DPSA IN THE MEDIA: Roundtable conference ends on a high note

Date: 26 Jan 2011

The 32nd African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) Roundtable conference closed on a high note in Durban today, bringing to an end five days of intense discussions, workshops and deliberations by the hundreds of delegates from across the Continent.

AAPAM is an organization of African countries that promotes best practice, excellence and professionalism in public administration and management in the African Continent.

Themed 'Repositioning the African Public Services for the Realization of National Visions' the summit, among other things, provided delegates with a platform to deliberate repositioning Africa particularly regarding AAPAM's main objective of improving public service among the Continent's nations.

This aspect was brought home more evidently as part of resolutions as submitted by AAPAM's Young Professionals that for public service to prosper in the Continent, clear capacity-building programmes and an inter-generational succession plan involving youth empowerment and training would be the way to go.

Governments should endeavour to include leadership education in their primary and secondary school curriculum so as to plant the seeds of accountability at early stages.

Since 2005, the Young Professionals have always been part of AAPAM's plans of accelerating youth empowerment but delegates were unanimous the programme is in need of speeding up if the body were to realize its objectives.

Another popular resolution was that while it was acceptable for public servants to be 'politically conscious' in execution of their duties, public servants should resist 'active politics' getting in the way of service delivery.

Undue dependence of governments on donor funding was also seen as the source of nations being overly guided by foreign views and theories in all their decision-making.

The common drawing of plans and visions by officials and consultants with no involvement of their communities was as a result of a lack of accountability and respect for people's rights.

In his closing remarks on behalf of Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi, Acting Director-General, Mr Kenny Govender commended the levels of engagement and debates throughout the conference, saying they demonstrated Africa's upward movement to greatness.

The gathering was the 32nd successive summit since the body's inaugural meeting in Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1978 where AAPAM had been founded seven years earlier.

The 33rd AAPAM Roundtable is scheduled for Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi next year.

Zingisile Mapazi

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