What is Transparent Governance?

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Find out the meaning of transparent governance.

One of the attempts to minimize or eventually eradicate corruption in government is to establish transparency in government. But what really is really a state of transparency? What is its impact and how is this practiced?

The Meaning of Governance

Before tackling the issue of transparent governance, it is necessary to understand what governance means. Here are definitions of governance:

  • is the act of governing
  • relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance
  • relates to consistent management, cohesive policies, guidance, processes and decision-rights for a given area of responsibility
  • is the physical exercise of management power and policy
  • derives from the Greek verb κυβερν?ω [kubernáo] which means to steer

Governance, in simple analogy, is just like the way a fisherman steers his boat towards his chosen destination. The rudder, the tool in steering the boat, is directed to reach the target site. The rudder, in governance terms, represents the government. But this does not necessarily mean that governance is only exclusive to government affairs. The concept can also be applied to corporations, non-profit organizations, non-governments organizations, associations, or any group engaged in some purposeful activity.

If the destination is good or desirable to everyone, then that is good governance. If the destination is random in manner that creates chaos or anarchy, then nothing can be gained from it – a mark of bad governance.

Definition of Transparent Governance

The author searched for the meaning of transparent governance and came up with two definitions that directly relate to governance:

  • Transparency refers to the availability of information to the general public and clarity about government rules, regulations, and decisions.
  • Transparent procedures include open meetings, financial disclosure statements, freedom of information legislation, budgetary review, and audits.

Transparent governance, therefore, means not hiding anything to citizens, not engaging in shady deals or not making whimsical or discretionary decisions. There are clear guidelines to adhere upon. Openness is encouraged.

nothing to hide

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Why Transparency?

Why is there a need for transparency? The availability of accurate and timely information is an essential ingredient for good decision making. Reduced uncertainty prevents doubtful actions on issues at hand. Corruption sets in when rules are not clear. Thus, orderly and logical outcomes are arrived at.

Impact of Transparency in Government

Transparency in government serves as a deterrent to corruption. This allows fair dealings and fair competition that is healthy to an economy’s growth. In fact, research reveals that transparency can enhance stock market liquidity. Stock market liquidity is a stock’s ability to be sold without causing a significant movement in the price and with minimum loss of value.

Overall, transparent governance ensures that money is spent to its intended purpose. This also establishes trust. After all, the government is instituted for the purpose of serving the needs of the people, in an efficient, honest and effective way. Hence, desired goals or outcomes are met.

Transparency in Government Inspires Trust

Transparency in government also can inspire trust in the government and the government process. Many governments talk and talk about transparency and then you find out after they are voted in, there is no transparency at all. This can cause confusion and distrust in certain politicians and the government as a whole.

This is why it is so important that politicians and governments allow the people to see and watch all proceedings. With television, most of us can watch action in congress and the senate today, but those closed door meetings and back door agreements can still cause suspensions. Transparency is very important for the trust of the people in their elected officials.


Asian Development Bank 

International Chamber of Commerce

White House 


© 2011 September 3 Patrick A. Regoniel What is Transparent Governance?


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