The concept of governance started since time immemorial and governance is the process by which decisions are made and implemented or not implemented. Based on this definition, governance is perceived in two divergent ways. When a consensus is reached by people who are part of the government and is carried out according to their whims and caprices, it is referred to as good governance because the opinions of all except none are considered and respected. But when just a few make decisions and implement the actions that do not favour the interests of the people they are accountable to, it is bad governance because it is autocratic. Hence, good governance does not exist in a dictatorial state neither does it exist in a state of anarchy that is a situation of chaos and rancor due to the non-recognition of government or other controlling agencies. In case you wonder where good governance can exist. Good governance can exist in a democratic institution where the interests all and sundry are given attention to and this is a system of governance virtually African nations recognize because it helps to boost the economy and combat poverty tooth and nail.
Therefore, good governance is the process of conducting and regulating the affairs of a state, organization or people on the platform of a conventional set of rules and regulations. This obviously denotes that defined governance must indispensably have a well-articulated rule of law which facilitates in the executions of the palatable plans. Invariably, good governance takes place when people crown it the necessary authority to enforce their plans on the foundation of the rule of law established by everybody (the governed and governor). The body which may be a state or organization, etc. on which governance stands on to exercise its administrative and process-oriented elements of managing and co-ordinating the nation’s social and economic resources for effective and sustainable development is called government. Thus, government which is seen as the governing body of a state is a system through which a state is governed. Governance is never enthroned where there is no government (the people) and it is as good as there is no government when governance does not function. Irrefutably, governance and government are mutual and are cardinal for the existence and functioning of each other. So, governance directly correlates with government and vice versa. And this is the rationale behind their synonymous usage. Nations initiate not just governance but good governance with a willful mind in order to ensure effectual resources management, harmony and above all synergy which are desirable for the amalgamation of people with disparities most especially witnessed in Africa with fragmentation in culture and so on. Believably, good governance is a panacea to high percentage poverty level in Africa because it ensures that egalitarian treatment is unleashed on every citizen. In other words, it ensues that a cooking pot for the leopard is a cooking pot for the lizard.
On the other hand, poverty is not just a disease but a contagious one which has a number of causative agents. It is a pest that drains the economy of its essential nutrients and leaves it with a stunted growth and it deprives the citizens of experiencing good living standard. Rough estimate of poverty level in Africa clearly indicates that majority treads on the path of abject poverty or has poverty as their residential estate. A brief research I carried out shows that one of the reasons why Africa is underdeveloped and have a handful of necessitous individuals today is either because those who work have remuneration as nothing or in dribs and drabs and this is too minute compared to the tireless and constructive efforts they invest. The situation can be likened to the ant that works and the elephant that eats that is some people’s sweats are ways of aggrandizing others who do not offer anything meaningful to the society’s improvement and the cause is attributed to bad governance. Hence, if poverty must be exterminated from the surface of Africa, good governance must be given apposite acknowledgement. Needful to state that if every African citizen should work harder and yet the number of paupers are magnified, then there should be an amendment in the constitution that governs the nation in order to appreciate the citizen’s industrious nature and enhance the economy. To be candid enough, it is detrimental to pass through the thorns of poverty because it is a cankerworm that eats deep into the fabrics of the lives of people; it also truncates their life span and jeopardizes the totality of the nation’s welfare. When poverty strikes, the people that are most susceptible are the less privileged, illiterates, etc. and they form a greater number of the population in Africa.
Etiologies of Poverty in Africa
Preferential treatment:- When some members of the society are marginalized and others are deemed immensely germane because they are erudite, influential, literates and have profound external leverage, it results to poverty on the side of the people who are considered insignificant because they have no authority good enough to oppose the decisions unfavorable to them. And this is more reason why minority is wealthy and majority toils fruitlessly.
Poor government policies: – Executions of policies that do not take into account the opinions of the masses and also do not favour them is considered to be bad without euphemism. Any nation that observes this has lost the virtue of democracy which considers the suggestions of the stakeholders as paramount and unnegligible. Therefore, these bad policies afflict the people with disease, malnutrition and guarantee them minimal access to health, education and other dividends.
Corruption:- The increase in moral decadence brewing across every nook and cranny of both public and private offices only bargains for nothing less than poverty. When the demerits are labeled merits, we expect nothing but horrible affliction and oppression on the innocent citizens. When ruthless individuals engage in bribery, nepotism and other social vices which are against the law and yet they go with impunity, then poverty becomes the superintendent on the side of the oppressed and powerless in the society. So, when these honorable nincompoops and unashamed nonentities are placed in these undeserved positions, they inject perilous plans that cause citizens to be pauperized.
War and natural catastrophe: – These lethal phenomena cause pathetic displacement of people, death, starvation, disease to mention just a few. Although, Africa experiences natural disasters on rare occasions but what about war? For instance in Nigeria, religious crisis, ethnic sentiments, communal dispute and political incompatibility, etc. have done the citizens more harm than good. What about other human disasters such as plane crash, explosion of oil tanks, etc. These have led to loss of loved and potential ones who may provide solutions in dealing with poverty in the future. It has also resulted in the destruction of assets and the totality of all these terrific occurrences have left indentations of poverty on the citizens and put the economy on the verge of collapse.
Over-dependence on Foreign Aids:-For instance, when most African countries used to excessively rely on exogenous assistance during the colonial dispensation, it made citizens to be imprisoned in pauperdom and subjugated them to the captivity of thralldom and it resulted to setbacks in rapid development because the strength and resources of the citizens are exploited. Poverty may not be exterminated if there are no localized or other alternative sources of obtaining aids, though foreign aids are relevant for the socio-economic enhancement of Africa.
It is beyond reasonable doubt that good observations of these causes of poverty are stemmed from bad governance. Bad governance magnets poverty because they are inseparable. Therefore, if poverty must be stopped from penetrating and perpetuating its torment on the teeming populace of Africa, then it needs a phenomenon that counteracts its effects and that concept is good governance which has no relationship with poverty. Poverty desserts Africa when good governance wears the crown. Hence, a tangible long-term assuagement of poverty is rooted in good governance. The following qualities of good governance tell more on ‘WHY’ it is an antidote of high rate of poverty.
Participation: – A major staircase to good governance is the freedom of participation by all individuals. Here, decision-making is open to everybody without discrimination provided that the person is a bonafide member of the government. Citizens partake in decision-making either through direct or representative democracy. So, the key word here is that everybody influences the decisions. Good governance gives one the chance to participate in reaching decisions without respect to one’s status.
Rule of law:-This is the key cornerstone of good governance. Good governance requires unbiased and legal platform that ensures that verdict is passed with no prejudice and ensures that those who flout its rules are brought to book. It installs independent courts and incorruptible police force in order to discharge its duties without fear or favor. Through this, good governance is brought to limelight and poverty which would have resulted due to absence of rule of law is prevented.
Transparency: – Good governance is open to public scrutiny. Here, citizens have access to question or approve decisions made as long as they go down well with the orthodox rules. Enforcements of decision are made conspicuous and comprehensible to the people it affects.
Responsiveness: – Good governance ensures that stakeholders do not have nag of doubts and reluctance in carrying out a collectively made decisions. It requires absolute compliance to established plans.
Consensus oriented: – Good governance shuns dissensus by encouraging uniformity in concord. It does not only allow the opinions of those who are influencial and at the echelon top of the society to dominate. It ensures that even the most vulnerable have a choice to agree or disagree with issues unfavorable to them. It enables decisions to be reached with one voice.
Equity and inclusiveness: – A milestone development is champion when some citizens are not marginalized and their opinions are deemed relevant towards the growth of the nation. It ensures that no individual is exempted or passively involved in influencing transformation.
Effectiveness: – Every good governance is productive and satisfies the needs of the society. It ensures that policies strategized in the management of natural resources for the interests of the citizens yield positive fruit.
Accountability: – This is never relegated in the institutions of good governance because it is a pivotal and indispensable tool in eliminating bad governance. Basically, accountability walks in harmony with transparency and rule of law for its enforcement. Indeed, good governance ensures that institutions are accountable to those affected by their decisions and actions.
Based on these qualities of good governance, poverty loses its power of dominion in Africa. Also, these qualities create pathways in answering the question “HOW” people ask when they are told that good governance is an antidote of high rate of poverty in Africa.
How Good Governance is an Antidote of High Rate of Poverty in Africa.
Creates quality health care: – It helps to enhance the quality of health care given to clients by providing all the necessary and basic health facilities within the reach of health seekers. It ensures that Africans quit gallivanting to foreign countries to receive health attention hence leading to financial preservation and poverty is made null and void in Africa.
Ensures wealth creation: – Good governance fosters wealth creation and this is actualized through efficient management of natural resources. It creates a conducive atmosphere that harbors the growth of entrepreneurial activities which help citizens to be self-employed thereby boosting the economy and causing drastic decline in poverty rate.
Provides food security: – Good government policies favor commercial and mechanized food production. It does not ignore the role of agriculture because it recognizes it as the strength of a nation. When food security is engineered through good governance, malnutrition and hunger will vanish like meteors into the atmosphere and citizens who feed on nutritional and balanced diet are not easily predisposed to diseases, thus they are much healthier and free from poverty.
Improves infrastructural development: – It paralyses infrastructural decay by installing authentic social amenities that aid in the alleviation of poverty even in the remotest areas. These amenities improve the value of people’s lives and ensure that both rural and urban areas enjoy the full benefits of infrastructural developments.
Provides employment opportunities:- It empowers citizens to establish and run their own personal business enterprise that make them employers of labor by increasing their chances of job creation which is not only based on government owned jobs. Good governance provides plethora and satisfying jobs for citizens hence nullifying the effect of poverty.
Guarantees adequate national security: – Good governance provides Africans with security of lives and properties by initiating strategies that prevent the eruption of violence and mayhem and also provides ways of resolving problems. When insecurity challenges are dethroned, poverty is made powerless.
Provides quality education: – Good governance provides good, affordable and valuable education to all. It ensures that people are impacted with the requisite skills and knowledge and also ensures that lives are imbued with sophistication and wisdom which are enough to develop concepts that can eject poverty from African society.
Builds foreign investments: – It is patent that when a government is favorable, it attracts foreign investors who even help to add value to the lives of people. For instance, the communication network in Nigeria has not just benefited the investors, but it has made life easier and led to poverty alleviation to the minimal level.
Promotes moral standard: – Good governance assists in controlling the level of social vices in Africa which often predispose citizens to conditions that increase their susceptibility to poverty. Therefore, it curtails immorality rate and saves the society from producing experts in promiscuity, kidnap, armed robbery, drug smuggling, ritual acts, dubious acts to mention just a few hence, ensuring sanity and eradicating poverty that may be caused when they are caught in these ill acts.
Fortifies unity: – Without dispute, any continent where good governance reigns and becomes a household name only works for a fast pace of development and the upliftment of tranquility and this helps in strengthening the bond existing among citizens in the nation. Through this way, poverty is detached from the society because everybody works for the common good of the other.
Of a truth, good governance is the sole hope of Africa in effectively combating poverty because it brings chain transformation. It is achievable based on teamwork because when every African citizen contributes his/her own quota and take full responsibility of his/her role, then rapid socio-economic development will certainly assume rulership and poverty will be erased from Africa. With good governance, the twin evil of bribery and corruption that swallow landmark achievements will automatically be burnt beyond recognition and disappear from the face of Africa. I conclude with this that good governance is a good concept of obliterating poverty and the faster we Africans embrace this concept, the better we will be counted among other developed continents.