Research Themes of the faculty

Governance and Development

According to World Bank (1995), governance and development are getting topical and political issues of many countries. This is largely due the widespread realization that inefficient state institutions do not necessarily ensure a high standard of economic development and democratization. Hence, the focus has shifted to governance and development, and more specifically; to basic principles, namely: transparency, accountability, participatory, rule of law, efficiency and effectiveness, equity and inclusiveness in development, consensus, and responsiveness.

It is important to note that governance in this sense refers to the collection of qualities and attitudes held by the citizenry that are often thought to promote and uphold its most basic principles or values stated above. The proclamation of the social development summit (1995) further explained that governance and development are processes dedicated to the achievement of the three great objectives of humankind in the present day world; namely, alleviation of poverty, creation of productive employment, and social integration. It is also argued that development to eradicate poverty is impossible without governance (Cheema & Maquire, 2001), and they have means (governance) and end (development) relation, too.

Very recently, the issue of governance has received stern attention from university researchers, policy makers and analysts as well as from the international development community. Nowadays, ‘governance’ not only occupies central stage in the development literature but is also considered as a vital element to be included in the development programs or strategies. It is to be recalled that the search for governance has been going on since classical times. In this regard, the philosophies of Socrates’ governed by consciences and integrity, Plato’s ideal state, Aristotle’s forms of regimes or governments, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, Macpherson, and Rawls in the western tradition are exemplary examples. In the eastern world, including Ethiopia, many commentators and writers directly and indirectly have given serious attention to the theory and practice of governance. In Ethiopia, problems related to governance were reiterated by different writers, poets, and musicians during Haile Silassie’s and Mengistu’s time. It seems important to recall the political novel of Haddis Alemayehu (Love unto the Grave) and the Political Novel of Be’alu Girma’s ‘Oromay’

The 1995 FDRE (article 13) constitution provides for certain fundamental and democratic rights to the citizens of Ethiopia. It also talks about the directive principles of all federal and state legislative, executive and judicial organs at all levels. In this context, governance would certainly mean that all the fundamental and democratic rights are endowed to the citizens. It is also to mean that the different policies of the state are not only in agreement with the directive principles but also are implemented effectively and efficiently to benefit the larger sections of society. According to Klushrestha (2000), governance needs to be examined from two important dimensions. These are:

  1. Policy formulation- which refers to deciding what is to be done, and
  2. Policy implementation-which refers to doing what is to be done

It seems plausible to argue that the agenda of governance has ancient history. For instance, in western civilization, its origins date back to classical Greece and the Greek political theory and philosophy. It seems also very important to remember many of the founders of western philosophy who were widely read in this regard. According to Socrates, “virtuous men of politics must seek the good.” The other classical political philosopher Aristotle in his Nichomachian Ethics reiterated as “men should develop the habit of acting rightly.”


Still other classical thinkers like Cicero remarked, “Men must be true to their office.” John Locke the noted political philosopher highlighted as, “Men should obey the law of nature”. Not only these but also others like Montesquieu stated, “Men should have a sense of moral balance in governance and meeting societal needs”. Particularly, Plato is credited with developing the concept of ‘Philosopher King’ as the ideal ruler. The forerunner of comparative study of government, Aristotle, was perhaps the first political philosopher to deal with the term ‘governance’, when he classified political organizations (Sinclair, 1962).


Stressing its normative quality as a framework for political and administrative systems worldwide, Hyden (1992) defines governance as conscious management of regime structures with the express aim of increasing their legitimacy before the public. According to him, the study of governance involves identification of conditions that facilitate sound management and effective problem solving strategy which can be explained in the form of three main empirical dimensions; namely,


  1. Citizens’ influence and supervision characterized by: degree of political participation, means of preference aggregation, and methods of public accountability;
  2. Responsive and responsible leadership characterized by: degree of respect for the civic public realm, degree of openness of public policy making, and degree of adherence to rule of law; and
  3. Social reciprocities characterized by: degree of political equality, degree of inter-group tolerance, and degree of inclusiveness in associational membership.


According to the World Bank (1992) and UNDP (1993; 1997), there are three different, though interrelated, sphere of governance: political, economic, and administrative. UNESCO (1997) envisages governance representing the whole country or society. It is about the processes as well as institutions and mechanisms; and exercise of power and authority in pursuit of the societies present and future wellbeing. And, therefore, governance and development are faces of the same coin; and may address the following main thematic issues as suggested below among many others.


  • Human Right, Women (Gender Politics) and Children
  • Constitution and Constitutionalism
  • Democracy and Democratization Process
  • Corruption and Its Manifestation
  • Electoral and Parliamentary Reforms
  • Local/Urban Governance
  • Unitary/Federal Structures of Government
  • Civil Society Organizations, Political Parties, Interest Groups, Mass Media and NGOs
  • Decentralization (Political, Financial, and Administrative)
  • Accountability, Rule of Law and Judiciary Reforms, Civil Service Reforms, etc
  • Public Policy, Public Sector Institutions and Service Delivery
  • Structural Adjustment Programs (Market and Price Governance)
  • Resources (Human, Physical, Natural) Governance and Development
  • Grassroots Empowerment, Social Capital Governance
  • Environment and Sustainable Development,
  • Environmental Politics,
  • Governing the Common Pool Resources
  • Development Theory and Practices
  • Livelihood and Rural Poverty
  • Livelihood Urban Poverty
  • Ethical and moral issues
  • Conflict resolution and peace building
  • Water politics , regional and international relations
  • Rural Development, Rural Institutions, Sustainable Natural Resources Management
  • Urban Development, Solid and Liquid Waste Governance
  • Global Governance (Pollution, Climate Change, trans-boundary water resources) and the fairness of International Institutions (IMF, WB, and WTO) rules and regulations
  • Leadership and Leadership Styles (e.g. Transformational Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Change and Innovation issues)
  • Citizens and Citizens Charter (participation of Citizens in Policy making, implementation, monitoring and evaluation)
  • Sector Governance

-Health Sector Governance

-Education Sector Governance (University Reforms, BPR, Kaizen, etc)

-Agriculture Sector Governance

  • Entrepreneurship and Employment Generation Schemes Governance, among many others.

Research Group Leaders



Educational Qualification


Research Experience and Research Interest



Chalachew Tarekegne





Abebe Assefa



Mohammed Yimam