2018 Forum

Public Service in Africa

Kigali, Rwanda

The focus this year was on public services in 21st century Africa: their key relation to good governance and effective leadership, new challenges and current shortcomings, the ways and means to strengthen them and make them appealing to the next generation. Without strong public services and committed civil servants, at local, national, regional or continental levels, there will be no efficient delivery of expected public goods and services, nor implementation of any commitment, however strongly voiced. The discussion was organised around three sessions:

  • Session 1: Growing expectations for public delivery
  • Session 2: Assessing the current supply of public services
  • Session 3: Building a sound contract between citizens and public service providers.

Each session was joined by a representative of the Next Generation Forum, held the day before around the same topic and issues. All sessions were streamed live and can be found on the Foundation's YouTube channel, including one-on-one conversations between Mo and Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia; Sanjay Pradhan, CEO, Open Government Partnership; and H.E. President Paul Kagame, Chair of the African Union.

Session topics and speakers

Session 1: Growing expectations for public delivery

The first session identified the demand addressed to African public services in 21st Century. What are citizens’ expectations, current and new (safety and security, health, education, justice, but also peace, solidarity, protection against any threat, jobs, business enabling environment, culture, climate change mitigation, rural sector development...). Who should be responsible for addressing these demands (African Union, Regional communities, national governments, cities, private sector, multilateral donors...), and who is going to pay for the delivery.

Chair: Nancy Kacungira, Presenter, BBC News

Donald Kaberuka Managing Partner, Chairman and Managing Partner, Southbridge Partners; former President, African Development Bank
Herman Mashaba Mayor of Johannesburg
Ibrahim Mayaki CEO, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency; former Prime Minister of Niger
Jennifer Musisi Executive Director, Kampala Capital City Authority
Yvonne Apea Mensah MIF Fellow; Head of Africa, Political Division, Commonwealth Secretariat


Session 2: Assessing the current supply of public services

The second session assessed the current state of African public services, the key challenges that need to be addressed, both from the job attractiveness side: salaries, career, mobility, working environment..., and from the delivery side: skills, efficiency, corruption..., and the potential solutions and best practices that can be explored: monetary and non-monetary incentives, capacity building, internal and external mobility, new technologies... The session will also touch upon the challenges of building public services and capacities in post-conflict settings.

Chair: Ngaire Woods, Dean, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University

Trevor Manuel Deputy Chairman of South Africa, Rothschild Group; former Finance Minister, South Africa
Mariana Mazzucato Founder and Director, Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, UCL
Winifred Oyo-Ita Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Nigeria
Fanfan Rwanyindo Kayirangwa Minister of Public Service and Labour, Rwanda
Betsy Williams Founder, President's Young Professionals Program of Liberia (PYPP)
Adesoji Solanke MIF Scholar; MBA candidate, London Business School

Session 3: Building a sound contract between citizens and public service providers

The last session discussed how to build a sound contract between citizens and public service providers, making sure that the supply is answering the demand, embedding accountability through monitoring mechanisms and strengthening ownership through the tax contract.

Chair: Nancy Kacungira, Presenter, BBC News

Aya Chebbi Founder, Afrika Youth Movement
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Chair of the Board, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI); former Finance Minister, Nigeria
Akere Muna Chair, International Anti-Corruption Conference Council
Jay Naidoo Founding General Secretary, COSATU; Trustee, Earthrise Trust
Barkha Mossae MIF Scholar; Diplomat, Second Secretary, Embassy of Mauritius, Addis Ababa