African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403

Full Length Research Paper

Route for sustainable development in Ethiopia: Opportunities and braves of good governance

Idris Mohammed*
  • Idris Mohammed*
  • Management Department, College of Business and Economics, Debre Berhan University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Mohammed Ahmed
  • Mohammed Ahmed
  • Management Department, College of Business and Economics, Debre Berhan University, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 11 May 2015
  •  Accepted: 06 June 2015
  •  Published: 30 June 2017


The landmark of good governance in order to bring sustainable development in Ethiopia was the ratification of 1995 Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) constitution. Within this constitution, the individual and group rights of people were protected, indicators of good governance was identified and mentioned and recognitions for different institutions were given. Even though the constitution was drafted with different rights, the implementation was not as much as it was expected. In order to bring sustainable development, good governance is so important. To conduct the study only secondary data were used. Different relevant data’s on the issues were systematically collected from books, magazines, newspapers, internet, articles, journals, and different report. However those data were critically reviewed and analyzed. Good governance is the precondition for sustainable development. In this paper, the researcher tried to identify the indicator of good governance such as legitimacy of the government, community participation, local empowerment, accountability, transparency, democratic institutions and freedom of media. Different challenges of good governance were identified. These are excessive poverty, population growth and high unemployment combined with a high incidence of HIV/AIDS. Fallow opportunities such as improper utilization of natural resources, lack of proper utilizations of different democratic institutions were also identified. Different measures were taken to overcome those challenges. The strategies such as government and institutions should work together, devise ways and means of sharing of national wealth, avoid failed state, insure discipline and organization, encourage culture of completion and innovation and fight corruption. These strategies are adopted by government, institutions, non state actors and individual members.

Key words: Good governance, sustainable development, linkage.


A country does not have to be rich in natural resources to be prosperous. Conversely, a wealth of natural resources does not guarantee prosperity and a high quality of life. The 1991 Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia prescribe the fundamental rights of citizens. For development to last there is need for good governance. It is very important to ensure that good governance forms the basis of development, otherwise, there will be no sustainable development or “sustainable human development” (UNDP, 1997). The United  Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) definition of good governance is set out in a 1997 UNDP policy document entitled “Governance for Sustainable Human Development”. The document states that governance can be seen as the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. It is explained that governance has three dimensions: economic, political and administrative. Economic governance includes the decision-making processes that affect a country’s economic activities and its relationships with other economies. Political governance is the process of decision making to formulate policy. Administrative governance is the system of policy implementation. Encompassing all three, good governance defines the processes and structures that guide political and socio-economic relationships (UNDP, 2003).
The indicators of good governance includes peace, transparency, respect for human rights, rule of laws and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development are essential for achieving sustainable development. Good governance is important prerequisites to achieving sustainable development. Good governance at national and international levels are essential for sustainable development including sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development, environmental protection and the eradication of poverty and hunger (General Assembly resolution 66/288).
The Commission on Africa puts it aptly- “There can be no development without peace, but there can be no peace without development. Therefore, investing in development is investing in peace. However, the worsening challenges of this sustainable development includes: population growth, corruption and poor access to health and educational services, have become a potential source of threat to peace and stability in the region (African Development Bank, 2005). Measures to address this challenge should include improving access to productive assets for youth, empowering them politically and economically, creating and expanding income- generating activities and involving them in community based decision-making, so as to provide them with the opportunity to become active agents for building peace, preventing conflict and promoting a culture of peace (UN, 2005; UN, 2006). In Ethiopia a major challenge is to develop mechanisms to promote responsibility, economically, productive resource management and to ensure equitable distribution of wealth to stakeholders.
Statement of the problem
Working conditions should be safe and healthy, and every worker should receive a fair wage to ensure a decent living for him/her and his/her family. Every person has the right to an adequate standard of living attained by having access to adequate food, housing, clothing and the continual improvement of conditions. To meet food needs states need to improve methods of production, conservation and distribution by using all available technical and scientific information. States should also use available information in order to make more efficient use of natural resources. Every person has the right to the highest attainable level of physical and mental health. Everyone should have access to education, and enjoy the benefits of scientific progress (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966, article 1, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13). This treaty asserts the right of every person to self-determination in order to develop in all economic, social, political and cultural fields. Articles 6 and 7 define the right to employment in order to achieve economic stability. So having this convention in mind, Good governance is so important for sustainable development. Sustainable development is holistic that include economical, political, social and cultural development.
Different governments consider themselves as good governance. But different problems such as weak public participation in decision making, without observing the rule of laws, commitment to fight corruption, lack of properly respecting sovereignty of people and abuse of power are occurred. That means government officials didn’t properly adhere to perform indicators of good governance. These indicators are legitimacy of government, accountability of holders of political office, transparency, competent government, and respect for human rights, public participation and democratic institutions. Identifying and knowing the challenges of good governance means half of the challenges have been solved. Different opportunities of good governance are not been properly exploited. Another problem is the controversial issue on either good governance is the precondition of development or not. There are different views on the relationship between good governance and sustainable development. Some people argue that good governance must pursue first then bring sustainable development. In contrary to that others argue sustainable development comes first then good governance comes next. This is debating issues for different countries of the world.
Having the above problems taken in to account, the study has developed the following research questions:
i) What are the indicators of good governance to bring sustainable development in Ethiopia?
ii) Is there a link between good governance and sustainable development?
iii) What are the prospects of good governance for sustainable development in Ethiopia?
iv) What are the challenges that visage to good governance to bring sustainable development in Ethiopia?
v) What are the possible solutions to overcome those challenges and to exploit those opportunities to bring sustainable development in Ethiopia?



The objectives of the study were directed the researcher toward  the selections of sources of data, methods and techniques of data collections and how to analyze the collected data. The theoretical prospective of indicators, opportunities, challenges and links of good governance with sustainable development were critically reviewed from existing published and unpublished documents. To conduct the study only secondary data were used. Different relevant data’s on the issues were systematically collected from books, magazines, newspapers, internet, articles, journals, and different report. However those data were critically reviewed and analyzed. Different policies and constitutions were also part of our sources of information for this study. The collected data were analyzed qualitatively with the purpose of identifying major indicators, related challenges, future prospects and links of good governance with sustainable development and presenting evidence based judgments on key issues. It is because this method of analysis is better when the nature of the research problem requires more exploration (Yin, 2009). Narratives forms of data presentation were used. In the process of addressing the research question, the methodology what we used have a profound influence or determine the outcome of the studies. Having this in mind, the researcher primarily prepared the review protocol. It helps to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts, personal bias, and publication biases. The prepared protocol was reviewed by colleagues. Based on the comments forwarded, some modification were made on the search terms as well as the on the data search and extraction strategy. Then after, piloting the research protocol has been made. The very reason behind was to identify mistakes in the data collection and aggregation procedures. In doing so the inclusion criteria has been used. Accordingly, those studies which meet the criteria were selected. In the process of searching the literature, balancing the specificity and specific required compromising the number of literature examined and their specific relation to the subject under consideration. Hence, in due course, various search words were used.


Governance is the use of power in the management of a country's economic and social resources for development (World Bank, 1992:1). It can also be defined (UNDP, 1997:9) as “the exercise of political, economic and administrative authority to manage a nation's affairs”. Governance is not only the province governments (e.g. local, state and federal) but is also the responsibility of: citizens, corporations’ large businesses, small businesses, civil servants, institutions, non-government organizations (NGOs), and community groups. Government describes as the political, economic and administrative processes carried out by the state. Governance includes the government but also the private sector and the civil society sector. 1997 United Nations Development Report defines governance: the exercise of political, economic and administrative authority to manage a nation’s affairs. As the complex mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights and obligations, and mediate their differences.
Khan (1998) refers to Bilney (1994:17) who sees good governance as "the effective management of a country's social and economic resources in a manner that is open, transparent, accountable and equitable". The UNDP (1997:9) equates good governance with democratic forms of governance. These forms rely on  public  participation, accountability and transparency (Holtz, 2000:10). For our part, we distinguish between political good governance and corporate good governance. Political good governance is the effective, ethical and efficient management of public affairs and resources by democratically elected leaders and their appointees. Good governance is full respect of human rights, the rule of law, effective participation, multi-actor partnerships, political pluralism, transparent and accountable processes and institutions, an efficient and effective public sector, legitimacy, access to knowledge, information and education, political empowerment of people, equity, sustainability, and attitudes and values that foster responsibility, solidarity and tolerance (UNDP, 2004).
From these definitions we understood that democratically elected leaders and their appointees sometimes mismanage a country's affairs and resources. However, in that case, and assuming that the elections are free and fair, the citizens have themselves to blame for their wrong choice. Also, self-imposed leaders and their appointees sometimes effectively and efficiently manage a country's affairs and resources. When this happens, citizens are in a real dilemma. The choice between, on the one hand, mismanagement by democratically elected leaders and their appointees and, on the other hand, good management by self-imposed leaders and their appointees, is very hard to make. Corporate good governance is the effective, ethical and efficient management of an organization’s affairs and resources by persons chosen in accordance with the existing laws/rules. It is applicable to the management of organizations especially in the non-state sectors. So, good governance means that processes and institutions produce results that meet the needs of society while making the best use of resources at their disposal. The concept of efficiency in the context of good governance also covers the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment. So good governance performs their duties accordance with authority given to them, they must be competent with required skills and in transparent and efficient manners. To be good governance there must be community participations in political, social and economical aspects.
Conceptualize sustainable development
Todaro and Smith (2003:792) define development as “The process of improving the quality of all human lives”. They refer to three important aspects of development (1) raising people’s living levels – their incomes and consumption levels of food, medical services, education etc., through relevant economic growth processes; (2) creating conditions conducive to the growth of people’s self-esteem through the establishment of social, and economic systems and institutions that promote human dignity and respect; and (3) increasing people’s freedom by enlarging the range of their choice  variables,  as  by  increasing varieties of consumer goods and services”. According to UNDP (1997:1) human development means “expanding the choices for all people in society”. Development is not one and specific concept. Development is whole about improving living standards of people, increasing their freedom in all aspects, sustained in food security and improvements in all aspects of the people. Todaro and Smith (2003:811) explain sustainable development as a “Pattern of development that permits future generations to live at least as well as the current generation”. This definition is similar to that of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED, 1987; Elliot, 1994:5). Sustainable development is development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Elliot (1994:13) points out that the concept encompasses the interdependent goals of (various aspects of) development and environmental conservation. Thus, for sustainable development to exist there must be good governance; meanwhile, having a resource is not a guarantee to bringing sustainable development. The resources (human, materials, natural resources and time) must be managed properly in effective, efficient and transparent manner. When the government tries to bring sustainable development, the opportunity of future generation must not be affected.
Good governance and sustainable development linkage
What should a country/government pursue first - democracy or development? If a country chooses to pursue democracy first, then its development will be slow given the attendant need for consultations and compromises. By contrast, if the choice is first for development, then aspects that go with democracy such as consultations, compromises, media freedom and (certain) human rights - will be (temporarily) reduced or even suspended. Sen (1999:147-159) said “a real conflict between political liberty and democratic rights (which are part of good governance), on the one hand, and the fulfillment of basic economic needs (which are part of sustainable development), on the other”. According to him, sustainable development comes first. Others focused on good governance, which they consider as forming the basis of and accompanying sustainable development (OECD, 2002).
Which comes first: Good governance or sustainable development?
Sen (1999:147-159) uses, economic needs (which we can take to represent sustainable development) and political freedoms and civil rights (which represent good governance). He considers that; first, freedoms and rights hamper economic growth and development.  Second,  if poor people are given the choice between having political freedoms and fulfilling economic needs, they will exactly choose the latter. Third, political freedom, liberties and democracy is a specifically ‘Western’ priority, which goes, in particular, against “Asian values”, which are supposed to be keener on order and discipline than on liberty and freedom – where “individuals must put the state’s rights before their own”. Sen (1999) focused on the extensive connections between political freedoms and the understanding and fulfillment of economic needs. He admits that it is certainly true that some relatively authoritarian states (such as South Korea, Lee’s own Singapore and post reform China) have had faster rates of economic growth than many less authoritarian ones (including India, Costa Rica and Jamaica). According to him, we cannot take the high economic growth of China or South Korea in Asia as a definitive proof that authoritarianism does better in promoting economic growth.
However, like UNDP (1997:11), it argues that (good) governance promotes sustainable development - including the aspects of poverty reduction, job creation and sustainable livelihoods, environments protection and regeneration; and the advancement of women. Bad governance leads to the opposite of the foregoing such as: increase in poverty and unemployment or underemployment. According to the European Union, good governance is a development sine qua non (The ACP Courier, 1999-2000: 9). For its part, bad governance is seen as likely to lead to the suppression of liberty, the stifling of competition and underdevelopment. If a choice must be made as to which to begin with, then good governance must come first. However, realistically, at the personal and governmental levels, the answer is likely to differ from one individual/ government to another since the circumstances and so the choices of all individuals and all governments can never be the same. To Sen, in judging economic development, it is not adequate to look only at the growth of GNP. There is needed to look also at the impact of democracy and political freedoms on the lives and capabilities of the citizens. He argues that political and civil rights give people the opportunity to draw the attention of government forcefully to general needs, and to demand appropriate action from the government. He also stated as if poor people are given the choice between having political freedoms and fulfilling economic needs, they will invariably choose the latter - which implies that citizens of the third world countries are indifferent to political and democratic rights. He argues that the only way of verifying it would be to put the matter to democratic testing in free and fair elections with freedom of opposition and expression “precisely the things that the supporters of authoritarianism do not allow to happen”. He also emphasized political freedom, liberties and democracy as a specifically ‘Western’ priority, which goes, in particular, against “Asian values” but also, by implication, the values of other non Western societies especially those in the third world (Sen,1999: 227-248). So the justification of authoritarian political arrangements in Asia - based on Asian values – has typically come not from independent historians but from authorities themselves such as governmental officers or their spokespersons or those close to people in power. Second, not all Asian culture is opposed or indifferent to basic political rights. At any rate, Sen adds, Asian culture is diverse. He argues that the “valuing of freedom is not confined to one culture only, and the Western traditions are not the only ones that prepare us for a freedom-based approach to social understanding” Sen (1999:157).
Developing and strengthening a democratic system is an essential component of the process of development. So without good government, it is difficult to think about development. Development is holistic process which includes economical (GDP), cultural, political and social development. So if one country achieved only GDP, it is impossible to say that country is developed. The development can be sustained if and only if economical, political, social and cultural developments were achieved. As general, good governance is the precondition for development of most countries of the world.
Indicators of good governance
There are many indicators of good governance. But those indicators may differ from country to country based on economic development and experience of democracy. Those indicators are:
Legitimacy of government
Political legitimacy is a major determinant of both the structure and operation of states (Beetham, 1991). In Beetham’s treatise on legitimacy, justification is based upon a ‘common framework of belief’ between the dominant and the subordinate in any power relationship (Beetham, 1991: 69). Legitimate government is a government generally acknowledged as being in control of a nation and deserving formal recognition which is symbolized by the exchange of diplomats between that government and the governments of other countries ( In Ethiopian context, legitimacy of government implies degree of democratization in country. Even if political and administration democratization is written in FDRE constitution, it is not respected as it is expected. It is only one political party that is ruling the country and the ruling party can do everything based on the party consensus rather than society’s interest. Ethiopian government cannot positively respect bill of rights (freedom of associations, freedom of speech, peaceful demonstration and etc (Assale, 2010).
Accountability of political
The quality of public policies designed by political  leaders is one measure for the quality of good governance, and policy choices depend in part on the degree to which leaders are held to account. This dimension is related to the degree of political competition in choosing both political leaders and civil servants, the credibility of political parties, the orderly transfer of power, transparency in party financing, disclosure of parliamentary votes and asset declaration, the existence and enforcement of conflict-of-interest rules, and the extent to which political power rests in the hands of socio-politically powerful elites operating behind the scenes (Soboka, 2003). In general, it is related to political opens and fair access to decision making power. Accountability is a key requirement of good governance. Not only governmental institutions but also the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. Who is accountable to who varies depending on whether decisions or actions taken are internal or external to an organization or institution.
Transparency means that decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a manner that follows rules and regulations (Transparency International, 2010). It also means that enough information is provided and that it is provided in easily understandable forms and media (UNDP, 2004). Transparency means openness, free and easy access to information, contestability (Soboka, 2003). It also means that information is freely available and directly accessible to those who will be beneficiary of or/and affected by such decisions and their enforcement.
Participation refers to the involvement of citizens in the development process. The principle of participation derives from an acceptance that people are at the heart of development. They are not only the ultimate beneficiaries of development. Participation by both men and women is a key cornerstone of good governance. Participation could be either direct or through legitimate intermediate institutions or representatives. It is important to point out that representative democracy does not necessarily mean that the concerns of the most vulnerable in society would be taken into consideration in decision making (Arena, 2012).
Participation needs to be informed and organized. This means freedom of association and expression on the one hand and an organized civil society on the other hand. Community participation in Ethiopia politics also improved from time to time with different modifications. The elections of 2005 were judged by many as being the most openly contested in the country’s political history. The elections generated unprecedented interest and turnout was by far higher than in previous elections.  The  ruling party won the elections but with a significantly reduced majority in parliament while NEBE’s conduct of the elections is judged to have significantly improved; its impartiality was nevertheless questioned by opposition parties. The opposition in Ethiopia has often complained of harassment and intimidation and what they perceive as the absence of a level playing field in the electoral process. The Government has since the elections, undertaken measures to further enhance the democratization process.
Freedom of the media
The Ethiopian constitution guarantees freedom of the media. It creates democratic society that helps free exchange of ideas and information. A free and open press and the freedom of speech and expression are guarantees to the assurance of political rights and civil liberties in making informed decisions, facilitating the exchange of political discourse, creating a market place of ideas and as a check on government power insuring that public officials and institutions remain accountable to the voters. The media’s ability to report on business and the economy is also crucial for preserving public trust in the markets and for attracting foreign and domestic investment. Therefore, the rights of press to freely publish, editorialize, critique, and inform citizens (Soboka, 2003).
Consistent with the constitution, Ethiopia has opened space for the development of private print and electronic media. There has been an increase in the number of private newspapers in Ethiopia since the media was liberalized. Press freedom has proven to be a highly contentious issue. A new press bill that was drafted a couple of years came under strong criticism inside and outside the country because it was perceived as too restrictive on the private media. The law has been amended based on international best practices, and the legislation was passed by Parliament. Some analysts still maintain that the new Law is restrictive. One concern is over the heavy penalties that will be imposed on owners of newspapers breaking the law. The importance of a free press in enhancing transparency and providing the public with the means of holding the executive accountable cannot be overemphasized. Although Ethiopia is committed to press freedom as enshrined in its constitution, the challenge is to ensure that the press operates freely.
Local empowerment
For a country which has different nations, nationalities, cultures, languages like Ethiopia decentralization is so important. The power and authorities of making a decision is transferred to the local levels such as woredas and kebeles. Woreda is the key unit in Ethiopian decentralization process. The woreda council is the  main representative body at the local level, and its decisions directly affect the welfare of citizens and local communities. However, the dual accountability to which the woreda council is subjected has been questioned by some for relegating community accountability to a secondary level, thereby undermining communities’ needs and interests. It has been argued that such dual accountability also limits the independence of the local council, implying that the autonomy of the woreda is not fully respected. Regional Governments and woredas have been assigned spending responsibilities for the provision of basic services. However, their revenue mobilization capacity is not sufficient to enable them discharge their mandates effectively (CEDAW, 1995).
Respect for human rights and rule of law
The interconnection between good governance, human rights and sustainable development has been made directly or indirectly by the international community in a number of declarations and other global conference documents (World Bank Group, 2005). For example, the Declaration on the Right to Development proclaims that every human person and all people “are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development” (Article 1). In the Millennium Declaration, world leaders affirmed their commitment to promote democracy and respect internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development. According to the United Nations strategy document on the millennium development goals (MDGs), entitled “The United Nations and the MDGs: a Core Strategy', "the MDGs have to be situated within the broader norms and standards of the Millennium Declaration," including those on “human rights, democracy and good governance” (UNDP, 2004).
Independence of the Judiciary
Article 78 of the Ethiopian Constitution provides for an independent Judiciary. To ensure judicial autonomy, the President and Vice-President of the Supreme Court are appointed by Parliament upon nomination by the Prime Minister. The executive has no powers to remove them from office. There is a disciplinary code of conduct and rules by which the judges are governed. Constitutionally, judges cannot be removed from their duties until retirement except for violation of disciplinary rules or on grounds of gross incompetence or inefficiency or if found unfit to operate due to ill health. Nevertheless, the independence of the judiciary in Ethiopia has been questioned by some observers. There is a perception that the autonomy of the judiciary in Ethiopia is weak. Yet in recent years, the judiciary has ruled against the government on major cases,  such  as  those  involving breach of the constitutional rights of the private press and the Ethiopian Human Rights Council.
Impediments of good governance for sustainable development
There are different challenges of good governance which hinders sustainable development. These are:
Ever since the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, we have known that sustainable development is the way to meet increasing population challenge. Sustainability is all about living within our means, leaving plenty for our grandchildren and ensuring everyone has a reasonable chance at a decent living (Keating, 1992). The lack of political will on the part of governments, social and environmental irresponsibility on the part of corporations, and inertia to adopt a sustainable life style on the part of citizens, have collectively contributed to this failure. There are many problems which are involved in creating and maintaining good governance and sustainable development in Ethiopia and which those in charge of its management confront and should try and resolve. According to Ethiopian central statistics authority population census, the Ethiopian population is increasing at increasing rate. But the problem is how to provide food, clean water, shelter and jobs for this population, in ways that enhances and nurtures the Earth’s natural resources and ecosystems that support our survival, is the challenge of our times.
Excessive poverty
Poverty is likely to force otherwise decent citizens to tolerate bad governance, particularly where such is accompanied by real or apparent prosperity/development – however temporary (Subbaro, 1997). Also, very poor citizens are not good allies of sustainable development. The following statement by Anane (1996:8) ‘’Poverty is a major setback to environmental protection and sustainable development in third world. This is because majority of the people, particularly in rural areas, are poor. For them, where to get the next meal is much more important than any problem of desertification or wildlife depletion. Poverty is caused by, or leads to, other problems/evils like hunger and disease. Indeed, one of the worst aspects of poverty is the apparent willingness to surrender one’s freedom.
Poverty in Ethiopia is widespread and remains a major challenge of sustainable development and stability (Lutheran World Federation of Ethiopia, 2006; Easterly, 2002). It is estimated that close to half of the population in urban and rural areas of the  country  live  in   absolute poverty due to lack of economic opportunities, governance crisis, inadequate basic household income, and poor means of survival (Mamo, 2008; Serneels, 2004). A study conducted in 2003 and 2004 by the Ethiopian Economic Association and the report by the Lutheran World Federation of Ethiopia (2006) shows that nearly half of the 71.3 million Ethiopians live below the absolute poverty line, lacking an average income of one American dollar per day as a means of acquiring basic necessities of life. Currently, 50% of the rural and urban population of the country in the age group between 15 and 30 years is unemployed due to lack of opportunities (Serneels, 2004).
In Ethiopia, there can be no credible sustained national development policy unless otherwise the needy population is fed first and foremost. The structure of the Ethiopian economy indicates that agriculture is critical to the Ethiopian economy. Agricultural sector directly supports about 85% of the population in terms of employment and livelihood. Although the contribution of agriculture to GDP has decreased in recent years, it remains the largest sector, estimated at about 40% in 2006, and generating about 88% of export earnings. However, the agricultural sector is characterized by small scale farming, highly fragmented landholdings, traditional farming technologies, heavy reliance on rainfall, low input and low productivity.
Although the prevalence of corruption in Ethiopia has been historically low, there is a perception that the problem is growing. The Economic Intelligence Unit 2007 Country Report for Ethiopia states that forces of economic liberalization and commercialization appear to have increased opportunities for corruption. Areas prone to rent seeking behavior and corrupt practices include the allocation and leasing of urban land and transactions where rules and procedures are not clearly defined, or regulatory oversight over decisions is weak. The Government has recognized from the outset the need for vigilance, and for proactive actions to prevent corruption and promote high ethical standards in public administration. Corruption was said to have resulted in undermining the legitimacy of the governments and weakening their structures, reducing productivity, hindering development, worsening poverty, marginalizing the poor, creating social unrest and finally speeding up their downfall. Bribery was considered as a 'motivational' factor, not an offence. Nepotism was also mostly regarded as a positive approach to help friends and relatives (OECD, 2011).
The absence of corruption is a sign of good governance. In a corrupted city, economic development and reform is unthinkable, because it hinders the ability of the city to attract investment, discourages the growth of democratic institutions, and let’s power to concentrates in the hands of the few. Thus, the best way to fight corruption is to be open and transparent. However, this does not mean that in certain cases the secrecy and confidentiality of the society are not retained. Strong laws against corruption and the presence of law enforcement agencies that work against corruption demonstrate a government’s commitment to this principle (Soboka, 2003). In fighting corruption, good governance efforts rely on principles such as accountability, transparency and participation to shape anti-corruption measures. Initiatives may include establishing institutions such as anti-corruption commissions, creating mechanisms of information sharing, and monitoring governments’ use of public funds and implementation of policies (UNDP, 2004).
In 2001, the Federal Ethics and Anticorruption Commission (FEAC) were established with the aim of curbing corrupt practices. Despite its limited organizational capacity, the Commission has successfully prosecuted high profile cases. In 2004 a number of senior government officials and senior management staff of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia were prosecuted for abuse of office for personal gain. 16 Corruption court cases, however, have tended to be slow, and some have questioned the independence of the FEAC. Moreover, there is a perception that some of the high profile corruption cases that are prosecuted are politically motivated. The Commission has also received good co-operation from the public despite the absence of whistle blower protection legislation. The whistle blower law is expected to be presented to Parliament soon. Existing Proclamations also require the Prime Minister, Ministers and other senior Government officials to declare their assets and liabilities and any conflict of interest that may arise in the policy making process. Under the laws, citizens have the right to seek information on the assets and liabilities of top Government officials and to seek redress through the court system for any wrong doing by the Government. The extent to which these rights are exercised in practice is, however, not clear. There is need for systematic monitoring of corruption trends in Ethiopia and the involvement of non-state actors in this process will be vital.
Dependency on foreign aid
The post-2000 period, however, has seen a resumption of large disbursements of grants and loans from the United States, individual European nations, Japan, china, the World Bank, and the African development bank. These funds totaled US$1.6 billion in 2001. In November 2007 the magazine The Economist reported that there is tangible evidence that the foreign aid given to Ethiopia reaches the people it is meant to, based on a visit to the South of the country. Roads, schools and water systems are being built and "there are few complaints about corruption, a fact that continues to make Ethiopia popular with foreign donors". On February 2, 2006 BBC reporter Peter Greste report from Mekele, northern Ethiopia:  "Like a patient addicted to pain killers, Ethiopia seems hooked on aid”. He added: "For most of the past three decades, it has survived on millions of tons of donated food and millions of dollars in cash. It has received more emergency support than any other African nation in that time."
United States Agency International Development (USAID) has supported the Government of Ethiopia’s focus on building the institutions of good governance to promote transparency and public accountability. Simultaneously, USAID works with Ethiopian government and civil society partners to promote a culture of pluralism including that of the respect for the rule of law and tolerance of differing perspectives. Confidence in long-term local peace and security is absolutely essential to the willingness of all, whether government institutions, international donors, private companies or individuals, to make the investments required for transformative development. USAID works to support the explicit commitment of the Government of Ethiopia to improve and make governance more accountable, to ensure that policies and development projects are planned to minimize the disruption to affected populations, and to reduce the chances that violence and insecurities will hamper economic growth. At the state level, USAID efforts increase focus on knowledge and skills essential to improve conflict management and sustainable development, such as land use, planning and natural resource management, training to a broad range of state and non-governmental organizations. But if some conditions may be changed USA government may stop the aid.
Nature of politics
In Ethiopia, in conjunction with the parliamentary elections that has now become a bone of contention between the ruling and the opposition parties, and while we explore the vicissitudes in the Ethiopian political landscape, we have come to testify that the art of government is no longer a monopoly of the EPRDF (Arena, 2012). There is no doubt that the present political climate in Ethiopia is promising, although we cannot for sure affirm that Ethiopia is on the threshold of a full-fledged democratic system. If at all, the popular elections manifest a fledgling and not a robust democratic system, and with respect to the latter we are toddlers at best and infants at worst. However, we must not fail to recognize the positive contributions of the current elections irrespective of the impetus (domestic and international) behind it. We should also not fail to admire the civility of the Ethiopian people demonstrated throughout the pre-election debates, the election and post-election period. The gathering of two million Ethiopians at Meskel Square and returning home without any incident, let alone a violent clash, is quite astounding and historic. On the other hand, we as Ethiopian intellectuals must admit that in some  respects  we  are lagging behind the momentous massive Ethiopian undertaking.
The elections are nascent experiments for the Ethiopian people, but the civility of the people should not be alarming unless deep down. Here, we underestimate the potential of the people and fail to recognize the long history of civilization of Ethiopia. In fact, any people, including Ethiopians, with rich history and culture, can perform miracles especially if they enjoy a political leadership with legitimate power that genuinely governs on behalf of the people and the nation. It will in fact be obliged to be more accountable, responsible and transparent. It will also be compelled to rethink its former disastrous policies and yield for reform and change, including nullifying domestic laws and abrogating international treaties. It will have an opportunity to see the light of the day and appreciate what it means to govern a proud nation with legitimate power, thanks to the opposition and the Ethiopian people. Again, if all goes well, the future Ethiopian government should immediately create ways and means for the Ethiopian Diaspora to repatriate and the latter should get ready to seize the moment and reconnect itself with its people back home.
Internal weakness
Payroll controls systems in Ethiopia are adequate, although internal controls on non-salary expenditures show some weaknesses. For example, payment commitments for goods and services do not always consider cash flow availability. Internal audit systems exist in all budgetary institutions in Ethiopia at both federal and sub-national levels. However, the internal audit capacity is weak. This is partly due to lack of professionalization of the internal audit function. There are initiatives underway to strengthen and modernize the internal audit function to conform to international best practices.
Prospects of good governance for sustainable development
Different opportunities of good governance was not been properly exploited yet. These are: like underutilization of natural resources, lack of proper utilizations of different democratic institutions among others.
Democratic institutions
Ethiopia has been able to make spectacular achievements towards that good government. The most notable achievement made in this regard is the establishment of a number of democratic institutions and the activities they have made so far. Besides, it laid the foundations for the establishment of vital institution such as  Parliament,  the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, Office of Ombudsmen, Ethics and Anti-corruption, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia etc. The democratic institutions are playing a key role in advancing sustainable development. They have become effective check and balance to the State power. However, they cannot function separately. Their success depends on how well people recognize their rights and incase of violation, their awareness what to do and where to go to claim. But existence of these institutions is not the guarantee for government to be democratic. These institutions must be freely performing their task, they must protect society’s rights, and they must be used as agent between government and societies in order to perform their functions in a well manner. When led by human rights values, good governance reforms of democratic institutions create avenues for the public to participate in policymaking either through formal institutions or informal consultations. They also establish mechanisms for the inclusion of multiple social groups in decision-making processes, especially locally. Finally, they may encourage civil society and local communities to formulate and express their positions on issues of importance to them (UNDP, 2004).
Natural resources
Ethiopia has small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, and natural gas. It has extensive hydropower potential including the great Ethiopian renascence dam. Of the total land area, about 20% is under cultivation, although the amount of potentially arable land is larger. Only about 10 to 15% of the land area is presently covered by forest as a result of rapid deforestation during the last 30 years. Of the remainder, a large portion is used as pasturage. Some land is too rugged, dry, or infertile for agriculture or any other use. The Area of Ethiopia: Ethiopia has 31 endemic species of mammals. The African Wild Dog prehistorically had widespread distribution in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has a large number of species listed as critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable to global extinction. Even if Ethiopia is rich in natural resource, the country did not properly utilize yet. Due to absence of good governance the country didn’t get the expected outcome.
Possible solutions to overcome those challenges
To succeed in sustainable development at the quality, scale and speed needed to meet the challenge, we need strong working partnerships between governments, corporations and citizens. Notions of transparency, participation and accountability were embedded in Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration (1992) affirmed by 178 governments. These are:
Strategies that should be adopted by the government and institutions
Governments and institutions should work together to: devise ways and means of sharing national wealth (be transparently and equitably); avoid weak or failed states; ensure discipline and organization; encourage a culture of competition and innovate as much as possible so as to find solutions that are adapted to African problems and issues; and Fight corruption by making it very costly to indulge in corrupt practices (Keating, 1992).
Strategies that should be adopted by the governments
The government should:
i) identify the various elements that constitute patriotism and nationalism and promote them;
ii) strengthen national defense; work out, adopt and maintain, a wise foreign policy that includes honorable peace with neighboring countries;
iii) ensure that the stability resulting from law and order serves all peace loving citizens, practice discipline in financial and other aspects of management;
iv) ensure and sustain that elections are held at regular intervals
v) strengthen regulatory agencies so that competition among enterprises and organizations is fair; and the consumers are not ripped off;
vi) institute and/or strengthen free and compulsory education.
Strategies that should be adopted by non-state actors
The private organizations should assist governments by forwarding proposals on how the economy and government can be maintained and improved; keeping governments on their toes through both constructive criticisms and support; and increasing investments so as to reduce unemployment and poverty (Nkuuhe, 2005). The civil society organization should reduce dependency on foreign aid since such tends to make governments justifiably suspicious of their agendas and intentions, strengthen transparency and accountability in financial matters, strengthen internal democracy; and increase their capacity to monitor public policy management so as to check actual or potential abuse of power by governments (Keating, 1992).
Strategies that should be adopted by individuals themselves
For their part, individuals themselves should: be patriotic and selfless,  despite  problems  in  African  countries,  including some shortcomings on the part of the leaders, work very hard/avoid laziness – instead of hoping that “government will do everything for them”, adopt a culture of systematic saving for the future, learn to participate actively in the affairs of their countries through debating the issues of the day and voting when elections are due; refuse to be bought by prospective representatives to legislative bodies, challenge representatives to deliver or quit, avoid making unrealistic demands on the government (such as, for public servants, demanding remuneration similar to that payable in developed countries), be patient when dealing with their representatives and officials; and if elected leaders, stop making politics their source of livelihood but, instead have an exit strategy (Keating, 1992).


Before 1991 Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, some of the citizen of this country is considered as secondary. So before 1991 constitution, it is difficult to think about development. But post 1991 Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia some fundamental rights of citizens are protected, all community of this country considered as citizen, citizen have opportunity to live and do which help them to grow and etc. Development is holistic process which includes social, political (good governance), economic and cultural development. To bring sustainable development, good governance is so important. Most of governance considers them as good governance but within Ethiopia to say whether good governance is there or not, we can identify by applications good governance indicators. Such as: legitimacy of the governments, accountability, transparency, community participation, local empowerments, respect for democratic and human rights, freedom of media and etc. several challenges of good governance were identified. These are: population, excessive poverty, corruption, dependent on foreign aid, nature of politics and internal weakness. Unexploited opportunities were rich in natural resources and existence of democratic institutions. Good governance is the pre fulfillment in order to bring sustainable development.
The political community has as the fundamental principle of its existence the end toward which all must work together. This common good requires from everyone--authorities and citizens alike--an attitude of active cooperation toward the end proper to the political community. The common good embraces the sum of those conditions of social life by which people are able to achieve the perfection proper to them with greater fullness and facility. The common good consists in respect for the rights and duties of the human person. The state is to encourage, to assist, and when necessary to supplement the initiatives of its citizens. To advance a peaceful social order, the participation of people in decisions affecting the common good, especially through democratic processes is important. To achieve success it requires having a nation of people that make nation building the primary focus and the leaders that are devoted for the public common good in all level of development. To ensure long term gain it is very important that the democratic culture be developed and democratic institutions must be encouraged. Good governance is also responsive to the present and future needs of society. The primary objective of good governance is to assure equality, accountability, transparency, Participation, Responsiveness; Consensus oriented system, Equity and inclusiveness, justice and lasting peace to all citizens. Generally, the existence of a government and society free of corruption, an efficient civil service, public participation and favorable environment for rapid economic development are fundamental. The prevalence of the elements ensures the rule of law, transparency, accountability and efficient service delivery. Very important in the qualities of good governance must see him or herself as a servant, be always close to his or her followers, feel their pains, put himself or herself in the shoes of his followers, give solution to their problems in order to bring sustainable development.


Governance in Ethiopia would require coalition and cooperation among the various branches of government and definitely a functioning parliament and not a rubber stamp one. Future governments in Ethiopia would be more responsible, accountable, and transparent. Having democratic institutions is not a guarantee for good governance to bring sustainable development, but the democratic institutions such as anti-corruption commission, ombudsman, and different civil associations must perform their activities in the right manner. The government must give freedom for these institutions in order to bring desired results. Thinking about sustainable development without good governance is illogical; so the government must democratize different institutions, discharging responsibility in transparent manner, utilizing resources in equity manner, respect sovereignty of people and avoid illegal activities in order to bring sustainable development. Always depending on foreign aids itself is like making a mistake; that means, if government did not satisfy the interest of the donors, donating countries stop their aid. Because giving aid for a given country has different fulfillment as pre-conditions, the government must have to find other alternative sources of finances like encouraging saving attitudes of the society, encouraging domestic investors, borrowing from domestic national and commercial banks and etc. If human resources are properly utilized it can be an asset; but if we only keep increasing population without proper utilization, it can be burden on the future generation. Controlling the population is possible using different techniques.  The  government must have prepared a policy which can overcome the above challenges- policies which can reduce the populations, reduce poverty, combat corruptions, which encourage accountability, transparency and etc. Continuation is better than intervention, if the future coming change is under question (Edmund Burke).


The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.


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