How can donors best analyse governance problems and corruption in partner countries? This paper by the Clingendael Institute describes the Strategic Governance And Corruption Analysis (SGACA) which has been developed for the Netherlands government to facilitate a more strategic approach to governance and corruption analysis. The SGACA captures the informal, societal and sometimes intangible underlying reasons for the governance situation, which can often differ from the formal configuration of the state. Such an analysis can improve the design of donor interventions.
Governance and corruption have become major concerns in development programmes. Corruption includes the prevalence of patronage – a lack of clear definition between public and private spheres and the divergence between formal and informal rules. Improvements in governance and corruption are essential to achieving peace, security and stability and sustainable poverty reduction.
Direct interventions by donors to strengthen formal institutions have often had limited impact. Furthermore, the political will to promote growth and poverty reduction, fight corruption and protect human rights is often lacking in the partner countries. The SGACA helps to explain why this is so and, instead of focusing on the transfer of institutional models, it highlights the impact of local context on the incentives of political actors and the importance of social and political processes in achieving better governance.
The SGACA is a practical guide to help structure and analyse existing information that focuses on formal and informal aspects of governance in a particular country context. The SGACA has four main components:
- The Track Record: which is part of the Embassy’s standard monitoring work. Its findings, together with other available information, serves as a basis for the Power and Change analysis.
- The Power and Change analysis: which compiles the findings into a short, compelling report. It focuses on non-formal practices and relationships and links between formal and informal institutions. It seeks to explain the basis for state-society relationships and high levels of corruption, low legitimacy of state institutions, weak commitment to human rights and poverty reduction. Three sets of factors are addressed: the major characteristics of a political system, which change slowly; state-society interaction, which change in the medium term and the interaction of actors in the current context, which change quickly.
- A Workshop: which includes one day that might be open to selected external stakeholders and one day which is non-public and focuses on designing an appropriate donor strategy.
- A Strategic Choices document: which summarises the findings and presents policy choices to the donor.
SGACA can improve the design of donor interventions through a better understanding of what happens behind the façade of the state and what really drives political behaviour. It can:
- Identify local and international pressures for change that would benefit poor people.
- Make use of existing available material – including from other sources and donors.
- Enable Embassies to discuss this information during a consultation workshop and to define implications for donor strategies and engagement, preferably in co-operation with partners
- Feed its insights into the next Multi Annual Strategic Plan.