Africa needs to reform its public service for effective service delivery to citizens, officials and experts said at a panel session on Saturday.
“The whole of Africa public sector needs an overhaul in order to have that one that is delivering to its promise. Majority civil servants in African governments have bad attitude towards citizens,” said Jennifer Musisi, executive director of the Kampala city authority, Uganda.
African civil servants think that they are doing a favor to citizens when it comes to service delivery, and the attitude of refusing to be accountable have become a major threat to Africa’s development, she said at the session of Ibrahim Governance Weekend in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.
There is a need to address Africa public sector challenges adequately through reforms to prevent economic growth and development from being curtailed, said Ibrahim Mayaki, chief executive officer of National Economic Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD).
“The public sector is a key component of the economy, and it plays a major role in economic growth and development of any country. If Africa ignores its public sector, the continent won’t achieve its development agenda,” he said.
Mayaki, who is also the former prime minister of Niger, emphasized that service delivery in Africa is still slow despite the fact that some governments have put in much effort to ensure that citizens access public goods and services.
The mandate of the public sector is to improve the general welfare of society by delivering efficient and effective services to citizens, but this is lacking among African governments, said Herman Mashaba, mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Poor management of finances, high levels of nepotism, corruption, incompetent public servants, lack of accountability, poor human resources practices, and a lack of leadership have taken toll in the Africa’s public sector,” he noted.
The three-day event held by Mo Ibrahim Foundation kicked off Friday, which convenes prominent African political and business leaders, representatives from civil society, multilateral and regional institutions as well as Africa’s major international partners to debate issues of critical importance to Africa, according to organizers.
Established in 2006, the non-grant making organization focuses on defining, assessing and enhancing governance and leadership in Africa through its four main initiatives including Ibrahim Index of African Governance, Ibrahim Forum, Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership and Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships.