Delegates at an ongoing three-day Africa Public Service Day conference in Kigali have urged governments across the continent to better involve the youth in national development policies and the delivery of public services.
With about 65 per cent of Africa’s total population aged below 35, policymakers gathered in Kigali have reiterated that it is impossible to effectively deliver public services and bring about socio-economic development without involving young people.
Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi told more than 500 participants at the opening of the meeting yesterday that their recommendations after the event should include how best governments can put their youth to good use in their development plans.
“Recommendations from this meeting will play an important role. I strongly recommend that you advise on how to best partner with the youth. Please do not forget to advise Africa on how to promote resilience, self-reliance and empowering the youth for socio-economic development,” he said.
Murekezi told the delegates that in order to help African youth raise their productive capacities, governments must provide trainings that match labour market opportunities and commit to deliver public services with integrity, excellence, and professionalism.
“Excellent service delivery is what Africans need and deserve. It is a right and not a favour,” he said.
Celebrated on June 23 annually by African Union (AU) member states to mark and appreciate the work being done by the public service, the Africa Public Service Day is also marked every two years at a continental level and hosted by one of AU member countries.
The celebrations were previously held at the continental level in Namibia (2007), Tanzania (2009 and 2011), Ghana (2013), and Republic of Congo (2015).
The event in Kigali is being held under the theme, “Entrenching a citizen-centred service delivery culture: partnering with the youth for Africa’s transformation.”
The Commissioner for Political Affairs at the AU Commission, Minata Samate Cessouma, told delegates at the meeting that with about 35 per cent of the youth in Africa lacking access to decent work, governments need to ensure that the youth are better organised to be more productive and contribute to national development.
“We need to put the youth at the centre of our development policies,” she said.
She urged governments across the continent to review their education and training programmes to ensure that the youth learn skills that are well tailored to the labour market while also absorbing the right kind of values they need to positively contribute to development in their communities.
According to Sicily Kariuki, the Kenyan public service, youth and gender cabinet secretary, reforming the public service is crucial for good governance and better service delivery.
She called for the public service sector across the continent to be more pro-people and care for the most vulnerable in society.
“Fundamentally we are required to show solidarity with the vulnerable as members of the public service. Reform of the public service is crucial for good governance and better service delivery,” said Kariuki, who is also the chairperson of the AU sub-committee on public service and administration.
Discussions at the three-day conference are being held around four main topics such as how to entrench citizen-centred public service delivery by involving the youth for the continent’s transformation.
Other topics are about using the youth to develop a responsive and sustainable public service system, leveraging ICT skills to deliver quality service, and promoting self-reliance and empowerment of African youth for socio-economic development.