Qualified civil servants come from private sector: Here’s why

Those recruited directly from school are inconsiderate to the engine of growth


The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki (Third Right), and the German Ambassador to Tanzania and the EAC, Ms Regine Hess (Third Left), in a group picture along with officials from the bloc and the embassy, including the East African Legislative Assembly Speaker, Mr Martin Ngoga (Second Right) and the EAC Deputy Secretary General responsible for Planning, Infrastructure, Finance and Administration), Mr Steven Mlote (First Right) in a past event. PHOTO | COURTESY

 By Joe Lihundi

The Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania

The East African Community (EAC) should consider imposing a requirement for a potential public servant to have served two years in the private sector before recruiting him, a diplomat has advised.

The German envoy to both Tanzania and the EAC, Ms Regine Hess, was optimistic that a candidate who had acquainted himself with the private sector would be considerate enough to the sector dubbed the engine of growth.

Players in the private sector have all along been pointing an accusing finger at bureaucrats for inhibiting growth of businesses across the region even after the bloc has unanimously decided to waive tariff and non-tariff barriers.

Ms Hess said some politicians and civil servants would never understand the private sector. “They leave learning institutions and go straight to the public sector,” she explained.

The envoy was speaking during the launching of an online platform that links up business firms to youthful professionals across the region for employment opportunities, internship and applied master thesis.

The EAC Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki, and Ms Hess unveiled the Skills match platform during the just ended YouLead Summit 2021 in Arusha.

The East Africa Community (EAC) Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki, and the German envoy to Tanzania and the EAC, Ms Regine Hess, in a joyful mood after unveiling an online platform to link up business firms to youthful professionals across the region for employment opportunities, internship and applied master theses. With them are the EAC Deputy Secretary General (Productive and Social Sectors), Mr Christophe Bazivamo (Second Left), Executive Secretary of the Inter-University Council of East Africa, Professor Gaspard Banyankimbona (Third Left), the CEO of the East African Business Council, Mr John Bosco Kalisa (Second Right) and the EAC-GIZ Cluster Coordinator, Ms Godje Bialluch (First Right). PHOTO | SKILLSMATCH

Ms Hess was optimistic that the platform would help youth to become skilled enough to lead transformational change in business.

Also required was a closer exchange among the industry and the private and public sectors to find out skills needs and retrain for them, she said.

Merging corresponding courses such as car mechanics and electronic dubbed mechatronics in Germany would also be feasible in East Africa, she added.

“It is also important to aim low in a bid to build business and to have some experience and enough confidence to go beyond the village,” she said.

Ms Hess explained that the move would enable capital to flow and give East Africans room to harness the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The government of Germany has since 2017 been supporting the EAC in promoting skills among youth and strengthening industry-academic collaboration.

The Skills match platform is part of a regional programme dubbed Digital Skills for an Innovative East African Industry which aims at bridging the gap of skills for the application and development of digital products and services the industry needs in the region.

Another project, according to the EAC-GIZ Cluster Coordinator, Ms Godje Bialluch, is the Centre of Excellence for ICT in East Africa (CENIT@EA).

CENIT@EA was established by German academic consortium and coordinated by the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) at the Arusha-based campus of Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST).

The centre offers students from across the region state-of-the-art Master program in embedded and mobile systems.

The IUCEA, CENIT@EA, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit — GIZ — and an East African-German academic consortium, including the DAAD, and the University of Oldenburg implemented the Skillsmatch platform supported by Artificial Intelligence.

The IUCEA Executive Secretary, Professor Gaspard Banyankimbona, said the council was also supporting universities in the region to produce graduates that were relevant to the job market in a bid to reduce youth unemployment.

“We urge companies to use the Skillsmatch platform to spotlight and prompt action around key challenges to digital inclusion by supporting young professionals to gain industry practical experience through internships”, he said.

The East African Business Council Executive Director, Mr John Bosco Kalisa, said a study by the World Bank indicated youth and women were capable of lifting around 100 million people from abject poverty once they were given the right position in the AfCFTA.

Mr Kalisa said political will was in place, as the EAC partner states had already ratified the continental agreement save for South Sudan.

“All what is required to make change happen is cultural and mindset shift,” said Mr Kalisa, calling on the YouLead Summit delegates to embrace AfCFTA and tap into abundant opportunities with which Africa was endowed compared to other continents.

The summit is the EAC flagship of Youth Leadership Development Programme seeking to unlock young persons’ leadership potential for a prosperous region.

It is an annual climax event and East Africa’s largest forum of young leaders, mentors, government officials and youth organisations’ representatives from all six partner states aimed at brainstorming and arriving at responses to the region’s rapidly growing youth population, their challenges and opportunities.

The Arusha-based Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MS TCDC), the EAC Political Affairs Department and a wide network of partners within East Africa and beyond have since in 2017 been co-hosting the summit.

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