Public Sector Reform in Africa

Topics: Government, Public administration, Development Pages: 13 (4113 words) Published: August 21, 2012
Individual Assignment

Submitted by:Captain Lewis Mbilizi

Submitted to:

Dr Kingstone Ngwira

Date: 2nd December, 2011
1. The Public Sector in Africa has suffered from state centralisation and the current Public Sector Reforms in Africa are a failure because they are a mere reflection of colonial legacies (Ngwira 2011). Discuss this statement.

According to Norman (2008), Public Sector is those parts of economy that are either in state ownership or under contract to the state and those parts that are regulated or subsidized in the public interest. This definition does provide a clear boundary between the Public and Private Sectors as the processes of contracting for outsourced services whereby the private companies provide all or part of the services makes the boundary less clear. Only in cases of privatized assets is where this is clear although privatized assets may maintain strong link with the parent ministries.

Public service has always been the tool available to African governments for the implementation of developmental goals and objectives whom the reform is meant for together with the vehicle of the reform. The current drive to improve management in governments through public service reform programs to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and the delivery of quality service to the public is common to many African countries, including Malawi. State controlled public administration moved away from being mere watchmen, to being the engine of the society and become the major provider of various services, including regulatory and distributive ones. Governments, in many parts of the world, are structurally and constitutionally tied to the civil service, irrespective of the system of government.

Almost all African countries are caught in the web of public sector reform. Good governance and efficient public administration are regarded as a wishful thought without public sector reform. Also, accountability, transparency, and merit-driven public service are thought to be unachievable except programs of public sector reform are drawn up. Efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness of government to the yearning of its citizens can only be gauged through the lenses of the public sector reform. African governments are, therefore, churning out policies on a daily basis. Not minding their relevance and positive impact on their people provided, these policies are part of the new public sector management in the name of public sector reform, not minding the fact that the public sector reform was suggested and imposed on the African countries by external interests.

Public service reforms, which have taken place in Africa during the last two decades, are part of a global phenomenon that has touched all parts of the world – developed, developing, and countries in transition (Mutahaba & Kiragu, 2002). While the African leaders innocently and ignorantly accepted the externally induced programs of reforming their public sector institutions as a way of bettering the lives of their citizens, the developed countries that are propellers of donor agencies are interested in re-colonizing African countries through the back donors. It is a subtle way of neo-colonialism and consequent perpetual slavery without realizing it. In Malawi, for instance, the Public Sector Reform (PSR) has been on the agenda for a number of years. The reform of the civil service is one of the central themes of the government’s agenda. For without a transparent and effective civil service, government business and service delivery to the public will be crippled and mired in dishonesty and graft (Mhone). Efficient transparent and accountable civil service should be the hallmark of our democratic transformation and development. Indeed, it has been argued that at independence in 1964, the public sector in Malawi was...

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