Covid-19: Africa seeks new public service strategies 

Source: Covid-19: Africa seeks new public service strategies | The Herald

Covid-19: Africa seeks new public service strategies
VP Chiwenga

Mukudzei Chingwere in VICTORIA FALLS 

The 8th continental 2021 Africa Public Services Day (APSD) commemoration which ended in Victoria Falls yesterday, resolved to increase the involvement of the private sector in service provision as well a commitment to improve the welfare of civil servants.

President Mnangagwa’s administration has already taken the lead through the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which places emphasis on private sector led growth.

Addressing delegates to the commemorative symposium this week, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga said African Governments had an obligation to improve the welfare of their civil servants to motivate them and guarantee quality service to citizens.

“In the 21st century, we look to keep the momentum going on the modernisation and public sector reforms to reinforce professional and ethical values as guided by the African Charter on values and principles for public administration,” reads a communique released at the end of the symposium.

“The first piece of good news is that public services need not work in isolation, rather in collaboration with the private sectors and civil society, all are increasingly involved in delivering services to citizens as we see a growing role of local government.”

The APSD also agreed on concerted efforts in the fight against corruption for which Zimbabwe has set up an anti-corruption commission to confront graft which has even high ranking officials being prosecuted.

“Any solution must see corruption as both a potential loss of resources and as an obstacle to accessing public services.

“This calls for policies against bribes and money laundering, the benefits of which are already being seen across Africa.”

ASPD noted that public administration needed to be felt by the people in the manner in which it bettered their lives and responded to the needs of young citizens beyond the traditional public services.

It was agreed that Zimbabwe should host the next edition of the organ in 2023 after this year’s edition was held in strict compliance with Covid-19 containment measures. 

ASPD acknowledged the negative effects the pandemic had caused on public service delivery and paid tribute to public servants who continued service delivery while at great risk.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said the deliberations showed the way Governments needed to take in pursuing and addressing challenges faced during emergencies like the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Presentations by the experts on the thematic areas which focused on maintaining an ethical culture in public service administration was indeed insightful. 

“It is imperative that as Africans we continue to build the Africa we want through building of an efficient and effective public administration system,” said Minister Mavima.

“From the presentations made in plenary sessions the following lessons that culminated in the Victoria Falls Declaration should be drawn and guide us to the need to build Africa through focused leaderships which are ethical and free of corruption,” said Minister Mavima.

There was need to embrace change in an environment characterised by emerging crises and pandemics such as Covid-19 which required the adoption of strategies allowing people to continue to operate. 

“As a continent, we need to adopt information communication technologies which minimises human interface to avoid the spread of the pandemic.”