A PROSPEROUS, politically united, economically integrated Africa is possible if the continent could have a cadre of competent, professional and impartial public administrators and managers that can espouse good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law, President Edgar Lungu has said.
President Lungu observed that although public servants were sometimes unappreciated, they were an indispensable cornerstone of public service delivery to citizens.
President Lungu said it was imperative that public administration took up its critical role in attaining the aspirations which included good governance, democracy, respect for human right, justice and the rule of law based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Speaking at the 37th Africa Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) annual roundtable conference at Mulungushi International Conference Centre yesterday, President Lungu said in order to achieve the Africa citizens wanted, there was need for the continent to cultivate a caliber of public administrators and managers that was professional, impartial and excellent in service delivery.
The Head of State said AAPAM had the challenging task of building a critical mass of public administrators and managers that would help the continent meet its aspirations as espoused in the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 and the United Nations (UN) Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.
The 37th AAPAM conference ,themed “Transforming public administration and management in Africa in order to contribute towards the attainment of the Agenda 2063 within the context of Sustainable Development Goals”, is focusing on E-Governance, and E-Government as necessary tools for transforming public administration and the essence of transformational leadership in achieving State capacity among others.
“Africa is endowed with abundant natural resources and a youthful population. But our challenges lie in weak institutions, governance systems and partnerships. Most of our economies are over-dependent on wasting assets characterized by weak investment in science, and technology as well as inadequate value-addition initiatives. This situation makes our countries vulnerable to both natural and external shocks,” President Lungu said. He said Africa’s public administration often faced such challenges as inadequate, ethical and transformational leadership coupled with patronage, poor accountability and work culture.
The Head of State said Africa needed to deal with challenges such as inadequate and ethical transformational leadership; patronage and poor accountability if the continent was to meet its development agenda,
“While noting that Africa is part of the global community and can learn from other continents, solving African challenges will require African solutions. In doing so, let us not re-invent the wheel. Some best practices have already been developed in countries with similar backgrounds, administrative systems and socio-economic context,” President Lungu said.
The President said Africa must strive to create merit-based and citizen centred public services which he said were an effective engine of development.
He said Africa needed a transformational public administration and management with a visionary leadership that would inspire and motivate public servants.
“If Africa has to develop at a pace we all desire, it is critical that formation of partnerships with the private sector is scaled up to improve the quality and scope of public services.
“Given the challenges confronting our continent and the weaknesses in our public services, fundamental transformation and re-branding of our public administration and management is no longer a matter of choice,” President Lungu said.