By Haruna Gimba
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has just released its 2018 Ibrahim Forum Report: Public Service in Africa.
The report will inform the discussion of the 2018 Ibrahim Forum taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, on Saturday 28 April.
The Forum will focus on Public Service in Africa: its key relation to good governance and effective leadership, new challenges and current shortcomings, and the ways and means to strengthen it and make it appealing to the next generation.
Mo Ibrahim, Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said: “Public service is the pillar of governance. Without strong public services and committed public servants, there will be no efficient delivery of expected public goods and services, nor implementation of any commitment, however strongly voiced.”
The 2018 Report first looks at the demand addressed to African public services, pointing at growing expectations from citizens.
New demands stem from the 21st century’s multiple challenges and Africa’s specific young and urbanising demography: solidarity, protection against various criminal threats, jobs, business enabling environment, culture, climate change mitigation and rural sector development.
These pile up on traditional demands – safety and security, health, education, justice – for which citizens’ dissatisfaction appears growing.
The report highlights the need to build a sound contract between citizens and public service providers.
Trust being key to any sound deal, transparency and accountability need to be ensured, and commitments implemented.
On a continent where external financial flows are still equivalent to almost half of domestic tax revenues, where tax revenues only amount to less than 15 per cent GDP on average, and where a majority of citizens are in favour of paying for their public services, strengthening tax collection is a key path to autonomy and ownership.