Mahadeo, Jyoti Devi and Soobaroyen, Teerooven
Corporate Governance Implementation in an African Emerging Economy: The case of State-Owned Entities.
Research in Accounting in Emerging Economies, 12A, . (doi:10.1108/S1479-3563(2012)000012A014).
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The objective of this paper is to examine how state-owned entities (SOEs) engage with the requirements of the corporate governance code in an African developing economy (Mauritius). A content analysis of the annual reports of SOEs and National Audit Office (NAO) reports is undertaken. This is supplemented by semi-structured interviews with relevant directors and regulatory bodies. We report a substantial non-implementation of the code and identify several impediments to the transposing of the corporate governance model to the state-owned entities. The salient issues relate to the inadequate definition of SOEs in the code, the different conceptualisations of ownership and accountability, the influence of political rivalries, and the low level of financial accountability in SOEs. We also consider our findings in relation to the theoretical perspectives of ‘efficiency gains’ and ‘social legitimation’. Very few studies have looked into the applicability of codes of corporate governance in state owned entities. In spite of the prominence of SOEs in many African developing countries, empirical evidence on corporate governance implementation in such entities has been scant. The findings are of relevance to policy-makers and regulators who seek to rely on mainstream corporate governance principles and practices to enhance the accountability and transparency of SOEs. Key enabling conditions for corporate governance implementation involve a de-politicisation of board appointments and a re-definition of the accountability relationships between SOEs and their ultimate owner (i.e. elected representatives and tax payers).
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