Zambian senior civil servants visited HAUS and different public and private stakeholders late August. The study visit was organized by HAUS within a Twinning Project financed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The group of public procurement specialists visited Finland and Estonia with the aim to benchmark best practices in these two countries which are very advanced in the digitalisation of their public sectors. The group was led by the Director General Mr. Danies Chisenda, and consisted of procurement and capacity building experts in ICT and internal audit.
The Twinning project supports Zambian government´s efforts to make the public sector in Zambia more effective through a cooperation project “Capacity Building of Zambia Public Procurement Authority ZPPA through a Twinning Project with HAUS”. The project has already facilitated an HR action plan, supported communication policy, and improved work effectiveness. A new ZPPA four-year strategy is under preparation and e-procurement roll-out will be supported to make Zambian public procurement more efficient, transparent, and accountable.
Zambian Civil Servants learning from well-organised public sector
Mr. Danies Chisenda mentioned that the most interesting part of the current study visit was to learn about the technology how e-services have been organized and built in Finland. He saw that after this visit he knows better where the focus should be.
"We have to look at our clients and see what they need, and we should not concentrate on just ourselves” tells Mr. Chisenda. "How technology can help or benefit us, is the big question."
Mr. Moono Bwalya encourages people to activate new ways of thinking. Doing that, for example various e-systems could be built in a more customer-friendly way. In his opinion, people need to be innovative. Mrs. Vivian Mupunda felt that during the study visit she learned more about the importance of openness. In her opinion, people should be more open to new ideas and concepts.
Functioning public transport and internet everywhere
All three participants enjoyed their stay Finland a lot. “Finland is a lovely country, people are nice and open” said Mr. Chisenda. He also liked to see how the teams consisted of both young and more experienced employees and everyone worked together very well and efficiently. Mr. Bwalya mentioned that the public transport in Finland is excellent: it works and people can rely on the timetables and there is room for everybody in vehicles. He had also noticed certain feeling of order; how the Finnish people obey the rules and the society runs smoothly. Mrs. Mupunda mentioned how the society and structures are very advanced and she liked having internet connection almost everywhere.
Feedback of the study visit
When talking about the study visit, Mr. Bwalya said that it would have been nice to have more time to learn and to discuss as the subject is so interesting, also a few practical sessions would have been useful.
“Next time you can activate us visitors more and ask us how to improve your systems in Finland”, suggests Mr. Bwalya.
Also Mrs. Mupunda was happy with the arrangements and mentioned that
“everything was perfectly organized, there were many new and relevant things to learn. I wish we would have more study visits like this”.
What has been achieved so far?
The second phase of the project is half way and there is midterm coming up. All the participants agreed that some goals have already been achieved. Mr. Chisenda said that actually, at this point the project has achieved quite a lot. At ZPPA they have been focusing on certain key issues, and for example the capacity building in procurement has taken a big step forward. However, there is still need for consultancy help and co-operation. He emphasized that positive attitude is necessary as it will finally contribute to productivity, efficiency and new, bright ideas for the project to continue successfully further.
“Phase one is looking good. There are many stages where one can see development”, says Mr. Bwalya.
Mrs. Mubunda says that the project so far has changed e-procurement a lot. HAUS’s assistance has been very important for example in terms of leadership, management, and coaching.
“ZPPA is a better organization than what it used to be”, thinks Mrs. Mupunda.
Thanks to HAUS
When thinking forward, Mr. Chisenda said that the implementation of the procurement will be important in the coming months. He saw that assistance from Finnish government is needed in some parts. ZPPA still needs expertise, support, and advice in e-government procurement:
“Thanks to HAUS and the Finnish government, our cooperation has been meaningful. HAUS is doing great work”, summed up Mr. Chisenda.
Text and interview: Matleena Nurmiainen, Markku Siltanen