With an aim to strengthening public services in Africa

Expert Group Meeting on “Strategies for Attracting the best talent in the Public Service in Africa” to be held on 14-18 November in Lilongwe, Malawi

A workshop on Strengthening Public Administration and Leadership Capacities at Local Level for the Achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be held during the 33rd Annual Round-Table Conference of AAPAM. The workshop, a collaboration of DESA through the Division for Public Administration & Development Management (DPADM) and the African Association for Public Administration and management (AAPAM) aims to contribute to the strengthening of the capacity of public administration at local level for effective, efficient and equitable delivery of services through identifying strategies that strengthen local government capacities.

Local government officials will discuss challenges facing local level public administration and leadership within the context of achieving the MDGs under globalization and how such challenges can be overcome, to ensure developmental institutions at local level and achieve the intended results of decentralized governance.

Local governments are increasingly expected to be responsive to the needs and problems facing their communities and more often than not, they do not possess the necessary resources, administrative and leadership capacities to effectively address such problems. Consequently, in many developing countries public administration capacity in local governments is generally very weak posing a threat to the achievement of the MDGs.

Poverty, illiteracy, gender inequality, child mortality, HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases are prevalent at local levels, leading to the belief that this is where efforts to achieve MDGs are best suited. The workshop provides DESA with an opportunity to engage high level policy makers in Africa, including Ministers responsible for local governments, senior local government officials and development partners, who will eventually champion implementation of ensuing strategies, to propose standards of excellence that need to be further developed to serve as a framework for guiding effective public administration in local governments.

During the same period, DESA through DPADM in collaboration with the African Public Sector Human Resource Managers’ Network (APS-HRMnet) will also hold an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on “Strategies for attracting the best talent in the Public Service in Africa”. The quality of human resources in the public sector is critical to the development of any country and to the achievement of the MDGs and other internationally agreed development objectives. Global, regional and national commitments to sustainable development and poverty reduction need human capacities as the translation of such goals into tangible results is in the hands of human resources. It is through the knowledge, know-how and skills, networks and attitudes of human resources that services are planned and delivered, critical innovations conceived and realized and needed reforms carried out.

The objective of the EGM is two-fold:

i) to highlight the challenges related to attracting and retaining high performing public servants to serve in the public service, and especially in local governments in rural Africa

ii) to propose strategies for attracting and retaining the best talent to boost improvement in the delivery of public service at local level.

The EGM will provide a forum for sharing knowledge as well as provide advice to policy formulators, especially human resource managers in the public service, on elements of policies and strategies that should be instituted to attract and retain the best human resources to serve at local level for effective implementation of government policies and programs especially those related to the achievement of the MDGs.

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