Institutionalization of Results Culture in African Public Service: What are the Steps?

At its Executive Council meeting in 2018 and its General Assembly in 2019, which took place in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire respectively, the African Community of Practice (AfCoP) revealed its transition plan to become a leading institution for Managing for Development Results (MfDR) in Africa. AfCoP, in its strategy, has demonstrated a plan to institutionalize MfDR in public sectors. The following are the steps.

AfCoP Members during the 2019 AfCoP General Assembly in Abidjan Cote d’ivoire, reaffirmed the
AfCoP’s vision of becoming the leading facilitator of managing development results in Africa:

Photo: AfDB Group.

Contributed by Gemma Mbaya after she has realized the need to change  mindsets toward results-based culture, she proposes ways in which results-based culture can be mainstreamed into institutions, leadership and in the lives of African people. #AfCoP19

Lead the discussion on the results culture

Along with building the foundations of a credible, relevant, creative and sustainable institution, AfCoP will provide opportunities for discussions to promote the exchange of ideas that can lead to meaningful innovation to further the transformation agenda of the Continent (African Union Agenda 2063) and Sustainable Development Goals. In this context, AfCoP will bring together different experts and state and non-state actors to guide research and the process of institutionalizing a results-based culture in government policies and structures.

Put Results First and Activities Second

AfCoP is built on the rationale that the implementation of MfDR rests on the ability of organizations to focus on results rather than on techniques and processes to achieve those results. This does not lessen the importance of technical processes, but rather the use and significance of techniques and processes are viewed through the lens of the results sought and not in the number of activities performed. It also means that results implementation is underpinned by an iterative process that is characterized by reviewing progress through monitoring and evaluation, learning from what works and does not work and making essential adjustments. Thus, AfCoP’s preliminary step is to work with Governments to institutionalize benchmarks in the mandates of those who are entrusted by the public to manage development results, as well as to increase soft and hard skillsets required for them to achieve results within their areas of jurisdiction.

Encouragement of development results should be emphasized in leadership

AfCoP recognizes that in each country there is the political will to achieve development results but that the main challenge is to translate that political will into political action. Case studies have demonstrated that leadership is a core building block to realize development results. Lessons learned from these case studies indicate that leaders who possess a development mindset ensure that development strategies are properly funded. They cast the vision and forge alliances with both state and non-state actors to move forward to implement results. They do not merely consult stakeholders, but they actively involve and allow them to manage and take “ownership” of the planned results.

Another aspect of such leaders is that they listen to and accept feedback, promote learning and identify good practices for updates and replication. They celebrate results achieved with all groups involved and provide incentives when public managers are responsible for results. AfCoP intends to use some of these best practices to promote mindset change to achieve development results at all levels of leadership.

In light of the above, institutionalizing results-based cultures should be seen to be occurring at both national and grassroots levels. All political and social leaders have roles to play in ensuring the citizens and civil servants embrace MfDR. While political leaders drive the process of development results at the national level, social leaders should engage communities to produce their own development results. Communities should be both drivers and beneficiaries of development results. Combining national-level structures and traditional institutions will increase the probabilities that MfDR will succeed in aligning African cultural and traditional practices to ensure that development results respond to the needs of local people. AfCoP’s process of institutionalizing a results-based culture is designed to link it to Africa’s past and identity, without which development results will remain incomplete. In this way, the fire of achieving results in the Continent will continue to glow and grow beyond the current development agendas.


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