Global Development Institute Blog

Mohammad Kamrul Hasan, PhD Researcher and Teaching Assistant, Global Development Institute

Capacity development has become an important issue in the management of public affairs. It deals with obtaining, strengthening and maintaining individual or organizational capabilities in order to fulfil its goal or objectives. Though capacity development has been the centre of attention in developed nations for long period of time, it has gradually become an issue for both developing and underdeveloped countries in the last decade or so.  And it has become an important tool for ensuring inclusive development.

Against this backdrop a Masterclass titled ‘State (in) capacity and national development: the role of the public administration system with particular reference to Africa’ was organized by GDI’s Rory and Elizabeth Brooks Doctoral College on Thursday, 24 October. Professor Justice Nyigmah Bawole was the key speaker at the event, designed for the PhD researchers to get an expert view of the issues. Professor Bawole is the Dean of The University of Ghana Business School. Prior to his appointment as the Dean, Professor Bawole was the Head of the Department for Public Administration and Health Services Management, University of Ghana. He obtained his PhD in Development Policy and Management from the Global Development Institute (then IDPM). His research interests include ethics in public administration, public sector performance management, sustainable development, poverty reduction, NGO management and state-third sector relationships. Professor Bawole has published widely in international reputed journals including the International Review of Administrative Sciences, International Journal of Public Administration, and Environmental Management.

The main focus for the Masterclass was explaining the role of public administration as key to ensure national development. The contemporary and multi-dimensional aspect of state capacity was presented in the context of African nations. In addition, Dr Bawole shed light on various relevant issues including challenges of development. He talked about perverse incentives, skill mismatch at the individual and organizational level, ‘Trained incapacity’ with particular reference to Ghana and Nigeria. In this context he focused on the issues like“Ubuntu” Philosophy linking state level capacity with reference to Ghana and Rwanda. He also emphasizes the relationship between state capacity and multiple loyalties. He similarly talked about the capacity ecosystem. Moreover, he put forward some significant recommendations like emphasizing existing culture and values, building on native capacity, ignoring alien solutions, developing customized policies in order to develop the capacity of the states in the context of African nations.

The event was attended by 23 PhD students along with faculty members. The Masterclass was followed by a lively and interactive questions and answers session. We would like to convey our sincere thanks and gratitude to Dr Bawole.

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