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Examine Key Challenges Faced by the Public Sector Management of the Global South? Essays

* Examine the key challenges for public sector management in the global south. Illustrate your answer with contrasting country examples. Most of the global south countries such as the African countries have attained their independence around the 1950’s and 1960’s. The public sectors which are known as the government sector have set of roles that need to be look after the welfare of the state such as the security, environment, health system, education and so forth. The public sector in the global south has some key issues that need to be tackled.
Some of the key challenges that needs tackling is the reduction of poverty, corruption and aid which has been prevailing for a very long time. Yet, it cannot be easily forgotten to mention the impact of colonialism on the African nations. Colonialism created economic backwardness, international vulnerability and social fragmentation. African leader’s aims became to target issues such as underdevelopment so as to bring about growth and reduction of poverty. (Lewis 1998, Chanzan et al 1999).
This essay will address some of the challenges and problems faced by the global south along with methods and approaches that might work illustrating with examples of a country. In the 1980’s-1990’s importance was very much given to the private sector rather than the public sectors and the state economy management. However now slowly there is state which is seen as accountable and more effective. The African Commission reported recently that Africa’s development had suffered due to lack of accountability and capacity which is the ability to design and deliver policies. Glennie, J 2008). The international strategies for developing public sector management have been directed at the civil services reforms through downsizing, improvement in the management and knowledge through training. (Amoako, 2003) The public sector of the global south when analysed closely after their independence show that there is ineffectiveness of accountability and lack of transparency. The African countries for instance have faced crisis and pressures from international institutions for their public state reforms.
South Africa is known for its level of corruption that the locals call it ‘tenderpreneur’ where one benefits from having tender contracts from the government or having self-interest benefits. These Individuals enrich themselves through government tender contracts, mostly based on personal connections and corrupt relationships – although outright bribery might also take place – and sometimes involving an elected or politically appointed staff holding business interests (Bloom, 2010). Corruption is so widespread that the system has failed its people.
In 1990’s African countries welcomed the private sector investments in markets. This had created the role of the state to be less involved in markets and focus on the implementation of policy reforms which meant the appropriate legal framework to be in place. The donors for instance suggested good governance programs which can assist the state to be more efficient and responsive. This includes empowering its citizens, protection of the vulnerable people, narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, encouragement of integration and cultural diversity.
It was a struggle for the African nations (global south) and they have encountered a formidable constraints such as lack of resource, being underdeveloped, poor institutions in place, climate change and high growth of population. (Ayee, 2005). Public funds The other key challenge is spending of public funds which are presumed to rarely trickle down to the citizens. It is been seen that most of the development of the public sector come from foreign aids especially from the international institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF bank.
Even though most of the aid assists Africa in the development and progress of the public sector, many international institutions also see its limitations. For instance 50% of the aid from World Bank is going to the public sector compared to 17% 1990’s. This conditions related to public financial management, accountability, anti-corruption and legal reforms. The financial institutions allocate financial aids to countries according to their criteria and how well their public institutes operate or perform. This leads to pressure on the global south, leading to governance conditionality which many countries are not so happy about it.
For instance Kenya had been given five times aid without any result of progress. Until 2000 IMF bank actual withheld aid from them after a court hearing about the anti-corruption authority. The challenges that global south face is the need for good governance. (Glennie,J, 2008). However, some countries are not happy with the fact that the international institutions need to dictate to them on how to run their country and apply pressures. On the other side of the coined most of the global south countries have less accountability and transparency which makes difficult to account for the use of the fund.
The government capacity is really important for the development of the public sector as many countries have developed under a strong regime and the outcome was brilliant example Korea and China. Accountability is very important for both the public sector as well as the international donors; it also gives voice to the poor people. Theoretical perspectives At the various theoretical perspectives which have influence in the situations in Africa are the New Public Management (NPM), New Institutional Economics (NIE) and development Theories.
Decentralization is a strand of NPM which is an effort made to bureaucratize the hierarchy within the public sector. The idea is to give the managerial department the freedom their unit in order to achieve the best output and also form a good corporate governance (Ferlie, 1996) NIE are economic activities which embedded in framework of institution formally and informally. They determine the evolutions of institutions and existence of institutions as well as their impact on economic performance, distribution and its efficiency. (Stiglitz, 1987, hodgson 1988).
There are 2 theories that involve NIE which are the agency theory and the transaction cost theory. The first one is on the distribution property rights and focuses on cooperation between external effects as well as asymmetric information which has its advantages and disadvantages. Stiglitz (1987) suggests that agency theory shows the relationship between the principals and the agents where the latter can be the government and the other citizen. On the other hand the transaction theory focuses the costs which involves contract where the two parties engage contractual arrangements.
Williamson (1986) highlights this process to be very costly as it consists of various in which each level has its terms such as structuring, monitoring, bonding where even there are costs involved in negotiations. Eradication of poverty Most of the global south countries are underdeveloped where majority of their population live below the poverty line. It is always easy to say why their government can’t do something about it like provide jobs, education, and health or support the poor. This is not an easy task to achieve without the participation from the citizens themselves.
VeneKlasen and Miller (2002) suggest that usually poverty revolves around the notion of powerlessness of the people and it is usually not visible to be detected. Methods and Approaches are needed to strengthen forms of power which is the power to the people. Poverty can be eradicated by channelling the power in the right direction such as participatory approach. Approaches provide a rough guiding framework within which specific methods and techniques can be used whilst methods are step by step specific to how an approach is put into practice in the field. Rowland, J, 2003). Countries who have identified and gained from the process of participatory are Brazil, China and India, even though they are classed as global south even though there are traces of poverty. Through citizens participation the economy of the country can slowly progress which means the public sectors have to recognise the needs of its citizens and encourage through engagement of the locals who have been excluded such as women, disabled, and young people.
Through approaches and methods, participation can be achieved which in turn creates markets. (Trade). From trade, the government can play a role in taxation which can contribute in the advancement of the public sector. As most of the global south complains about lack of public funds, this can be a way of boosting the public sector’s budget. Nickson (2011) saw citizen participation as a way of improving performance in delivering services by introducing transparency into municipal resource allocation as to better reflect the broad interests of the population.
In order for effective participatory approach to take place there has to be investment in learning and the experiencing. The best example is Brazil in the 1980’s where the citizens negotiated with the public sector on how to budget on spending on public projects. By 2011, many municipalities have adopted the participatory budgeting to meet the needs of the local people. (Wampler, 2007) Even in the public management sector if the employees are offered incentives such as good wages and bonuses the corruption could slowly be eliminated and traces of progress can be seen.
A good example of where this has taken place is Ghana and Uganda where the government has carried out a massive retrenchment where benefits and redundancy was offered. However, this does not necessarily mean that the government will get the best skilled labourers for the job and will completely eliminate corruption. (Amoako, 2003) Land Reforms Most of the global south countries could benefit from properly structured public sectors who could stable the economy for instance by redistribution of land. This could absolutely be beneficial especially for the people living in the rural areas and could boost the economy of the country.
Lack of uneven distribution of land causes individuals and families living in rural to face significant impacts such as poverty when there are shifts in the markets and climate change (Bush, 2007). Unfortunately, this is very slow process and has to be dealt with tactfully. In some cases it might work against due to external pressures, for instance, Africa focus (2013) reported that Zimbabwe started handing lands to farmers under the fast track land reforms and about 169,000 farmers have received lands since 2000.
These farmers are divided under two categories, the A1 who consist of small poor farmers and the A2 who are the wealthy ones. The A2 are the ones that could invest in the land for commercial purposes. The problem arises when farmers have no knowledge or advanced technology to start farming on these lands. This leads to an intense use of land than the previous owners causing slow degradation of soil fertility. These conditions of the farmers are not so favourable and can cause greed and high levels of corruption.
That was why Zimbabwe was sanctioned and had faced cuts in foreign aid which led the government to respond to by printing their own currency which was a bad move on their part because this caused hyperinflation during 2007-2008. So the challenges faced by the public sector on land reform policy led to credit freeze under the multilateral financing restriction which disturbs the economy of the country. After this event the government decided to change their currency into dollars instant of their local currency. This change has helped to turn the economy into normal ground. allafrica,2013) Conclusion To conclude this, the public sector has some facts that need to be looked into in detail which is the theoretical issues and its link to the public sector management in the global south. The Millennium Goal has indeed put into its agenda to alleviate and support the less developed countries with the help of funds from the advanced countries. The government of the developing countries need to cope with the rising changes in this era and the high uncertainty that prevails which need to be tackled strategically, comparing it to other nation states.
In order to achieve this, there are approaches and methods such as participatory approach which includes the empowerment of Citizens such through improvement of public services such as health, education and eradication of poverty, starting at the community level. Public sectors and governments need to boost the confidence of the donors through transparency and accountability, including meeting the international standards of living for its citizens. However, it is difficult to maintain this flow especially if there are funding cuts because the first to suffer will be health and education as compared to the military and defence programs.
As majority of the African nations such as Kenya and Uganda heavily dependent on foreign aid priorities of how the funds are spent become unclear. Also since the funds are not grants but loans it lays a heavy pressures on the government which leads to poor public services. (Global Economic Governance Programme, 2008) The public sector has to keep up with the fast growing technology such as the communication system and also to focus in building the infrastructure to assist in the landlocked regions to commune with other region. As in today’s world this is growing rapidly and has great impact on how services are delivered to the society.
Compared to the global north the global south has outdated technology and is less advanced, for instance in the global north even children have adopted the usage of the advanced technology. For instance in the recent years the development of infrastructure has been one of the top agendas on the South African government list. So Information and communication technology (ICT) is a must for verification of accountability (Heeks, 1998). But the challenges arises who can be accountable for its development or to organise unbiased project which has similar aim.
Promotion of accountability is very important as it can help sustain the growth of the country. Where corruption is prevailing it is difficult to sustain economic growth as well as alleviate poverty. Moyo (2009) draws a picture when there is less accountability and heavy flow of aid; it can lead to funds deviating to individuals personal pockets. The more educated and skilled people in the country will eventually get fed up and get a job in the private sectors or go abroad leaving the less educate to run public sectors.
Bibliography

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Bloom, J (2010) ‘Empowerment vs. Tenderpreneur’ politics web, [internet] http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71619?oid=175220&sn=Detail [accessed on 03.03.2013]

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