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International Development Policy

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: International Relations
Wordcount: 1224 words Published: 2nd Oct 2017

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Political, economical and social development of developing countries has been a high priority on the global agenda. International development policy has gained momentum as issues such as poverty in some developing countries have been increasingly linked to global security issues such as terrorism. Global policy in regards to development has become more prevalent through the increase of international organizations and institutions. However, international development policy and its perceived importance to national economic, political and social growth within developing states has become a strongly debated issue. From the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to more regional and bilateral initiatives, development has remained a salient global issue. In recent decades, the focus of international development has shifted from economic to human development and from structural to sustainable development. Despite the various methods used of stimulating international development, Official Development Assistance (ODA) continues to be essential to many developing states. It can be argued that for this reason that institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which formulate and implement policy in relation to ODA, continue to have an increasing influence on developing states.

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In the last decades, an international development policy shift has taken place from structural adjustment programs focusing on economic reform and market-orientated policies to sustainable development incorporating social and environmental reform and human-orientated policies. One region greatly influenced by international development policy has been those developing states on the African continent. Many sub-Saharan states in Africa have been plagued by underdevelopment and continue to be heavily dependent on ODA. Despite reaping some benefits from the rapid economic growth in Asia and new economic partnerships with some BRIC states, most of the states in Africa continue to struggle with underdevelopment. Africa is a continent with enormous potential in both natural and human capital yet suffers from widespread poverty and human deprivation. The continent has the world’s highest proportion of poor, 46 %, and is home to more than 30% of the worlds poor (Cheru 2008, p.6). Despite various development initiatives such as the Lagos Plan of Action for Economic Development of Africa, Africa’s Programme for Economic Recovery, the African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programme for Socio-Economic Recovery and Transformation, the Three Year Priority Programme for Survival, Rehabilitation of African Economies, the African Charter for Popular Participation for Development and the Compact for Africa’s Recovery, Africa’s developmental gains have been marginal. Africa’s problematic of underdevelopment has been blamed on exogenous factors such

The post-World War II international system has increasingly witnessed more international and regional integration in addition to the rise of powerful non-state actors such as international , regional and transnational organizations. Organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union, various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and multinational corporations (MNCs) are increasingly playing a more important role in the international system. The institutionalizing of liberal policies within states through international financial institutions indicates the increasing influence non-state actors have on state affairs and sovereignty. Therefore, globalization and the role of key international non-state actors has become a reality. Not only has the number of international organizations increased exponentially since the post -war period, the scope and regulating power has accordingly also increased. For instance, there are international organizations for international trade (World Trade Organization, G8, G20), finance and foreign aid(Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank), health (World Health Organization), law (International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and Special Courts and Chambers for Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Lebanon), law enforcement (Interpol, Europol), humanitarian aid (International Red Cross and Red Crescent), migration (UNHCR), labor (International Labor Organization) and environment (UNEP) to name but a few! This excludes the additional formation of regional blocs for dealing with security (NATO, ECOWAS) and economic competitiveness within the global trade system such as NAFTA and many of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs). This plethora of international and regional organizations has not simply served to deal with or regulate transnational issues without affecting state sovereignty. Supranational regional organizations such as the European Union (EU) indicate that states have voluntarily relinquished some sovereignty for the overpowering interest of mutual gain. International

“The governance indicators establish a discursive field of state legitimacy and normalcy and ‘responsibilises’ states: construct them as ethical actors that are capable of correct and responsible choices and policies” (Lowenheim 2008: 255)

The use of global governance indicators is a means by which donors of official development assistance (ODA) can allocate scarce resources to what are perceived to be “effective” governments in developing countries. Ineffective governments in developing countries, which create rent-seeking activities, are seen as less desirable for the allocation of these scarce resources. Global indicators can, therefore, be used to assist donors in their decision-making for the allocation of aid to recipient states.

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Global institutions have an increasing tendency to rate and rank the governance capacities and performances of states. This practice of ranking and rating has increased significantly in the last few decades. The UNDP has identified at least 130 performance indices of which 80% had been created between 1991 and 2005 (Bandura 2005: 5). Each of these indices rank and assess country performance in such aspects as openness, competitiveness, governance, development, health, education, human rights, security, globalization among others.

World Governance Indicators for Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa

To examine the trend in quality of governance in each of the three case studies, aggregate indicators for Voice and Accountability (V & A), Political Stability and Absence of Violence (PSAV), Government Effectiveness (GE), Regulatory Quality (RQ) and Rule of Law (RoU) have been used from the World Governance Indicators (WGI) index. The WGI uses a scale between 2.5 to -2.5 where 2.5 indicates a high 41 quality of governance. The selected time frame used is from 2002 to 2011 (data was unavailable for 2001 and 2012). Although Nigeria and South Africa did not implement a majority of the recommendations, the case studies were included in the analysis to provide insight if any observed improvement was as a result of the APR recommendations or due to other determinants.


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