The new perspective of legitimate governance
The current debate on governance reflects a legitimate concern, especially on the part of States and their partners, to establish and promote rules of public management that are both effective and concerned about the appropriate use of the resources committed, measured by indicators of good practice.
This debate, which is very timely today in Africa, reflects a legitimate concern to manage increasingly scarce national and international resources « in a prudent manner ». But the debate must be put back to square one; the definition of measurement and monitoring instruments cannot replace the prior identification of the changes desired by the protagonists.
Once the challenges of changing attitudes and practices are identified and validated with stakeholders, it is possible to define strategies and modalities to address them. It then becomes crucial to identify indicators or markers of progress towards the desired changes, and thus to evaluate the relevance and effectiveness of the strategies deployed to this end.
A new governance in Africa will therefore emerge from a process of collective construction of a system of values, structures and ways of doing things, which will find its legitimacy in its ability to reconcile the unity necessary for any human community with the diversity of an increasingly complex world. The question of legitimacy is therefore central to the debate on the definition of principles and new modalities for the management of public space ; hence the concept of legitimate governance.
The approach to legitimate governance is also based on a triple necessity:
First, the need to link initiatives, experiences and proposals made at different levels of governance (from local to global) and to make the link between African debates and other international forums for debate,
second, to link action to reflection, i.e. to anchor the proposals in the concrete experience of the actors,
and finally the one of leaving and satisfying the needs and aspirations (material and immaterial) of the populations.
Finally, the « ways of doing » of legitimate governance must be:
consensual : the search for consensus (the consent of the parties) is the first rule for decision-making ;
inclusive : do not leave any groups or individuals by the roadside ;
rooted in the history and collective memory of the actors and their societies.
The actors of legitimate governance must be in solidarity, put themselves in the position of fully assuming their responsibilities and finally have control, thus not undergoing the changes that the evolution of their societies and the world requires.