Multistakeholder processes – involving representatives from civil society, government and the private sector — are increasingly viewed as a means to promote improved service delivery and operational performance in natural resource sectors. The intention behind such initiatives is to promote dialogue, learning, and collaboration towards agreed goals and, often, the implementation of standards for better sector governance and performance. While collaboration among stakeholders may build legitimacy and strengthen accountability in sector governance, the impact of these initiatives will also be shaped by members’ incentives and external constraints. Multistakeholder groups with a specific mandate in policy implementation are often expected, implicitly or explicitly, to address corruption-related challenges in natural resource management but are not designed for the role. Under certain circumstances the initiatives may even have counter-intuitive effects and facilitate corruption. This paper discusses what African societies can expect from multistakeholder initiatives. It argues that multistakeholder processes can be a viable forum for debate, but that stakeholders should neither be expected to act as one group, nor will the group generally be influential enough to fight corruption in natural resource management.
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