What’s the image of our country?
This was just one among the many questions posed by participants at the “Solution in Institutions: Combating Corruption between the State and the Society” conference, held in Cairo, Egypt on Feb. 27 and organized by Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), working in partnership with the Federation of Economic Development Associations and the United Group. A picture of some of the attendees is shown above.
Facing the enormous challenges of democratic transition and uncertainties of the future, the over 120 participants in the conference seemed to be eager to tackle perhaps most daunting task for the new (and every future) Egyptian government – the role of state institutions in the fight against corruption.
Global Integrity participated in this conference talking about one of manifestations of bad governance that we have been particularly keen on in our research thus far – the problem of implementation gap between norms and regulations on the books and their implementation in practice.
Our organization and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) recently co-authored a manual for key public stakeholders (the government, private sector and the civil society) on what are the origins of implementation gap, offering some concrete solutions for how to best address this problematic.
As the manual states in one of its opening lines – all too often the act of adopting a legal framework is regarded as an end in itself as it assumes that laws are administered and services delivered.
In addition, new democracies are way too often assessed on the basis of how many laws they have managed to adopt, rather than allowing them time to make these reforms meaningful, worth their efforts and – at their own pace.
Overly ambitious and unrealistic reforms can be very counterproductive. Instead of motivating people to action, they tend to add additional burden to the already overstretched capacities of national governments.
There is no silver bullet for how to approach the complex challenges of governing. Consequently, Global Integrity and CIPE don’t offer an ultimate solution for closing the implementation gap, let alone the other related issues. Nevertheless, we share the point that forcing governments into unrealistic reforms will ultimately over-bureaucratize and demotivate state administrations.
We are very encouraged by the input and questions from our Egyptian colleagues in the conference. With representatives of all three key stakeholders in attendance, their unequivocal support for realistic and sustainable long-term reforms in Egypt was very refreshing.
In our globalized world, the division between good and bad guys when it comes to transparency, accountability and governance in general is no longer plausible. Just like nations cannot be blamed for failed policies of their governments. At best, we can talk about better and worse governance solutions.
In this sense, we warmly salute the willingness and enthusiasm of participants in the conference, as well as all those in the Egyptian society who fight for better lives of their fellow citizens.
From what we could see in the conference, the image of Egypt is very positive.
And its future bright.
— Marko Tomicic
–Photo courtesy of CIPE