The Africa Delivery Exchange (ADX) is an annual event that brings government leaders and practitioners together from across the continent to share their delivery learnings and experiences. ADX 2022 was hosted by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI) and the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town (NMS-UCT). The event was held on 10–12 October 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa.
ADX 2022 focused on climate, technology, health and industrialisation delivery in the public sector. Across these themes, presenters highlighted the importance of political will and the authority of super ministries as coordinating and financing bodies for delivery implementation. Speakers also emphasised the critical importance of capable leaders who are results orientated, implement quickly and revise flexibly; who enhance horizontal as well as vertical work structures; and who invest in staff learning and engage international-comparison methodologies.
When working with policymakers to develop and implement public-policy programmes, training junior, medium- and high-level staff simultaneously is best practice. An intergenerational approach builds the capacity of junior and mid-level public personnel to meaningfully engage in and contribute to policy implementation; policy on the continent is viewed as high level and only implementable by a few.
Invest in contemporary strategies and programmes that engage the youth, who are a resource for future governance and leadership in Africa. This includes investing in training a critical mass of tech experts on the continent as well as investing in other human resources or expertise needed for effective public service, such as product management and behavioural sciences. Tracking and addressing skills scarcity is recommended.
A longer-term focus on implementation will bring transformation. Conversely, a shorter-term focus, often determined by political cycles, results in numerous transitions and discontinuities that negatively impact effective delivery.
Data and integrated digital technology enable better utility for users and increase collaboration for scaling up solutions in public-sector systems. This technology is essential as these systems can provide critical information in a central place that allows for funds and services to be deployed efficiently. In several governments, multiple competing information and communication technology (ICT) systems are found within parastatals and ministries – resulting in fragmentation – because these systems are aligned to various development partners globally. Governments are encouraged instead to build IT systems that interact with and are compatible with existing ecosystems. Tech delivery should be coordinated as shared national infrastructure and aligned to provincial and municipal governance needs. Further, citizen adaptation and adoption of technology remains a priority.
Strategic partnerships are critical for delivery and implementation across multiple stakeholders. While the nexus between public-private partnerships is emphasised, an inclusive stakeholder pool enables sustainable delivery. Partnerships in alignment to global and pan-African public-sector policies and mechanisms are recommended.
In opening remarks, TBI Managing Director for Africa Rishon Chimboza drew attention to the lack of faith in democratic practices towards delivering social and economic transformation on the continent. He emphasised the need for leaders to continue to disrupt normative ways of working and embrace contemporary ways of achieving growth and transformation towards efficient service delivery.
ADX 2022 marks the fourth edition of this annual event, which speaks to the continuity and commitment of TBI to equip government leaders with the knowledge they need to implement effective public-service systems. The new partnership between the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) and the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town (NMS-UCT) for ADX 2022 brought together a number of participants from across the globe, virtually and in person, in Cape Town, South Africa. Leaders discussed four interconnected thematic areas of government delivery: climate, technology, industrialisation and health.
In addition to a variety of delivery leaders, practitioners and academics in attendance throughout the event, three dignitaries featured on the keynote panel:
HE Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera (President of the Republic of Malawi)
HE Patrick Achi (Prime Minister of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire)
HE Rt Hon Tony Blair (Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
(Their insightful remarks set the tone of the conference and will be discussed in more detail in the next chapter of this report.)
The opening session of the event also offered a recap on the ADX-Climate Forum, which was held in Cape Town, South Africa (5–7 October 2022) just prior to ADX 2022. Professor Faizel Ismail of NMS-UCT stated the importance of understanding climate-change terminology and how this is applicable in various contexts; addressing information, policy and implementation gaps; coordinating the sharing of experiences vertically and horizontally; focusing on advancing the narrative and unity of the African continent (e.g. AfCFTA); and developing the political and diplomatic capacity of African negotiators in key global forums. A slogan that came out of ADX-Climate was that “[African] countries will get what they negotiate”.
The leadership session, which was moderated by Awo Ablo (Executive Vice President, Strategy & Partnerships, TBI), focused on redefining delivery to meet current and emerging challenges. A synopsis of some key insights from each leader are discussed below. These ideas were reiterated throughout the conference and will be elaborated upon in further detail later in this report.
HE Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera
The commencement of President Chakwera’s tenure in 2020 saw him clearing obstacles and behaviours that had been accepted as normal and yet were failing to efficiently deliver services to the Malawian populace. The president worked to improve accountability and transparency where there had previously been impunity by initiating the Malawi delivery unit (DU) as an acceleration mechanism. Strategically, the person in charge of the DU also leads the civil service. President Chakwera emphasised the importance of a whole-of-government approach to public service, with coordinated tasks. He also emphasised the potential for inclusive growth and access to public services, noting that remote communities and underserved populations should equally benefit from delivery implementation.
HE Patrick Achi
Prime Minister Achi emphasised that delivery is context specific and tends to be implemented more strongly by governments who initiate DUs to address specific needs and realities. He noted that heads of state need to leverage their authority and provide guidance on priority areas, with DUs fulfilling complementary functions to the government. Where financing DUs can be a challenge, their location in key sectors such as the Ministry of Economy and Finance is beneficial. Further, attracting the resource base of the private sector ensures that governments are not working with limited resources. Prime Minister Achi drew attention to the capability of the administration, stating that good people, good procedures, good tracking processes and good governance will produce good results. Among newer developments, Prime Minister Achi stated that investing in e-learning will aptly equip the next generation as the jobs of the future (for example, in 50 years’ time) are not the jobs of today. These vocations will be technology-driven, and the education system needs to factor this in. Last, observations were made about African countries that are losing skilled workers and key services through “brain drain”. The prime minister emphasised the importance of conducive working environments on the continent that enable competent people to stay.
HE Tony Blair
Tony Blair stated that the biggest challenge is how to focus priorities across all sectors of government towards the core business of delivery. Once a few priorities have been set, they need to be implemented practically and within realistic long-term timeframes – often exceeding presidential administrations. However, certain leapfrog delivery projects are successful and incrementally contribute to a larger goal. To do this work, Mr Blair emphasised the need for capacity building that includes policymaking, planning, performance management and working with measurable objectives towards tangible outputs. Mr Blair ended on an optimistic note about the future of delivery, expressing that there is a new generation of leaders across the continent who have a new approach to government and who understand what needs to be done.
The following section continues debates that were highlighted in the presidential panel through several presentations and discussions on the future of delivery.
3.1 The Future of Delivery
Future of Delivery by Juan Jose Leguia, Senior Delivery Advisor, Centre of Government and Delivery Practice, TBI
Ray Shostak, former Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, UK
The origins of delivery and how it has evolved over time to address implementation challenges
Nzioka Waita, former Chief of Staff to the President of Kenya and Founding Head of the Presidential Delivery Unit
Lessons from the private sector for governments in Africa to accelerate public-service delivery
Professor Faizel Ismail, Director of NMS-UCT
Training policymakers to develop and implement public-policy programmes
Ed Olowo-Okere, Senior Advisor, Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions (EFI), World Bank Group
Leveraging and integrating digital technology and other practices (for example, behavioural science and human-centred design) into public-sector systems
James Wanki, Spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada
Good examples of how donor-funded projects are helping to build trust and increase citizen engagement
Carlos Lopes, Honorary Professor at NMS-UCT
Mainstreaming an evidence-based culture into public-policy implementation
The origins of delivery and how it has evolved over time to address implementation challenges.
Lessons from the private sector for governments in Africa to accelerate public-service delivery.
Training policymakers to develop and implement public-policy programmes.
Leveraging and integrating digital technology and other practices (for example, behavioural science and human-centred design) into public-sector systems.
Sharing best practices on how donor-funded projects are helping to build trust and increase citizen engagement.
3.1.2 Key Takeaways (including discussions in the Q&A)
Political will is critical. Governments have to set the right level of ambition and keep up the momentum. To leapfrog, it is important that leaders share and articulate their vision clearly.
Invest in and empower the youth as a growing resource for future governance and leadership in Africa.
Relentless prioritisation, with a focus on a handful of practical and implementable outcomes.
The importance of being agile. Creating an environment that is conducive to fostering experimentation, failing forward, innovation and development – and avoiding reinventing the wheel.
Data and technology enable better utility for users and increase collaboration for scaling up solutions. For instance, through its Huduma Kenya portal the Kenyan government has made it possible for the public to access 350 government services online and with transparency. As such, more than 1 billion has been generated in revenue through this portal.
Governments can learn from the private sector, especially in how they prioritise and use management practices. Product management can be incorporated into government sectors as a core skill set.
Address the culture of short-term goals and quick fixes that characterise service delivery in Africa. We need to balance urgent expectations with longer term goals for structural transformation.
As a conclusion to the panel Mr Fred Swaniker (founder of the African Leadership Academy) shared a scenario showcasing how governments in the future could use technology to provide better health care, even in remote places. His conclusions reiterated many of the views stated above: particularly that data plays a critical role in informing national budgeting and policy outcomes, live data results in a quick turnaround from machine learning and data enhances the efficient upscaling of services.
3.2 Best-Practice Application of Delivery Principles and Key Lessons Learned
Country case studies were presented by government DU representatives. The discussions and questions generated from the breakaway groups are outlined below.
Presentation Titles and Presenters
South Africa: Operation Vulindlela
Saul Musker, Director of Strategy and Delivery Support, Private Office of the President, South Africa
Malawi: Coordinating the whole of government through “Delivery Labs”
Colleen Zamba, Secretary to the Office of President and Cabinet, Malawi
Mozambique: Setting up a DU under the Ministry of Economy and Finance to monitor the economic-stimulus acceleration programme
Augusta Maita, Head of the Economic Reform Coordination Office, Mozambique
Morocco: Results from the Ad-Hoc Committee on the Ukraine Crisis and the country’s response
Ahmed Khalid Benomar, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Morocco
3.2.1 Key Takeaways (including discussions in the Q&A)
A successful delivery mechanism will create the demand side in ministries and provide focus and support where it is needed most. The delivery mechanism will avoid being seen as “policing” and “antagonising” by ministries and departments.
Delivery Labs are an excellent catalytic tool to ACTION: Accountability; Collaboration; Troubleshooting; Innovation; Opportunity; Necessity. The Post Lab is equally critical. ACTION remains and delivery is permanent.
A key requirement for delivery is political will, without which all other mechanisms put in place will not work. That will must be demonstrated in the sponsorship of the leader and in the alignment of national planning mechanisms. In addition, budget planning and the consolidation process should reflect this will.
Political cycles are a challenge for delivery. There needs to be more thinking on the longevity of delivery structures and their sustainability in delivering impact. Crises tend to change the sense of priorities. Ad-hoc delivery systems should be put in place to prioritise, control and monitor responses to crises.
Below are additional questions asked in the session, which generated much discussion (and response) from the floor.
How do DUs break through an existing “civil-service culture” – for example, operational creep, non-responsiveness and resistance to change?
How do DUs coordinate their work with existing M&E agencies as well as ministries, and avoid institutional rivalries at the centre of government?
How can DUs acquire “autonomy” to act and not simply be viewed as leveraging the authority of the head of state? Should DUs seek to be autonomous?
How do DUs make decisions about their staffing composition, including the combination of civil servants, and other partners and stakeholders who make up a team?
Is there a difference between a DU and a Delivery or Policy Lab? How does one plan for and set up these labs?
4.1 Tech Delivery for Economic Development
Presentation Titles and Presenters
Dr Rendani Mamphiswana, Head of Research and Innovation, Nafasi Water
National digital infrastructure at the heart of e-government
Daouda Lo, Head of Tech, TBI Senegal
The e-Estonia story
Taavi Linnamäe, Partner, Digital Nation
Adopting a whole-of-government approach to digitalisation for national transformation
Kusum Appiah, Head of Digital Transformation Delivery Unit, Ministry of Communications and Digitisation, Ghana
Percy Chinyama, National Coordinator, SMART Zambia Institute
Dr Ibrahima Dia, Digital-Health Coordinator, Ministry of Health, Senegal
Closing story: The Malawi Delivery Labs
Daud Suleman, Director General, Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority
4.1.1 Key Takeaways (including discussions in the Q&A)
There is a need for contemporary policies and legislation to address tech delivery. For example, Ghana is working towards updating its ICT policies to ensure the nation is ready for what lies ahead. On the other hand, Zambia is a success story: the government’s recent Electronic Government Act No. 41 of 2021 has enabled it to standardise and digitalise public services. E-governance is key to increasing the efficiency of public-service delivery.
Technology for economic development is less about the use of a single technology and more about the convergence of all existing and emerging technologies.
In several African governments, multiple competing tech systems are found within the same sector. Parastatals and ministries use fragmented ICT systems aligned to various development partners globally, whose donor-funded projects specify preferred ICT systems. Coordinating and standardising a shared national infrastructure remains a challenge.
Citizen adaptation and adoption is a priority. Despite the inroads made in Zambia, citizens still largely opt to access public services in person. Communicating and marketing these e-services is necessary for uptake. In Kenya, the adoption of digital technology is encouraged through the removal of taxes on digital purchases.
Funding ICT projects, particularly towards building appropriate infrastructure, remains an issue. Zambia has allocated 1.5 per cent of GDP towards tech-delivery projects. In Ghana, 0.5 per cent of revenue is dedicated to the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications and goes to funding internet connectivity.
Connectivity remains a challenge for African countries that are geographically vast and largely rural. Many districts do not have electricity for internet connectivity. In Estonia, facilitating shared connectivity in public spaces such as schools and local libraries was the first step taken to enhance digital literacy 20 years ago. All teachers were trained to use the computers the government placed in schools.
Additional questions asked in the session, generating much discussion (and response) from the floor, were around the infringement of privacy and the likelihood of compromised personal data online through leaks. The findings from the e-Estonia experience were threefold: first, that cyber-security experts monitor and prevent data leaks; second, that finger-printing mechanisms ensure that individuals have control over their personal data; and third, that the absence of a master database in Estonia means that government departments can only access data that is relevant to the function of their ministry. In that regard, there is control over information online.
Governments were encouraged to build IT systems that interact with and are compatible with existing ecosystems. Tech-delivery services are beneficial when they are globally useful, efficient and relevant to the times. In that regard, Senegal’s journey to e-health (including the e-vaccination programme) started off with the use of basic but efficient IT systems amid limited ICT infrastructure. The health ministry eventually invested in human-resources training. Panellists emphasised that it is not necessary to build IT structures from scratch when there are several existing systems that governments can adapt or customise to suit national needs. Examples were made of prominent open sources such as Escrow and Starlink.
With regards to localisation initiatives and human-resource upskilling, SMART Zambia has set guidelines for all international corporations stating that they cannot bring IT services and personnel into the country without partnering with local institutions and people. Further, these services must be aligned to Zambia’s centralised ICT systems. In addition, SMART Zambia is working in collaboration with the private sector and universities to training a critical mass of citizens in ICT so that they might develop public services further.
5.1 Public-Health Systems in Africa
Presentation Titles and Presenters
Keynote: An Africa-led agenda to strengthen the continent’s health security – “A New Public Health Order for Africa”
Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Acting Director, Africa CDC
Panel and Panellists
Building on lessons from Covid-19 to strengthen public-health systems in Africa
Noella Bigirimana, Deputy Director General, Rwanda Biomedical Centre
Lolem Ngong, Chief of Staff to CEO, Amref Health Africa
Dr Magda Robalo, Former Minister of Public Health, Guinea-Bissau and Global Managing Director, Women in Global Health
5.1.1 Key Takeaways and Messaging
The approach to public-health delivery should be informed by the New Public Health Order for Africa that has been adopted by African Union (AU) member states – focusing on institutions, people, manufacturing, partnerships and complementary domestic funding. The New Public Health Order has helped the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) focus its efforts and build its capacity across the continent.
Health security needs to be a priority on the development agenda and streamlined to the centre of government.
Experience throughout the pandemic clearly demonstrates that public-health delivery is multisectoral at national, regional, continental and global levels. Partnerships are critical. For example:
At a continental level, the Africa CDC uses the regional economic and developmental communities to leverage their structures.
In-country, it is not only the prerogative of ministries of health to address pandemics.
Ministries of finance, transport and trade and so on should simultaneously galvanise and coordinate nationwide responses to health emergencies.
Technology is an enabler of prevention, preparedness and response activities (building on earlier ADX 2022 discussions).
A lot of lessons from the Covid pandemic response include the need to capitalise on investments to build greater preparedness. Speed, expertise, effective partnerships and using existing institutions such as joint task forces strengthened responses.
Africa is good at learning lessons to build resilience, particularly through neighbourly leveraging. How can we further incorporate these solutions post-pandemic?
The health workforce across Africa needs support beyond training, including systems and infrastructure that encourage Africans to stay on the continent.
5.2 Embedding Solutions Emerging From the Pandemic Response
Presentation Titles and Presenters
Case Study 1: Pharmaceutical Technology Transfer in Africa – Issues and Solutions
Dr Hala Audi, CEO, UNIZIMA
Case Study 2: The Role of Technology in Effective Vaccine Delivery
Michael Mekbib, Vaccine Delivery Advisor, TBI Ethiopia
Case Study 3: How a Strengthened Nigeria CDC Led National Response to Covid-19
Elsie Ilori, Director of Surveillance and Epidemiology, Nigeria CDC
Case Study 4: Exemplars in Covid-19 Response
Siobhan Lazenby, Senior Manager, Gates Ventures
The concluding remarks and provocations on health delivery were made by Dr Lwazi Manzi (Head of Secretariat, AU Commission on Africa’s Covid-19 Response). She stated that:
Pandemics need designated finances from the onset. Dr Manzi noted that the continent sought Covid-19 funds after the pandemic had occurred. Presently, investment in the Covid-19 pandemic is shifting in priority. Health-delivery issues that are developing, such as monkeypox, will require funding.
Africa needs the capacity to declare regional pandemics in a timely manner and move quickly to deploy medical intervention.
Technology transfer related to intellectual-property rights is a big issue which Africa must continue to fight.
Call to action: The Head of Secretariat of the AU Commission on Africa’s Covid-19 Response charged the ADX delivery community to centre delivery mechanisms in Africa’s public-health architecture and present this at the AU Heads of State Summit in 2023.
6.1 Industrialisation Delivery
Presentation Titles and Presenters
Chema Triki, Head of Industrialisation, TBI
Panel and Panellists
Effective delivery mechanisms for industrialisation on the continent and learnings from Asian countries
Ivory Coast: Delivery unit at the centre of government for TNA development
Georges Koffi Bolamo, Deputy Cabinet Director (Private Sector), Prime Minister’s Office
Rwanda: The role of the Rwanda Development Board in delivery for industrialisation
Tesi Rusagara, Managing Director, Kigali Innovation City
South Africa: The role of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition in delivering the industrialisation agenda
Nimrod Zalk, Industrial Development Policy Advisor, South African Department of Trade, Industry and Competition
Learnings from delivery models for industrialisation in Asia
Southeast Asian countries: The role of effective public delivery and regional value chains in economic transformation in Southeast Asian countries and comparison with African countries
Professor Kenichi Ohno, faculty, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies and Project Leader, Ethiopia-Japan Industrial Policy Dialogue, supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency
6.1.1 Key Takeaways
For AfCFTA to succeed the continent needs to move on several fronts: first, opening up regional markets; second, building regional industrial value chains so that countries can trade in value-added goods; third, building regional infrastructure.
Fostering industrial development requires strong coordination across multiple government functions such as investment, trade, finance, human resources and infrastructure. Industrialisation must be a government-wide imperative with strong delivery mechanisms.
Policy support to grow industrial sectors generally only succeeds when coupled with performance mechanisms – “carrots and sticks” – to avoid rent-seeking.
A key question is finding the right balance between “offensive” and “defensive” industrial policy. In each country’s context, there are certain high-potential sectors with a reasonable chance of becoming internationally competitive.
“Industry 4.0” or “4IR” must build on earlier technological and industrial capabilities. Most firms still need to integrate third-industrial-revolution technologies. However, emerging technologies are starting to make an impact on many economic sectors, which brings both threats and opportunities for job creation.
6.1.2 Implementation Strategies and Challenges: Narratives Specific to the Case Studies
Successful Implementation Strategies
Strong industrial policies and the right frameworks encourage connectivity across sectors.
Industrialisation is successful in a stable economy which is attractive to funders.
Centralisation or a one-stop shop of industrialisation ecosystem is advantageous.
For instance, the Rwanda Development Board offers several services such as a deal-acceleration team; a skills office to ensure that the right kind of skills are available; and registration and negotiation services, among others.
In another example, the Department of Trade in South Africa is linked to a variety of key institutions such as development banks, the Export Credit Insurance Corporation, the International Trade Administration Commission and competition authorities.
Challenges and Limitations to Implementation
Industrialisation policies are often treated as microeconomic policy, to the detriment of macroeconomic efforts. The international- and domestic-market dynamics matter.
Conflict and political instability have derailed industrial economies, as seen in “start-and-stop” industrialisation processes.
Good governance mechanisms are needed to review import and export companies and intermediary compliance.
Enforcing small-and-medium-enterprise development and local shareholding or national preference in globally competitive markets can be difficult to achieve. It is hard to profitably maintain local designations for, for example, renewable energies while in competition with larger economies of scale.
Automation processes in manufacturing can exacerbate job losses through the uptake of machines.
The Southeast Asia presentation discussed the lessons that Africa could learn from Asia on industrialisation delivery. Industrialisation was prominent in Southeast Asia from the late 1950s to the 1970s. The key insights include the authority of super ministries as coordinating bodies; the critical importance of capable leadership and technocrats who are results orientated; quick implementation and flexible revision; horizontal and vertical work structures; and an investment in staff learning and training along with engaging international comparison methodologies. Specific mention was made about increasing the policymaking capability of junior- and mid-level staff in Africa.
6.2. Effective Public-Private Dialogue for Industrialisation on the Continent
Panel 2 – Panellists
Zambia: Formalising and institutionalising public-private dialogue
Ms Roseta Chabala, Acting Director General, Public-Private Dialogue Forum
Kenya: Engaging in an effective public-private dialogue for industrialisation
Anthony Mwangi, CEO, Kenya Association of Manufacturers
6.2.1 Key Takeaways and Messaging
Put the right people in place. These people must be trusted as representatives for both the private and the public sector.
Align government-priority areas and the national policy/policies on public-private dialogue (PPD).
Focus on short- and long-term issues simultaneously.
Set up instruments in super ministries where the public and private sectors work together, for example, Zambia’s technical working groups and steering committees.
Unlock tax benefits – especially where they have affected the private sector.
6.2.2 Implementation Challenges (Case-Study Specific)
Implementation Challenges to PPD:
Presidential transitions and regime change present obstacles. There are varying levels of commitment to PPD under different dispensations.
There is a lack of harmony on national policy versus the subnational-government level, especially when there are multiple taxation, levies and tariffs included in national government and at regional and district levels.
The concluding remarks and reflections from the ADX 2022 were that:
There is a need to understand historical politics and power dynamics in the continent.
Political will is not enough. The capabilities and competencies of leaders matter.
A long-term vision will bring transformation.
Understanding the framework or lens that informs delivery and being adaptable to new ways of doing delivery is vital.
People matter – cross all sectors. The nexus between the private sector, academia, research and so on all contribute to delivery.
Coordination is not solely about working together. It is also about alignment.