Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.
United Nations Development AccountUnited Nations Headquarters New York

Development Account Projects

Contributing to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals in Africa through strengthening public sector human resources management capacities

Background:

This project will focus on strengthening the professional capacities of human resources managers in the public sector in Africa to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development agenda. The quality of human resources in the public sector is critical to the development of any country in general and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development agenda in particular. The translation of such goals into tangible results is in the hands of human resources. Through their knowledge, know-how and skills, networks and attitudes, services are planned and delivered, critical innovations conceived and realized and needed reforms carried out.

Public sector human resources managers occupy a strategic position in the development of a country. However, in many African countries, this strategic position is not recognized in the formulation of strategies and human resources managers in the public sector may not be professionally attuned to the critical role they should play. The Seventh Africa Governance Forum, which took place in Ouagadougou at the end of October 2007, discussed the issues related to public service reforms and enhancing institutional and human capacities in the public sector. This project proposal responds to the conclusions and recommendations of the Forum concerning the inadequate capacities of human resources managers in the public service in Africa. The Forum observed the following problems: (a) uncoordinated and fragmented approaches to human resources development; (b) uncoordinated training programmes; (c) inadequate linkages between training output and the labour market requirements; (d) wastage and misplacement of personnel; and (e) lack of monitoring mechanisms to determine the capacity and productivity of the trained personnel to contribute meaningfully to national development.

A group of human resources managers meeting in Cape Town in April 2007 observed that human resources managers in the public sector are playing clerical rather than strategic roles and called for efforts to build their capacities to become strategy experts, work organization experts, employee champions, and agents of continuous transformation. In July 2008, the Economic and Social Council adopted resolution 2008/32, in which it emphasized that capacity-building is essential and needed in administrative restructuring, civil service reform, human resources development and public administration training, and improving performance in the public sector.

Human resources managers in the public sector have been neglected in the process of public sector reforms and capacity-building in Africa. Through this project, particular attention will be paid to strengthening their professional capacities as sustainable successful capacity-building depends on them. The DESAwill work in collaboration with ECA in implementing this project to enhance the capacities for effective human resources management in the public sector in Africa. The focus will be on enabling the Africa Public Sector Human Resource Managers' Network to institutionalize and sustain professional capacity-building of human resources managers in the public sector in Africa.

Objective:

To contribute to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development agenda through strengthening the institutional capacity of the Africa Public Sector Human Resource Managers' Network and the individual capacities of human resources managers in the public sector in Africa.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Improved role of human resources managers as strategy experts, work organization experts, employee champions, and agents of continuous transformation
  • Enhanced knowledge, information, lessons learned sharing, and application of information and communication technologies among human resources managers in African countries

Implementation status:

Professionalizing human resource managers in the public sector in Africa is a process rather than an end by itself.  Nevertheless, thanks to this project, the important role of human resource managers as strategic partners in the national development agenda has been acknowledged by several Ministers of Public Service in Africa.  A good example is the recognition given by the Conference of African Ministers of Public Service to the project which resulted in a capacity building workshop that took place in Addis Ababa in July 2012 and funded by UNDP and African governments and another one which took place in Benin funded by the Government and attended by APS-HRMnet Executives.

Another impact of the project is that national chapters of the Africa Public Sector Human Resource Managers’ were established by the Governments of Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.    

  1. Study tours for human resource managers in the public sector in Africa. A total of 22 human resource managers from 16 African countries, 18 of whom were funded by the development account project, attended study tours hosted by 5 African countries.  Although the budget allocated for the study tour would have financed 31 participants, we only got response from 16 African countries due to a number of reasons, including the timing of the study tour which coincided with election in some African countries.  However, the remaining balance from the fund allocated to the study tour was used to organize another capacity building workshop.
  2. A capacity building workshop on “Strategies for Harnessing Human Resource Diversity in the Public Service in Africa to improve performance” was held in Gaborone, Botswana from 11-12 October 2012 in collaboration with UNDP during the African Governance Forum (AGF).  It is worth noting that the participants of this workshop were funded by UNDP with the exception of a UNDESA staff that traveled against this project.
  3. A capacity building workshop on “Enhancing performance management to improve service delivery in Africa” was held during the 34th Round Table Conference of AAPAM in collaboration with the Africa Public Sector Human Resource Managers Network (APS-HRMnet).  This activity was not initially planned under the project.  However, given the preference of human resource managers for a capacity building workshop instead of a one-to-one study tour, this activity was organized using the surplus budget allocated for the study tour.  http://www.unpan.org/DPADM/ProductsServices/APSHRMnet/tabid/1114/language/en-US/Default.aspx
  4. A second on-line training course on human resource management is being designed. The response of the human resource managers to the on-line training that is already implemented by the project is encouraging.  Already 275 individuals have attended the course.
  5. The website for the Africa Public Sector Human Resource Managers’ Network (APS-HRMnet) was designed.  The original web-page which has been operational since 2010,  was replaced by the following interactive website http://www.unpan.org/aps-hrmnet