Part One of this paper shows some data concerning the relationship between democracy, development and good governance in the world and in Africa. In this section we show that regardless of how we measure socio-economic development (GDP per capita, life expectancy, adult illiteracy, inequality), there is a strong relationship between democracy and development. Countries that are more democratic are also more developed and conversely countries that are more developed are more democratic. In this section we also show however that good governance is a more important determinant of development than democracy. This evidence is used to argue that while democracy may be beneficial in promoting development, good governance is actually crucial for development. Development is promoted not only by governments that are democratic and representative, but it is also and more importantly promoted by governments’ accountability and responsiveness.
Part Two investigates the relationship between democracy, development and good governance in Africa. The results of the data analysis presented in this section sustain the claim that higher levels of development however measured are associated with higher levels of democracy and good governance. The analysis shows however that in the African continent what is really needed to promote development in the continent is good governance. The relationship between good governance and development is Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2101133 2 remarkably stronger and more significant than the relationship between democracy and development. On the basis of this evidence we suggest that in order to promote development in Africa it is even more important than in the rest of the planet to promote good governance.
Building on this discussion, Part Three discusses what is the role of the parliament in promoting good governance. In doing so specific attention is paid not only to how the parliament can promote good governance by controlling the executive branch of government but also to how the parliament can promote good governance by controlling itself and the behavior of its members. In the fourth and conclusive part of this paper, institutional reformers are provided with some guidelines as to how to proceed and make the process of institutional reform as successful as possible.