Responsible public Governance : an authentic and universal alternative for more efficient human and ethical public services
Dr. Stéphane Monney Mouandjo GD. CAFRAD Yaoundé May 2017
15th Pan-African Ministerial Forum on the Modernization of Public Administration and State Institutions

Context and justification

The ongoing dynamics at the international level have given rise to major transformations in the life of public institutions, particularly those of administrations in general. Thus, in the perspective of the implementation of the various strategies of transformations of public life and in order to give the life of the public institutions a trajectory more in conformity with its time, important reforms were put in place. As much at the universal level as at the regional level, important changes have emerged. Multiple proposals followed one another, some of them after evaluating the results of earlier work and others, based on a reorientation of initial visions.

In the specific case of Africa, important work has been carried out by the administrations themselves, as well as by research institutions in various fields. Thus, in particular, the various training institutions of the continent have proposed new approaches to better account for and accompany the current dynamics of administrations and public institutions, in order to better meet the diverse expectations of the populations and users.

Indeed, concerned about being part of the orthodoxy of the structures of international institutions organized in various networks, the regional institutions of Africa have agreed to align with the path laid down by the United Nations Organisation (UNO) as part of the reform of Governance and Public Administration, in accordance with the wishes expressed at the last UN Conference on Public Administration held in Marrakech (Morocco) in June 2018.

On this occasion, particular emphasis was placed on the formulation of appropriate proposals, that are likely to better meet the expectations of the populace and at the same time ensure the harmonious pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) currently considered as the main framework of the reforms and public policies of transformations of public administrations and governance on a global scale.

One of the most important questions that arose was how to make this approach viable and effective in a context where public administrations perform in a variety of environments, often times with diverse historical and political references and trajectories and even sometimes antagonistic to one other.

While it may be true that at the first glance, one might conclude that the mission is impossible, or at least laborious, it is difficult to dispute the fact that, despite the variety of contexts and the diversity of historical, cultural and political trajectories, one cannot build bridges from a necessary tension towards a common or even harmonized vision. This is the direction of CAFRAD's orientation whose questioning espouses, fortunately, the orientation set by the United Nations, through the idea of the modernization of public administration in the pursuit of the SDGs.

If, indeed, the question of the modernization of the public administration may at the first sight seem like a recurring and forbidden question, one can equally agree on the idea that by the modernization of administration, it implies a continuous and permanent process: it being understood that the problems vary as the years go by and as the processes of organization of societies develop as well as the institutions and modes of functioning that derive there from.

The question of the role of public administration in supporting the SDGs therefore naturally becomes a constant and permanent process of adaptation and adjustment aligned with a structured vision which, in the instant case, is the pursuit of the SDGs. While it is true that the question of the sustainability of development objectives remains also interesting in view of the various questions it arouses, it should be noted that for CAFRAD and its partners in particular, the pursuit of SDGs is one of the major axes of its policy and action in this period of its history. This is why it chose to focus on this subject during its Ministerial Forum dedicated to the Modernization of the Administration, in keeping with its strategy of Responsible Public Governance based on its two major pillars namely: "authenticity and universality".

For this all-important Pan-African institution, it is a question of how Africa can effectively support the SDGs and on what we could rely in order to build a so-called modern public administration and how this modernization could rigorously accompany the pursuit and consequently, the achievement of the SDGs? The presentations and debates which will follow will certainly enable participants to sketch some tracks through a set of questions that should be answered.

I. Topics proposed for discussion

  1. Public administration in Africa and global complexity: Opportunities and constraints in the pursuit of the SDGs;
  2. The transformation and modernization of public administration in the pursuit of the SDGs: what path and what means?;
  3. Modernization of public administration and the pursuit of the SDGs: political issue or communication strategy;
  4. Public administration and security fragility in the pursuit of the SDGs: what strategies for countries facing multiform crises on the African continent?;
  5. Modernization of the public administration and economic and technological asymmetry: how to bridge the yawning gap between the rich and poor countries toward the attainment of the SDGs?;
  6. Administrative and ethical considerations in public administrations: The way forward for the successful pursuit of the SDGs;
  7. Cooperation and transformation of executive training policies of African public administrations to sharpen competences toward the SDGs;
  8. The role of international institutions in supporting African Countries for the attainment of the SDGs.

II. Target audiences

The Forum is a high-level political and strategic meeting of Ministers in charge of public service/administration and their top senior officials organized within the framework of CAFRAD's Annual Ministerial Forum on the Modernization of Public Administration and Governance in African Countries. Target participants include:

  • Ministers in charge of Civil/Public Service, Labour, Administrative and State Reform;
  • Ministers in charge of Reform, Governance, Planning and Public Policy Development;
  • Chairmen of National Commissions in charge of Public Administration, Governance and State Reforms;
  • Special Advisers in the offices of the Prime Ministers and the Presidencies, in charge of Planning, Innovation and Governance;
  • Directors in the Ministries of Economic Planning, Finance, Budget, Taxes and Treasury;
  • Directors-General of National Schools and Institutes of Public Administration;
  • International organizations and institutions whose interests are in the issues of the Forum.

III. Resource persons

The various sub-theme will be developed by resource persons carefully selected for their proven experience, both theoretically and practically, in the field of public administration and governance. They will deeply explore the problems of public administration as they relate to the SDGs, within the framework of a theoretical and contextual questioning. They will facilitate the discussions and debates that will ensue after the presentation of their papers, towards the construction of an African strategy intended to establish the requisite synergy, centred on the achievement of the SDGs in Africa.

IV. Methodology

The proceedings will take place in plenary session. The resource persons will introduce the presentations and lead the debates. These will result in proposals that will be the subject of a report, which will be presented with recommendations. Presentations by the resource persons will be made as a Word and Power Point document.

V. Expected results

Considering the various issues that will be discussed during the sessions, the aim is especially to give Africa a new energy for building its public administration that is compatible with the international standards. The meeting will also help to improve performance in the public administrations of African countries.

VI. Participation fees

In accordance with the decision n°5 of the 54th Meeting of CAFRAD Governing Board, each participant will pay a token amount of US $ 300 (Three hundred dollars). This amount will be paid during registration on the first day of the Forum.

Date:               9– 10 July 2019

Venue:             Fez (Morocco)

Duration:         Two days

Working languages: Arabic, English, French & Portuguese.