Africa’s administrative reforms must be backed by precise goals

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Despite the time and resources spent on reforms aimed at improving performance of governments in Africa, the reforms have not positively impacted lives of ordinary people, an African expert in development administration said Monday.

Njunga Michael Mulikita of the Tangiers, Morocco-based African Training and Research Centre in Administration for Development (CAFRAD) said that key stakeholders were concerned that public administration in sub-Saharan Africa was still characterised by inefficient services despite the wide ranging reforms.

In response to concerns of civil society organisations, private sector and ordinary citizens, Mulikita told panapress that CAFRAD and the Harare, Zimbabwe-based African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) have jointly organised a three-day Pan-African Conference for Chairpersons of National Commissions for Administrative Reforms to reflect on the current state of reforms in African countries.

Starting 25 February (today) 2008 in Tangiers, the conference would also examine new trends and approaches from which to draw lessons, thereby permitting a more results-focused implementation of reforms, Mulikita explained.

According to the expert, though there was evidence of progress in a few countries, the reforms were in general hampered by the lack of clear definition of mission and objectives of each administration.

In addition, Mulikita mentioned lack of definition of the expected results and performance of each official, lack of motivation and merit system at work, insufficiency in the use of modern methods in organisation and management of public services, and heavy bureaucratic procedures as other obstacles to improving public administration in Africa.

The conference brings together chairpersons of national directorates and commissions of administrative reforms from Arabic, English, French and Portuguese speaking countries.

“It is the shared expectation of both CAFRAD and ACBF that the conference will help to enhance capacities and competences in formulating, coordinating and implementing administrative and governance reforms.

“More specifically, it is expected that the participants will become better acquainted with new strategies, new approaches and actual trends to take into account when preparing reform programmes,” added Mulikita, who is the conference coordinator.


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