Mo Ibrahim Foundation releases report on state of Africa’s public services

The Sudanese-British billionaire Mohammed "Mo" Ibrahi. File photo.

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.

The 128-page report will be a point of focus at the 2018 Ibrahim Forum taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, next weekend and whose premise is Public Service in Africa, and how that 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, the Forum will be preceded on April 27, by the ‘Next Generation Forum’ where the youth will discuss their expectations from public service delivery.

The outcomes from this youth forum will 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.

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.

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 April 27.

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