Strengthening public services in Africa

Strengthening Public Service in Africa (UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran)

This week, events are taking place in Malawi with the goal of strengthening public services in Africa. A workshop is being held on “Strengthening Public Administration and Leadership Capacities at Local Level for the Achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”, as well as an Expert Group Meeting on “Strategies for Attracting the best talent in the Public Service in Africa”.

The workshop will be held during the 33rd Annual Round-Table Conference of the African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) and is arranged by DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) in collaboration with AAPAM. It aims to contribute to the strengthening of the capacity of public administration at local level for effective, efficient and equitable delivery of services.

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.

DPADM in collaboration with the African Public Sector Human Resource Managers’ Network, is also holding an Expert Group Meeting on “Strategies for attracting the best talent in the Public Service in Africa” 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 and to propose strategies for attracting and retaining the best talent to boost improvement in the delivery of public service at the local level.

The meeting 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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