A report on the state of public services in Africa has just been released by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. And its findings are a damning indictment of the failure by the African leadership to deliver on some of the continent’s most pressing areas for development , writes reGina Jane Jere.
The 128-page report which will be a point of focus at the 2018 Ibrahim Forum taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, next weekend and discusses Public Services delivery in Africa, and how it relates to good governance and effective leadership on the continent. “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,” says Mo Ibrahim, the businessman founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
The Report, points at growing public service delivery expectations from citizens across the continent more so among Africa’s burgeoning and urbanised youth. For the first time therefore, the Forum will be preceded on 27 April, by the ‘Next Generation Forum’ where the youth will discuss their expectations from public service delivery. The outcomes from this youth Forum, will be the be deliberated the following day at the main Forum. Backed by data, facts and figures, the Report not only paints a very poor picture of the state of public services across a variety of sectors: from safety and security, health, education, climate change to justice and much more – it also highlights the need to build a sound contract between citizens and public service providers.
“This calls for a careful assessment of who is best positioned to address these demands and who has to pay for the delivery,” it states
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.
On average, according to a statement released with the Report, African public services display a continent-wide lack of capacity. They remain a relatively small employer, at a cost higher than in other regions, with large country disparities.
“ In health, education and security, public supply is far from answering the demand. And to partly answer the exponential demand and substitute failing public supply, a growing range of non-state actors have become key providers of public goods and services, to an extent that may have sometimes prevented national governments from owning public policies,” it reads further.
Here are some of the Highlights from the report which cab accessed in full here.
- Only three countries – Libya, Mauritius and Tunisia, have at least one doctor per 1,000 people
- Filling the void left by public services, private security, private education, and private health are rising exponentially, with the risk of widening inequalities on the continent
- DRC and Kenya have some of the smallest police force rates globally, with around 100 officers per 100,000 people
- Cairo’s population is larger than each of the 36 least populous countries on the continent
- Five out of the ten African countries with the largest public health expenditures as a % of total government expenditure are also among the ten countries with the highest share of external financing of their total health expenditure
- 30% to 50% of Africa’s total tax liability remains uncollected
- The average size of the informal sector in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated at 42% of gross national income, reaching 60% in Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe
- Sub-Saharan Africa, the average for private health expenditure is 57.4%, more than twice the level of Europe & Central Asia
- In Africa on average, public employees are better educated, older, and include more women compared to the private sector
- In Nigeria, roughly 82.3 million bribes were paid in 2016, equivalent to 39% of the combined federal and state education budget
- Mauritius is the only country where civil servants are appointed and evaluated entirely based on professional criteria, according to Global Integrity
- Africa loses around $2.0 billion annually through brain drain in the health sector
- In Ethiopia, local governments have only 21% of working days with Internet access, equivalent to only one day in a working week
- 22% of Africa’s population who had contact with a public service in 2015 said they paid a bribe, mostly to the police and the courts
- Ghana is the only country where civil servants operate entirely freely without political interference, according to Global Integrity
- In e-government, Africa lags far behind the global average In Rwanda, the delivery time of an emergency blood supply with drones is reduced to 30 minutes from three hours by road
- Many Indices point to a low and decreasing level of open government practices in Africa
- Over the past decade, the African average for the Accountability of Public Officials has deteriorated, with the pace of decline worsening over the last five years
- A majority of African citizens are in favour of paying for public services
- Only seven African countries have a complete birth registration system
- In Rwanda, the delivery time of an emergency blood supply with drones is reduced to 30 minutes from three hours by road.
Filling the void left by public services, private security, private education, and private health are rising exponentially, with the risk of widening inequalities on the continent
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was established in 2006 with a focus on the critical importance of leadership and governance in Africa. By providing tools to support progress in leadership and governance, the Foundation aims to promote meaningful change on the continent.
The Foundation, which is a non-grant making organisation, focuses on defining, assessing and enhancing governance and leadership in Africa through initiatives including Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, which celebrates excellence in African leadership. It is awarded to a former Executive Head of State or Government by an independent Prize Committee. Previous Laureates: Presidents Joaquim Chissano (2007, Mozambique), Festus Mogae (2008, Botswana), Pedro Pires (2011, Cabo Verde and Hifikepunye Pohamba (2014, Namibia) and Nelson Mandela (The 2007, South Africa)
Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 2017 Laureate and she will officially be honoured and receive the Award at a gala dinner in Kigali on 27 April.