Good Governance in a Developmental State: The Case of Ethiopia (Concepts, Challenges and Prospects)

Belayneh Bogale Zewdie


This paper offers a critical review of the concepts, challenges and prospects of good governance in a developmental state by taking the Ethiopian experience as an example. The article attempts to identify some of the conceptual gaps and ambiguities regarding good governance and developmental states and come up with conceptual clarity. It also critically examines the key manifestations of successful developmental states (mainly East Asian) by comparing them with the actual reality in the Ethiopian developmental state. On top of this, both analytical and policy issues are discussed in reference to the experiences of East Asia and Africa (particularly Ethiopia). To this end, by way of comprehensive desk review/ critical document analysis, the paper attempts to point out the issues, challenges and prospects of good governance under the Ethiopian developmental state model. This paper claims that instead of the never ending debate on democracy Vs development and development Vs good governance, which is found to be a “false choice” and a sequencing fallacy, future scholarship on this field, should be based on a more rigorous conceptual clarity on how to install good governance and democracy without compromising development. It also stresses the importance of taking seriously the autonomy and capacity of the bureaucracy to meet the aspirations of developmental state in Ethiopia. The review also argues that in order to properly make use of the constitutional, policy and legal prospects, it is imperative  to ending hiding behind development and to striving for genuine reform and shared vision (national consensus).

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