The decision to celebrate on the 23rd June of each year the Africa Day of the Civil Service and Administration was taken at the first Pan African Conference of Ministers of Civil Service held in Tangier (Morocco) in June 1994. The same date was later chosen by the UN to mark the UN Public Service Day. In Mauritius, we are celebrating this important event for the fourth time.
This gives us an opportunity to reflect on the functions of the Civil Service, its mission and objectives as well as its challenges. The public sector has a preponderant role to play in the developmental process of the country. Experience demonstrates that without good governance, nationally or internationally, and an efficient, competent, professional, responsive and highly dedicated public service, sustainable development and livelihood are jeopardized.
The UN Secretary General, in his speech at the World Youth Forum, stressed the importance of public service by encouraging the world's youth to enter into this field. He said: “In this changing world of new challenges, we need, more than ever before, dedicated and talented individuals to enter public service. More than ever before, we need people like you sitting here today, to make the choice of service to mankind”.
As a legacy of colonial times, the practice of public administration has been dominated by western models. It is only recently that efforts have been made to depart from such models so as to be more responsive to the country's developmental needs. The transformation of public administration into an effective and efficient vehicle at the service of the people is a formidable challenge. The public sector should therefore be innovative in its approach. The ultimate objective is to have an efficient Civil Service, characterized by merit, professionalism, impartiality, honesty and accountability. In targeting this objective, we have had to undergo the inevitable process of reforms, capacity building, promotion of agencies in the fields of quality and productivity and also decentralization of services.
Today, we can safely say that, with the relentless support that we have received from different quarters and stakeholders, we are on the right track. The profound transformation taking place in the Civil Service should inspire us to look to the future with more assurance and optimism. We need to make of the Civil Service a powerful instrument for the timely implementation of Government policies while taking on board the rapid changes in the global economy.
We offer our best wishes to each and every member of the Civil Service on this special occasion.
K. Ponnusamy
Senior Chief Executive