Reviewing Southern Africa’s Status as a Developmental Region through Governance and Development

Keywords: Civil Participation, Democracy, Governance, Regimens, Southern African development community, Patrimonial politics


This case study discusses how the democratic governance principles and norms impact development in the SADC, and how institutional and structural reforms require greater participation by society to address the governance challenges encountered in this subregion of Africa. Consequently, the aim of this paper is to examine and assess the relationship between SADC’s governance, democratic principles and norms, development plans and processes. A comparative analysis was conducted using SADC’s key democratic achievement connected to policies, processes, and remaining challenges. Subsequently, the key causes of SADC’s slow development on the African continent were explored, focusing on the failure to institutionalise liberal democratic governance consistently during postcolonial transition periods, speculating SADC’s slow development. The findings suggest that SADC is impacted by democratic principles, norms, and processes, such as local governance, civil society, and decentralisation of power. Bearing in mind Southern Africa’s economic frailty, elevated levels of civil unrest and poor service delivery, SADC authorities require a strong sub-regional governance strategy supported by robust national programmes to determine and overcome the factors hindering the institutionalisation of democratic principles in SADC, and promote strengthened institutional capacity. The unambiguous progression towards the consolidation of democracy, within the SADC, has impacted the governance and development successes of the region, resulting in democratic values and practices remaining shallowly rooted, and slow progress toward open and transparent governance.


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Author Biography

Juliet E. Joseph, Department of Political Science, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

Juliet Joseph is the Coordinator: Employer Relations at the Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD). She hold MA in International Relations. Here reserch interests are political science and creer development.


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How to Cite
Joseph, J. (2024). Reviewing Southern Africa’s Status as a Developmental Region through Governance and Development. Cihan University-Erbil Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 8(1), 87-97.