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Working Paper 66 - Corporate Governance in Africa: The Record and Policies for Good Corporate Governance


This study reviews the institutional record of “corporate governance” in Africa and offers some policy directions for improving performance. The underlying thesis is that a crisis of governance is basically a crisis of board of directors. Our approach is to first delineate the conceptual and practical issues in corporate governance, without assuming any prior understanding of corporate governance. Proceeding under this constraint forces us to be more mindful of jargons, a strategy that we hope should open the ideas to more constructive debates that are obviously required in such a timely topic. We have always believed that research in corporate governance is an agenda that can benefit from insights from other disciplines that study organizations, such as organizational psychology and sociology. For instance, the concept of “bounded rationality” taken from psychology has been used by economists to shed light on why contracts are necessarily incomplete, and, by linking that to transaction costs, to make sense of the many observed agency relationships that leave agents with a great deal of discretion (even when the power corrupts).

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