CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwired - May 9, 2013) - Canadians and South Africans believe in sustainable development through good governance. At a signing ceremony today with South African Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, announced a new project to assist the Government of South Africa in strengthening public institutions that are capable of delivering quality services to its people.
"I am pleased to be in South Africa to announce this strategic initiative, which will support the success of past Canadian-South African cooperation and underscores the changing relationship of our two countries," said Minister Fantino. "Canada's support will help the Government of South Africa respond to the future needs of its population. This will contribute to social and economic progress in South Africa, which is important not only for South Africans, but for the continent as a whole."
Positive development in South Africa over recent years has transformed Canada's relationship from one of assistance to partnership. Today's strategic announcement will ensure that Canada's historic development investments in South Africa and surrounding region are sustained by a strong domestic system in the future. The Building a Capable State project, through the Technical Assistance Unit of the Government of South Africa's National Treasury, will support the delivery of quality public services to the population, particularly to marginalized groups. This initiative will also help strengthen government accountability by providing training and technical support to government departments to develop their policies, manage services to the population, and monitor their performance. The project will be delivered in collaboration with the South African Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Office of the Presidency.
Economic Action Plan 2013 affirms Canada's commitment to international development investments in areas such as good governance. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation. The amalgamation will help Canada continue to achieve greater efficiency, accountability, and focus to improve the lives of people in need around the world.
Canada supports good governance in South Africa
Today's announcement of $10 million over five years builds on the tradition of successful technical cooperation between Canada and South Africa. Building a Capable State capitalizes on the Government of South Africa's continued interest in engaging appropriate expertise, including from Canada, to revitalize and professionalize its public service.
The Government of South Africa is committed to modernizing its public service to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency. In its efforts to accelerate the transformation process, the Technical Assistance Unit within the National Treasury of the Government of South Africa was established in 2001. It provides technical assistance to government departments at all levels to support them in fulfilling their mandates. This initiative aims to build government capacity to deliver public services to the population, in particular for marginalized groups. It also seeks to strengthen government accountability, training and technical support to government departments to help them develop their policies, manage services to the population, and monitor their performance.
Canada has supported the Technical Assistance Unit since 2007 to help improve the capacity of public institutions to deliver services to disadvantaged South Africans. Canada's support of the Technical Assistance Unit has already generated concrete results. For example, strategic advice and technical support to local governments funded through the previous CIDA project resulted in the establishment of multi-purpose community centres in under-serviced municipalities throughout the country. More than five million South Africans are now within walking distance of a community centre, all of which provide access to a range of services including primary health care, education, skills development, and employment opportunities.
In addition, experience shows that access to Canadian institutional models and experience can be highly effective in helping the South African government introduce innovative solutions. For instance, the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the South African Presidency, a partner in this project, will use Canadian knowledge, experience and technical skills to promote greater accountability in the South African public service.