Public Administration in Africa: Main Issues and Selected Country Studies

Public Administration in Africa: Main Issues and Selected Country Studies

Public Administration in Africa: Main Issues and Selected Country Studies

Public Administration in Africa: Main Issues and Selected Country Studies

Synopsis

The author addresses ten key issues in public administration in Africa, including four issues that have come to the forefront in the 1990s: governance, new public management, information technology, and partnerships involving the public, private, and voluntary sectors. Each issue is treated with a definition of concepts, followed by descriptive and analytical overviews, with illustrations from within Africa, other developing countries, and from the industrialised countries. Knowledge of the public administration systems in Africa is considerably enhanced by eleven case studies covering Benin, Botswana, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Most of these case studies are written by experts from within the countries. The study illustrates that economic policy reform and public administration reform go hand in hand, although the majority of the countries have had to undertake administrative reforms in the context of structural adjustment programmes, and thus external actors have largely determined the thinking and implementation of reform programmes.

Excerpt

This book is a successor volume to my Public Administration: A Nigerian and Comparative Perspective (1983). From its publication until the early 1990s, it was used widely in many sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries as a textbook in universities and in polytechnics as well as in specialized schools and institutes of public administration and management. A new printing was issued in 1986, and a second edition was being discussed in 1990-1991 when the primary market in Nigeria entered a recession. Subsequently the poor governance situation in Nigeria, accompanied by poor economic performance and decaying educational institutions, led to the abandonment of the plan for a second edition that would have kept Nigeria as both the central focus of the book and its market.

However, evidence that Public Administration was still in use in a few Southern African countries in the mid-1990s (notably Botswana and Malawi) led me to return to the idea of a second edition. I decided to maintain the idea of focusing on the main issues in public administration as reflected in the contemporary literature on the subject. Not surprisingly, most of the main issues covered in the 1983 textbook have remained both relevant and current, notably public enterprise management, decentralization, public financial management, human resources management, and accountability. These are topics that would be found in any widely used textbook on public administration for tertiary students in industrialized as well as in developing countries. Four new issues that have assumed considerable salience in the 1990s are covered in the present text: governance, new public management, information technology, and partnerships involving the public, private, and voluntary sectors.

I have also maintained the student-oriented approach of the 1983 book regarding the treatment of the main issues in public administration. Thus, each of the ten chapters in Part 1 begins with a definition of concepts, followed by both descriptive and analytical overviews, with illustrations drawn from Africa, from other developing countries, and from the industrialized countries. This feature of the 1983 book was highly praised by teachers who used it as a textbook.

However, unlike the earlier Nigeria-focused text, this one has separate studies of eleven SSA countries--Benin, Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire . . .

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