The Ministry of Industry and Commerce scooped a prestigious Second Runner-up Award in a tightly contested category of The Most Accountable and Transparent Organisation at the just ended 9th Edition of the Continental Africa Public Service Day (APSD) in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare also grabbed the Second Runner-up in the category of the Best Innovation in Service Delivery. Whilst, the employer of choice, Public Service Commission led by example by grabbing the first prize of the Most Accountable and Transparent Organisation.
The Smart Agriculture project of South Africa was the First Runner Up in the Best Innovation in Service Delivery category.
Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Coast Development Authority, and Huduma Kenya grabbed home 3 awards in the categories of the Best Managed Organisation and Service Delivery.
About eleven African countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burundi, Kingdom of Eswatini, Uganda, Zambia, Algeria and Zimbabwe converged in the resort town of Victoria Falls to celebrate the Africa Public Service Day.
In his remarks during the opening ceremony of the 2023 continental celebrations of the Africa Public Service Day, the Director General of the African Union, His Excellency Ambassador Fathallah Sijilmassi, thanked Zimbabwe for its Pan-African commitment by hosting the commemorations twice to ensure that the African civil servant is recognized and celebrated.
“I would like to acknowledge and express the African Union deep appreciation to the Government of Zimbabwe for graciously hosting the 9th Edition of the Continental APSD.
“Zimbabwe successfully hosted the 8th Edition of the APSD in 2021, this is despite the COVID-19 constraints. By extending their generosity and the warm welcome extended to us on our arrival, Zimbabwe continues to demonstrate its commitment to fostering the ideals of public service excellence”, said Amb Sijilmassi.
Explaining about the origin of the APSD, Amb Sijilmassi said the Continental Day to recognize the role of the public service was established by a Charter adopted at a conference held in 2001 in Namibia.
“APSD emanates from the declaration of the first Pan-African Conference of Ministers of Public and Civil Service held in Tangier, Morocco in 1994, where the Ministers constituted this forum and agreed that 23 June every year should be set aside and dedicated as Africa Public Service Day.
“The 2nd Pan-African Conference of Ministers of Public Service held in Rabat, Morocco in 1998 set the foundation for establishing a Charter for the Public Service in Africa.
“The Africa Public Service Charter was adopted at the 3rd Conference held in Windhoek, Namibia in 2001.
“During the 4th Pan-African Conference held in Stellenbosch, South Africa in 2004, the meeting acknowledged the importance of the APSD initiative as part of the continental strategy to boost public administration programmes, public sector performance and governance.
“Since then, APSD has been celebrated in Namibia (2007), in Tanzania (2009 and 2011), Ghana (2013), Congo (2015), Rwanda (2017), and Kenya (2019)”, said the Director General of the African Union.
Delivering his keynote address, Professor Paul Mavima, who was the Guest of Honour at the closing ceremony of the event, expressed Zimbabwe’s commitment to ensure the role of the public service is given the recognition it deserves in Africa in the spirit of Pan-African inclusive development agenda.
“On the onset, I must express Zimbabwe’s recognition of the critical role and function of the Public Service in nation building and development. A role which must now be elevated beyond the individual nation state, towards African unity, development and renaissance.
“Zimbabwe and its people have no difficulty in discerning and accepting the merit of continental integration as a panacea for the most urgent and pressing challenges of our time….youth unemployment”, said Hon Minister Prof Mavima.
Meanwhile, the Hon Minister Prof Mavhima took the opportunity to emphasise to the delegates that the same spirit of APSD could be utilised to promote the AfCFTA.
”As far as trade is concerned, Africa contributes only 3% of global trade, even though it accounts for 17% of the world’s population. Intra-Africa trade presently stands at only 15%.
“Distinguished delegates, I find no delight in painting this gloomy picture.
“The continent has therefore a great opportunity for radical economic and social transformation. The readily available key to unlock this potential is continental economic integration.
“Effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will consolidate the African market by creating the world’s largest free trade area spanning 54 Countries, with a population of more than 1.3 billion people, a potential combined GDP of around US$ 3.4 trillion and the possibility of increasing intra-Africa trade to between 40-50%”, said Hon Prof Mavima.
He added: “This is a game-changer in creating opportunities for decent jobs and decent lives for our people as well as enhancing the competitiveness of African businesses, thereby helping to fulfil our continental vision 2063 of the Africa we want”.
This year’s APSD celebrations ran under the Theme: “The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will require a fit-for-purpose African Public Administration to succeed”.