African Virtual Forum of June 22, 2020 (Press Release)

168 Institutions and Participants, 16.000 followers on UCLG-Africa Facebook Page celebrated the International Public Service Day during the Virtual African Forum on:

“Reopening African Public Administrations:Leading, Managing and Delivering in time of Covid-19 and beyond”

Monday 22 June, 2020, on the platform ZOOM of UCLG-Africa

As part of their sound Partnership and the Celebration of the International Day of Public Service (23rd June each year), the African Local Governments Academy of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (ALGA of UCLG-Africa), the African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM), the Faculty of Public Leadership of the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, the African Public Service Human Resources Managers (APS-HRMNet), the Local Africa HRNet, and with the support of their Anchoring Institutes and Partners, including the Directorate for Public Institutions and Digital Government of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA/DIPGD), OECD-GISMA, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs/Institute for Public Management and Community Service of Florida International University (FIU)-USA and the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), have organized a Virtual African Forum on : “Reopening African Public Administrations: Leading, Managing and Delivering in time of Covid-19 and Beyond”, on Monday 22 June 2020, from 2.00 pm to 19.30 pm on the UCLG-Africa Zoom platform.

The main objective of this Virtual African Forum, the first of its kind, was to organize a space for the promotion of a structured and constructive dialogue around the issues of Public Leadership, Public Services and Human Resources management at Covid-19 time and in anticipation of the reopening of Public Administrations, to exchange on challenges and obstacles, to highlight good practices and to identify areas of progress that could feed into a post-Covid-19 roadmap for a stable, sustainable and resilient Africa.

This Forum aimed to lead a serene debate on the three fundamental pillars of any stable, strong, sustainable and resilient society, namely transformational Leadership, Quality Public Services and Professional Human Capital.

This African Forum was also organized as an important moment to promote Human Capital, a strategic lever for good governance. Finally, the organizers also wanted to place this activity within the framework of the Decade for Action, decreed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, in order to demonstrate their willingness to transform Leadership, to develop, motivate and professionalize Human Resources, and to deliver quality Public Services to citizens.

One hundred and sixty-eight (168) participants from Africa and the world took part in this event, while 16,000 persons followed it on the UCLG-Africa Facebook page.

The official opening was punctuated by the respective speeches of:

Mr Mohamed Sadiki, Mayor of the City of Rabat, City hosting the Headquarters of UCLG-Africa, Morocco;

Dr John Mary Kauzya, Chief, Public Service Innovation Branch, Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG), UN-DESA, New York;

Dr James Nkata, Vice President of International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration (IASIA), Africa Region, Director General of Uganda Management Institute, Uganda ;

Dr Roland Msiska, President of the African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM), Zambia;

Prof. Zwelinzima Ndevu, Director, School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, South Africa;

Ms Savia N. Mugwanya, President of APS-HRMNet, Commissioner, Civil Service College Uganda, Ministry of Public Service, Uganda ;

Ms Albertina Tivane, President of Local Africa HRNet, Mozambique.

This initiative was welcomed by all the speakers. These speeches were unanimous in emphasizing the importance of Institutional Development, Transformational Leadership, raising the collective challenges for quality public services, the perspectives of HRM beyond the crisis and the importance of constantly upgrading the skills of public service agents and in general, to have a professional and qualified human capital. The importance of the Sustainable Development Agenda was also recalled as well as the role and contribution of Local Governments in this process. Finally, it was unanimously underlined that this Pandemic of Covid 19 offered a portal to another world and reminded us all of the need for a better collaboration with a solid partnership, to value and share good practices.

The work of the Forum has been subdivided into three Panels. The first Panel was devoted to the impact of Covid-19 on Public Services through African and global experiences. This panel was enriched by the participation of eminent experts, senior civil servants, and academic researchers from Egypt, South Africa the United States and Uganda who gave their testimonies and insights on how the pandemic has impacted public services; how political and public leaders at the central level but especially at the local level have reacted to the scale and manifestations of the Covid-19 in terms of commitment, availability, listening, reactivity, adaptation, communication and resilience and finally the main challenges of the Public Administration before and after the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The second Panel focused on how to reshape the delivery of public services having highlighted above all the crucial role of having competent and professional human resources to do this. Human Capital being an undeniable basic strategic lever of good governance.

This panel brought together speakers from the UN-DESA / DPIDG of the United Nations, SIGMA-OECD, Yonsei University of South Korea, the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender of Kenya as well as specialists in Human Resources issues from South Africa.

The main communications from this Panel focused on the profile of an effective public servant for service delivery during a pandemic / crisis ; the main Risks, Challenges and way forward; the need to professionalize human resources, to be able to count on competent, ethical staff, well equipped and endowed with sufficient resources to be truly at the service of populations.

The third Panel was dedicated to Peer Learning. The Anchoring Institutes of the 5 African regions were invited to share their experience with their peers, focusing on the main challenges they encountered during Covid-19 and beyond, interventions, achievements and best practices during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as actions carried out on Leadership, Public Service and Human Resources Management. The Institutes that shared their experiences were:

– The National Capacity Building Programme for Cities Management (PNFMV), Cameroon;

– Association for the Love of Books and Local Development (ASSOAL), Cameroon

– Special Higher School of Architecture (ESSACA), Cameroon

– Ethiopian Public Administration Association (EPAA), Ethiopia

– Kotebe Metropolitan University (KMU), Ethiopia

– Kenya School of Government (KSG), Kenya

– School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

– Enda Ecopop from Senegal

– African Centre for Management and Executive Development (CAMPC), Ivory Coast.

Dr. Najat Zarrouk, Director of ALGA of UCLG Africa closed this third Panel with a presentation of the activities carried out by the Academy during the time of COVID 19 as well as the various projects in perspective.

The Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, in his closing remarks stressed that the post-COVID 19 will necessarily be Digital and Numeric. Local governance and public services must therefore be able to become immersed in digitalisation. Entering this era of digitalization should not be done lightly, but above all, there should be a change of mindset at all levels of government and focus on “services to citizens”. He reiterated the importance of public service for citizens, requiring prerequisites, a set of principles such as planning for development, the establishment of a strategic plan, which is an important socio-economic lever that has been left aside for some time. The human resources development community and the spirit of public service for all is crucial. He stressed that the time to act is now to build the Africa we want. Finally, he warmly thanked all the Partners who contributed to the organization of the Forum./.

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