Public service key to AfCFTA implementation
The Sunday Mail | 22nd June 2023
By The Sunday Mail
African countries should prioritise upskilling and digitising the public service in order to accelerate
implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) protocols, especially in areas where tariff phasedown has been agreed.
This came out during the ongoing three-day Public Service Day commemorations being held in Victoria Falls. The AfCFTA agreement aims to provide broader and deeper economic integration across the continent, as well as attract investment, boost trade, provide better jobs, reduce poverty and increase shared prosperity in Africa.
In an interview on the sidelines of the commemorations, Secretary to Service Commissions Dr Tsitsi Choruma said, in order for Africa to develop, there is need to improve public service delivery.
“The operationalisation (of the AfCFTA) requires that governments become committed, not only in words but in deed,” she said. “Hence, the creation of policies and guidelines that enable the ministries that are responsible to activate this cross-border trade around Africa to happen.” Governments, Dr Choruma said, have not yet done enough to promote this agenda.
“We have put our signatures on paper, but actions need to start happen. Government workers need to be capacitated, employ new types of skills, enhance the existing skills and finally put infrastructure, soft and hard. “Developed countries have come with infrastructure to facilitate movement of goods from Africa to Europe, but Africa has not developed the same to move goods from one African country to the other.” Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Permanent Secretary Mr Simon Masanga said opening borders will lead to massive development and improved standards of living. “We have farmers who end up throwing away their fresh products like tomatoes at Mbare, but our neighboring countries are in need of those tomatoes. “If we open borders, farmers will not be afraid to have their produce rot due to boarder delays. That is enhancing business through improved public service delivery to uplift citizens from poverty and encouraging development,” said Mr Masanga. Public Service Day is celebrated annually on June 23 and bi-annually at a continental level to mark and recognise the significance of the public service.