Better Governance for Development in the Middle East and North Africa
306 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2006
Improving public sector performance and governance is a key pillar in the World Bank's engagement strategy for the MNA region. Public governance is one of the mechanisms through which the values of development are secured for the people. These values include equality of treatment, freedom to choose, and opportunities to participate in the process. Good governance recognizes the integrity, rights, and needs of everyone within the state. Good governance - in which public institutions function responsively, transparently, and with accountability - is also essential to reducing poverty and stimulating growth. Weak governance translates into poor public services and limited participation by citizens in shaping their future. It has also contributed to weak growth in the MNA region and has shackled the business environment and investment climate. The region needs a sound, attractive business environment for investment and production. To help in the difficult process of improving governance, Better Governance for Development in the Middle East and North Africa proposes two universal criteria that might be used in defining a program to enhance governance: inclusiveness and accountability.
While recognizing that improving governance is no simple matter, this book challenges the region to formulate and implement national programs that would enhance governance by strengthening inclusiveness and accountability mechanisms. Such programs could build on the progress increasingly evident across the region and lead to a strategy for better governance that can simultaneously encourage growth and development, as well as meet the needs and aspirations of the region's people in the decades ahead.
Recognizing that the elements of each country's program and the mechanisms for implementing them are matters for individual societies to decide, the book declines to offer answers to the complex challenge of improving governance. Rather, it seeks to enhance the dialogue in the MNA region on governance and marshal evidence showing that good governance matters for development.
Keywords: governance, Middle East, growth, development
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