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Economic Commission for Africa

Public Sector Management Reforms in Africa

Economic Commission for Africa

Public Sector Management Reforms in Africa: Lessons Learned

Development Policy Management Division (DPMD) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia December 2003

For this and other publications, please visit the ECA website at the following address: or contact: Publications Economic Commission for Africa P.O. Box 3001 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Tel.: 251-1-44 31 68 Fax: 251-1-51 03 65 E-mail: All rights reserved First Printing August 2004 Material from this publication may be freely quoted or reprinted. Acknowledgment is requested, together with a copy of the publication. The views expressed are those of its authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations. Edited and designed b ECA’s Communication Team. Printed by the ECA Documents Reproduction and Distribution Unit (DRDU).


FOREWORD PREFACE LIST OF ACRONYMS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1. THE POLITICAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONTEXTS 1.1 Major Political Changes in Africa 1.2 Major Socio-economic Policies and Programmes since the 1980s 2. THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK 2.1 Good Governance and Public Sector Management Reforms 2.2 New Public Management 3. ORGANIZATIONAL MECHANISMS FOR PUBLIC SECTOR REFORMS 3.1 Interorganizational Mechanisms 3.2 Interorganizational Strategies 4. NEW PUBLIC MANAGEMENT: SELECTED APPLICATIONS 4.1 Decentralized Management 4.3 Cost Recovery: User Fees and Charges 4.4 Performance Contracting 4.5 Accrual Accounting 4.6 Commercialization 4.7 ICTs in Public Service Delivery 4.8 Public Reporting 4.9 Citizens Charter 5.1 Institutional Capacity 5.2 Multiple Accountability v vii ix xi 1 1 2 5 5 6 9 9 12 15 15 18 20 21 22 24 27 28 31 33


5.3 Declining Public Service Ethics 5.4 Access to ICTs 6. STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING PUBLIC SECTOR PERFORMANCE 6.1 Total Quality Management 6.2 Organizational Strategic Management 6.3 Training and Human Resource Capacity Building 7. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REFERENCES BOXES 1. Decentralized Management in Uganda 2. Subsidiarity in Benin 3. Cost-Sharing towards Sustainable Health in Sub-Saharan Africa – Selected Examples from Central African Republic, Zaire, Senegal, Cameroon and Guinea-Bissa 4. Performance Contracting in Ghana 5. Accrual Accounting in Botswana 6. Commercialization in Africa – Ethiopian Airlines 7. ICTs in Secondary Schools in Senegal 8. Supporting Free and Fair Elections in South Africa 9. Public Reporting in Mauritius 10. Fundamental Principles of the African Public Service Charter

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During the last two decades, most African countries have embarked on comprehensive public sector reform programmes, and in many cases have received assistance from international institutions. However, despite the tremendous efforts and resources that have been allocated to this endeavour, progress remains scant. Public sector management reforms are a central feature of economic policy reform programmes. However, the performance of such reforms in Africa remains hindered by a myriad of factors including lack of efficiency, lack of accountability, ineffective management practices, and corruption. In response to the need to promote better public sector performance, the Development Policy Management Division (DPMD) of ECA held an Ad-Hoc Expert Group Meeting (AEGM) on Public Sector Management Reforms in Africa from 28 to 29 May 2003. The purpose of the meeting was to bring together officials and experts from public service institutions and knowledge networks to review the status of public sector reforms being undertaken, and to identify successful experiences, and best practices in African public sector management reforms. The main aim was to finalize a paper on public sector management reforms in Africa, based on the...
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