1st Focus Group of the Observatory of Human Resources of Local Government in Africa on the theme: «Human Resources Management (HRM) within African Local Governments: Challenges, Reforms and Best Practices »

On the sidelines of the UCLG Africa West Africa Strategic Meeting, the Observatory of Human Resources of Local Government in Africa organized its 1st Focus Group on “HRM at local level in Africa: Challenges, Reforms and Best Practices”, at the Tang Palace Hotel in Accra, Ghana, on Wednesday May 30th, 2018.

The Focus Group brought together over sixty participants from eight (8) countries of the region (Capo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) representing the different actors and stakeholders concerned by the issue of Human Resource Management at the territorial level: national associations of local authorities; representatives of national governments; networks of local government professionals and managers as well as the unions of the territorial managers; representatives of training institutes targeting local government, including anchoring institutes of the African Academy of Local Governments (ALGA); experts; executives of the General Secretariat and the UCLG Africa Regional Office for West Africa; and representatives of development partners.

The main objective of the workshop was to meet with the different actors and stakeholders in human resource management at the local level and through discussion and brainstorming, to discuss roles, responsibilities and challenges faced, share good practices and identify possible reforms to improve and professionalize the HRM of African local government.

Strong Messages during the Official Opening of the Focus Group

Dr. Nana Ato Arthur, Head of Local Government Service of Ghana (LGS)

Honorable Felix Mensah Nii Anang-La, President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG)

Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa

The official opening of the workshop was marked by strong messages from the Honorable President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG); the Secretary General of UCLG Africa; and the Representative of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development of Ghana, who were unanimous in stressing the urgency of investing in the human capital of local government, professionalizing HRM at local level and promoting participatory and inclusive governance at this level. It is indeed thanks to qualified, motivated, competent and committed human resources that Africa will champion the case for decentralization, local governance and local development.

The various interventions highlighted the primordial role of human resources and a good HRM strategy for the Decentralization Project and the need to surround local governance with the conditions for success, according to the growing roles and responsibilities required within African local government. This is not only necessary for the realization of their policies and strategies, but also for supporting the implementation of the African Union Vision 2063 and World Agendas (Sustainable Development Goals, New Urban Agenda, Climate Agenda.)

The various interventions also highlighted the main challenges faced by the HRM of local government in Africa amongst which was: the absence of will and political commitment in favor of HRM; the lack of strong public policies and proactive strategies for the modernization of HRM at local level; the poor grasp of the various functions of HRM in general; problems of recruitment, assignment, status and mobility; the poor qualifications of staff in local governments; the predominance of State, central administrations, private sector and international organizations on the labor market; the lack of material and financial means to attract and maintain talent; the absence or insufficiency of resources to develop skills at local level; and the lack of coordination and synergy between different actors involved in local HRM in Africa, etc.

The Focus Group was also an opportunity for the participants to exchange best practices, in particular with reference to:

– Local Government Services of Ghana, which has developed procedures and tools to plan, monitor and evaluate the performance of human resources of the “District Assemblies” and put in place strategies for the standardization of HRM at the level of local governments in Ghana.

– The National Union of Local Government Employees of Nigeria (NULGE), which has demonstrated, despite all the difficulties, powerful lobbying that effectively defends the interests of human resources at local level in Nigeria.

All the information gathered during the Focus Group and the discussions will contribute to the report on the “State of human resources in local governments in Africa”, whose publication is scheduled to be launched during the Africities 8 Summit November 20-24, 2018. The next focus groups will be held in Morocco and Burkina Faso.