, stability and development.
Inclusive, accountable and open governance is fundamental to delivering sustainable development and combating global challenges. The global context for governance and development is changing rapidly. Widening inequalities, unemployment, and slow growth have placed inclusive governance at the centre of policy debate in any part of the world. Central to this debate is the ability of governments to put in place policies that deliver stronger economic growth, together with better sharing of the benefits of increased prosperity for all social groups (OECD, n.d).
Core governance principles and country examples
Participation and inclusion include empowerment through representation in government and through other mechanisms (e.g. administrative and local) facilitating free, active, and meaningful participation in decision- making processes. In economic crises, the participation of civil society in formulation and adoption of crisis responses has been recognised as being particularly useful in providing alternative sources of information — and thus in framing policy debates (IDEA 2010) — as well as in increasing citizens’ ownership of results (RCPAR and UNDP 2011). Some argue that democratic mechanisms such as civic participation in political processes lead to political instability, but the evidence shows that the reverse is often true. Even though socio-political unrest and handovers of power do occur more often in democracies than in dictatorships, they do not disrupt the overall development process, as they do in dictatorships (UNDP 2000).
Further, participatory political regimes generally deliver better growth because they produce ‘superior
institutions’ that are better suited to local conditions for a number of reasons: participatory political regimes yield more predictable long-term growth rates, and have more stability, since the wider range of decision-makers results in greater diversification and lower risk in an environment rife with imperfect information (Rodrik 2000). Participatory political regimes also deliver better distributional outcomes by producing greater equality (Rodrik 2000).
Better development outcomes, especially in times of crisis, can be explained through the core characteristics of representative government: inclusivity, openness, and adaptability. These elements foster a climate of innovation and entrepreneurship that is reflective of policy-making, and thus steady growth; openness promotes the exchange of information and ideas, and greater efficiency (e.g., in the allocation and use of resources); and adaptability (i.e., the flow of ideas among public, private and civic sectors) promotes greater versatility, timeliness, and flexibility in the adoption and implementation of policies; while the legitimate regular renewal of political leadership avoids conflict and allows for innovation (Halperin et al. 2010).
Meaningful and free participation of citizens and stakeholders in decision-making processes during times of crises contributes to the overall adaptability and stability of institutions, and promotes innovative policy dialogues. In the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s, mechanisms of participation, consultation, and bargaining in Thailand and the Republic of Korea enabled policy-makers to fashion the consensus needed to undertake the necessary policy adjustments decisively, and thus to handle the crisis significantly better than Indonesia (Rodrik 2000).
Generally, the hardest hit countries in an economic crisis tended to be those with few political liberties, such as Syrian Arab Republic, Algeria, Panama, and Gabon; while countries with open political regimes, such as Costa Rica, Botswana, Barbados, and India, fared much better (Rodrik 2000).