The Prime Minister of Rwanda Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi has urged heads of Public Service in Africa provide citizens a framework for monitoring and assessing the implementation of programs targeted for their wellbeing.
He said this while officiating at the opening of the 9th Forum of the Heads of Public Service in Commonwealth Africa in Kigali yesterday under the theme "Role of Government approach in achieving national development goals".
Dr Habumuremyi said the significance of accountability manifests to serve essentially core purposes which are: to provide assurance in respect to the use of public resources and adherence to the law and to promote learning in pursuit of continuous improvement in governance and public management and to control abuse and misuse of public authority.
"Also at the core of an efficient and effective service delivery is the need for accountability for all in the public service. Accountability can be fostered by putting in place effective disciplinary measures and a reward system to ensure efficient and effective service delivery to citizens."
He also noted that African public services need a visionary leadership that provides a framework for an effective public service delivery focused direction. "Our public service officers need to be aware that a responsive and effective leadership is the cornerstone in achieving national development goals through public service delivery; and hence set strategies aimed at identifying leaders who understand well their role in building capable development States".
The Premier also decried the minimal use of Information and Communication Technologies by the African countries which he advised should be widely incorporated into strategies for improving public service delivery. And where they are used, there are generally basic applications of ICTs and a lot remains to be done to use ICTs in transforming the whole operation of government, and thus enable it to provide citizen-centric, more efficient, effective, transparent, and accountable public services.
Meanwhile Ransford Smith the Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General advised African Governments to focus more on generating domestic resources to finance their development needs given the instability of external funding coupled with other factors such as the unabated rising energy costs.
Smith said there is need for African countries to adopt an integrated approach towards improving public sector effectiveness and service deliver in view of the declining financial resources. "The volatility of external funding makes it imperative for Africa to focus more on domestic resource mobilisation to finance her development needs," he explained.
He also asked the heads of Public Service in this forum to suggest appropriate remedial actions that will enable them to accelerate attainment of the Millennium Development Goals that are still lacking in many African countries.
"Key challenges include the need to halve poverty, high unemployment especially for the youth, school drop outs and maternal mortality, " Smith said.
He said public service plays a crucial role in meeting these development goals.
The thematic rationale for the Forum is to effectively address the persistent and emerging development challenges that Africa faces and the role of governments is constantly evolve and the capacity of the public service to continuously be strengthened.
The Forum of heads of Public Service is an annual event that brings together Heads of Public Service in Commonwealth Africa to dialogue, network and share best practices on contemporary issues in the Public Sector management and service delivery.
The annual forum started in 2004 and takes place in July of every year. Discussions of the forum are guided by themes chosen and endorsed by the heads of Public Service through a consensus approach with countries hosting the forum on voluntary and rotational basis.