This paper begins by addressing different problems which are posed both by the generally accepted meanings of the term ‘governance’ and criticisms of that meaning, and offers a definition of ‘governance’, leading to the analysis of clearly defined empirical objects, one possible application of which is research into local governance. It then attempts to distinguish the highlights of a series of ‘modes of local governance’, which seem to be omnipresent in Francophone West Africa. These modes are respectively chiefly, associational, communal (equivalent to elected district or municipal councils), state, project based, patronage based, religious and business. Thirdly, the author provides a comparative table to serve as a basis for an inventory of the goods provided within each of these modes, the standards which govern their delivery and any factors which could serve to record any variations in the quality of the way these goods are delivered. A more speculative conclusion focuses on possible future uses of concepts such as local political culture and local public space.
London, UK, Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP), 55 pp. Available in English and French