President Uhuru Kenyatta has said public servants are entrusted to be custodians of public good and must always put the nation before their self-interests.
The Head of State said this as he underscored the importance of an effective public service to achieve sustainable development.
President Kenyatta, who spoke when he addressed the 7th Africa Public Service Day at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), said Africa is on the rise but needs bold and transformative leadership to keep it on the trajectory of growth.
He said African governments need to be supported by a diligent, well-motivated and professional public service to enable national and individual prosperity adding that the workforce must have integrity.
“This monumental task calls for unyielding commitment; clear and coherent vision; bold transformative leadership; and, above all else, promotion of integrity and “working hard” culture,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said Africa is committed to finding uniquely African solutions to its own challenges.
“Ours must not be to copy-paste solutions adopted in other jurisdictions; instead, we must create answers tailor-made to answer the questions that Africa faces today and will face in the future,” the President said at the conference attended by Ministers and representatives from 35 African Union member states.
He said African governments and those entrusted with the management of public resources must do so in accountable, transparent and responsible manner.
“It is for this reason that my Administration has laid emphasis on the issue of good governance within the Public Service, as well as heightening our efforts to combat corruption,” the Head of State said.
He said no government can fully achieve its development agenda in the absence of a well functioning and results-oriented public service.
“The centrality of an efficient and effective Public Service as the cornerstone for any Nation’s achievement of its development agenda cannot be gainsaid,” said the President.
He called on public servants to ensure that development and progress does not benefit a few but should be for all.
“Development must not be limited to a favoured few; it is the inalienable right of all the Sons and Daughters of Africa,” President Kenyatta said as he called for reforms in government policies to adopt to emerging challenges and opportunities.
“Advances in Information Communication Technology, Big Data, Genetics, Artificial Intelligence and other frontier areas must be incorporated into Government Service Delivery,” he said.
The President urged governments across the continent to focus more on providing the youth with opportunities for employment, self-expression and innovation.
He specifically pitched for sustainable investments in education, technical and vocational skills development, access to start-up capital and an easier regulatory environment.
“We are called upon to consider how to include the ever-growing youth population and other economically disadvantaged groups, in mainstream social and economic activities so as to harness their entrepreneurial skills, energy and potential,” the President said.
He told participants at the conference which showcases Africa’s best in public service that Huduma Centres have made it easy for Kenyans to access public service.
The award-winning Huduma Centres, the centralized one-stop-shop for government services, currently has 52 outposts spread across Kenya bringing services closer to the people.
“These centres offer over 104 different services with a customer satisfaction level of 95%,” the President noted, adding that cumulatively, the centres have served over 24 million Kenyans and saved over Ksh 74 billion since inception.
The conference whose theme is ‘the intersection of youth empowerment and migration: entrenching a culture of good governance, ICT and innovation for inclusive service delivery’ will, besides showcasing best practice in public service, recognise and award outstanding entities in public sector performance, management and development in Africa.
The special focus of the African Union on the youth in most of its programmes including public service reforms is premised on the fact that by the year 2050, Africa will have a youth population of 830 million.
Public Service Cabinet Secretary Prof Margaret Kobia and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko spoke at the conference which will run for three days.