The African Union (AU) Public Service day
Africa Public Service Day (APSD) has been celebrated on the 23rd of June annually since the declaration of the 1st Pan-African Conference of Ministers for Public/Civil Service in Tangier, Morocco 1994. APSD gained international imminence in December 2002 after the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) designated the 23rd of June as the United Nations Public Service Day. APSD under the auspices of the AU is celebrated by all member states in recognition of institutional contributions, professionalism and virtuous service rendered in the African continent.
This year, Ghana was unanimously elected to hold the APSD celebrations, the theme was: “Africa Public Service in the Age of Open Government: Giving Voice to Citizens”. At theOpening Ceremony in Accra Ghana on 17th June, Hon. Kwasi Oppong Minister Local Government Rural Development described the Theme as one which explored the shift in governance from government centric to a people centric approach. In his Welcome Address, Hon. Alhassan Azong, welcomed delegates to Accra pointing out that in spite of the heterogeneous nature of delegates represented at the celebrations, a common denominator was their relentless pursuit for excellence in Public Administration.
AAPAM Vice President West Africa and Chairman of the Public Service Ghana, Hon. Bridget Katsriki led AAPAM delegation in the weeklong event to mark APSD. In her address, Hon. Katsriku, who described herself as a proud public servant, differentiated between the roles bestowed upon politicians and those executed by public servants describing the later as non-elected officials who work hand in hand with the government of the day in formulating and implementing policies and programmes aimed at improving the lives of citizenry; to maintain this clear mandate, Hon. Katsriku discouraged the politicization of public service. As engineers of public policy who worked timelessly to steer countries development agenda for effective functionality, she went on to encourage governments to build a well-trained, competent civil service workforce imbibed with values of professionalism, impartiality and accountability. To ensure the aforementioned values, adherence to the recently ratified Public Service Charter was necessary.
In a Keynote Address delivered on behalf of H.E John Dramani Maham President of Ghana by Hon. Hannah Tetteh- Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration-, the President urged governments to give voice to citizens through effective citizen engagement and participation forums as this not only deepened democracy but also facilitated governance; as policies formulated in line with citizens needs and views tended to be more effective. The President termed strong parliament as the bedrock of democracy, giving the Republic of Ghana as an example of how parliamentarians represent the will of the people. This symbiotic relationship ultimately leads to improved service delivery. In conclusion Hon. Tetteh, paraphrasing H.E. the President, urged governments and in the same line, public servants to value progress over “success” in her opinion, the former was a deliberate sequential progressive effort which, in the long run, yielded more returns as opposed to success which had a finality end result connotation. In the spirit of the day, the President reflected on the AU 50th Gold Jubilee Anniversary continental theme: “Pan-Africanism and Renaissance” he called on leaders to reinvigorate the spirit of Pan-Africanism authored by Africa’s greatest leaders and pass this to the younger generation as solidarity is vital to economic, social and political progress.
The week long celebrations from 17th- 23rd June included plenary sessions, exhibitions by both Public and Private sector from Ghana and other African countries, health walk, award ceremony and excursions. The high profile event was attended by State Ministers, Heads of Public Service, Members of Parliament, Commissioners, Members of the AU, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Young Professionals among other leaders from different African countries.
For further information and the Public Service Charter visit www.aapam.org