30 June 2005

Africa: Study Programme for Government Officials to Enhance Technical Assistance

A three-week study programme for Commonwealth points of contact and strategic partners was launched at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, UK, on 27 June 2005.

The programme explores the challenges of delivering development assistance to Commonwealth member countries and the roles of different stakeholders in ensuring maximum benefit for interventions. Six officials from Guyana, Jamaica, Malawi, Maldives, Pakistan and Swaziland are participating in the programme from 27 June to 15 July.

The goal is to provide technical assistance to Commonwealth governments to attain efficiency and effectiveness in governance and public administration. It will help relevant public sector officials to improve their performance and enhance collaboration with the Secretariat and other development organisations. The officials will be placed in various divisions of the Secretariat to study their methods and the structures that support development assistance, in particular the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation.

Professor Victor Ayeni, Director of the Governance and Institutional Development Division of the Secretariat, which manages this programme, said: "It is important for development assistance to be delivered in the most efficient manner to member countries. Therefore, we need to build relations among partners, different agencies and stakeholders that are part of delivering this assistance.

"This study programme for points of contact will enable participants to reflect on their roles in the process of technical assistance to their respective countries, and come up with ways of improving the effectiveness and impact in the delivery of development assistance.

While at the Secretariat, these officials will be able to enhance their understanding about the Commonwealth through the sharing of experiences and gaining of knowledge about best practices."

Amir Tariq Zaman Khan, Joint Secretary in the Economic Affairs Division of Pakistan's Ministry of Finance, stated that he hopes to look into project co-ordination during his attachment with the Secretariat.

Mpendulo Mazibuko, Human Resource Planning Officer at Swaziland's Ministry of Public Service and Information, said he was eager to learn about the Secretariat's training programmes and the placing of Commonwealth experts in member countries for the provision of technical assistance.

Other visiting officials include Arthur Liwonga, Deputy Director for Training at Malawi's Department of Human Resource Management and Development, and Farzana Zahir, Desk Officer in the Department of External Relations of Maldives' Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They will shortly be joined by Elise Benfield, Manager of Guyana's Public Services Ministry, and Andrea Shepherd-Stewart, Unit Manager of the Planning Institute of Jamaica.

The officials will also be attached to partner organisations such as Public Administration International, a consultancy firm that works with governments worldwide, to understand the tasks they undertake. At the end of their study programme the participants expect to develop an action plan on enhancing efficiency in bilateral and multilateral co-operation for development for their respective countries.

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