Since its inception, CAFRAD was able to set up a series of workforce development activities for officials at the highest levels of the public sector and, to some extent, of the private sector, who, for a number of reasons, could not be exposed to new ideas internally. By bringing together senior administrators with their counterparts from other parts of Africa, CAFRAD has enabled them to share experiences and exchange views on vital policy problems across national and cultural barriers.
CAFRAD’s performance record in the field of training indicates positive quantitative results. During the 40 years of its existence, CAFRAD has organized over 300 seminars and workshops, bringing together heads of institutions, senior administrators and others, at national and transnational levels. Each training activity was attended by 20-25 participants and lasted from three to ten days. Programs covered a wide range of broad areas. At the beginning, the focus was on human resource development, training of trainers, top management, rural and urban development, administrative reform, management of public enterprises, project management, decentralization, capacity development of African women in decision-making and policy analysis. But at present, the training focuses on leadership capacity development, responsible public governance/e-governance capacity building, ICT, electoral administration, performance measurement and evaluation, conflict resolution and peace-building, mainstreaming ethics and professionalism in the public service, policy and knowledge exchange, capacity-building in support of state governance and reform implementation and networking, knowledge management.
CAFRAD has also provided a platform for the Directors of Schools and Institutes of Public Administration and Management in Africa since 1983 to meet once every two years to address subjects of common interest and current challenges. The conference has provided collaboration and partnership in curriculum development and institutional capacity-building.
CAFRAD, in collaboration with the United Nations Department for Economics and Social Affairs (UNDESA/DPADM) also initiated in June 1994 the Pan African Conference of Ministers of Civil Service. This conference has been institutionalised and is now held once every three years to share views on a priority theme of concern..
In the field of research, CAFRAD has made a modest contribution. Its research strategy is that of Joint Project, such as its collaboration with CODESRIA in an integrated urban and rural development research project and with the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague (The Netherlands) in the area of administrative reform conducted in the Sudan and Liberia. CAFRAD also administered and monitored for one year a research grant sponsored by the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) (Holland), the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) (Holland) and the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC) (Canada). The research was on Gender and Agriculture in the Information Society (GENARDIS) supporting innovative activity that contributed to the understanding and application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in gender, agricultural and rural development in Africa, the Caribbean or the Pacific. The research resulted in the publication of nine studies from Benin, Chad, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Jamaica. CAFRAD, on its own, also undertakes research and in this regard, the Centre completed a national survey of public administrations in Africa covering countries. Some published research included the Transparency of Public Administration in Africa and the Role of Women in Public Administration in Africa.
CAFRAD launched a research project on Local Governance and ICTs Research Network for Africa (LOG-IN Africa) funded by the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC) (Canada). LOG-IN Africa is an African network of researchers and research institutions from nine countries: Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda. It will assess the current state and outcomes of e-local governance initiatives in Africa, and in particular how ICTs are being used to realize good local governance at four levels: a) the internal organization processes of local governments; b) the provision of information and service delivery; c) the promotion of the principles of good governance; and d) public participation and consultation
In the field of consultancy, CAFRAD has been responding, within its means, to various ad-hoc requests from African governments for specific assistance. A Directory of African Experts/Consultants in Public Administration and Management has been published with the aim of facilitating the employment of qualified and competent Africans in consultancy work in Africa and stimulating demand for their services. The Centre participates in .public tenders. called by international donors in the area of its competence, in partnership with regional and international public and private institutions. CAFRAD has completed (December 2004) a study for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on the .Evaluation of the Governance System in the Kingdom of Morocco.
In the field of information, CAFRAD developed itself from a modest Documentation Unit to become as from the year 2002 the Online Regional Centre for Africa to collaborate in the United Nations Online Network of Public Administration and Finance (UNPAN). CAFRAD, as UNPAN ORC performed well in the period 2002-2004, but for the future, CAFRAD is to consolidate UNPAN CAFRAD e-Information Management System and contribute to the implementation of UNPAN to subregional and national levels in Africa. At the same time, CAFRAD being a pan-African institution that operates in three languages (Arabic, English and French) has clear responsibility to serve as an effective bridge between linguistic and regional divides in Africa.
In the area of publication, CAFRAD published serials and occasional documents, the Journal of African Administrative Studies, published twice per year, studies and documents concerned with the publication of research monographs and proceedings of seminars, workshops and conferences, and the CAFRAD Web Newsletter. as a Pan African Institution that operates in three languages (Arabic, English, and French), it has a clear responsibility to serve as an efficient link between linguistic and regional divisions in Africa.
CAFRAD has always been sensitive to women and gender issues and has been following with keen interest the various shifts in paradigms of development where changes affected the role of women in developmental efforts. At the beginning, when the approach was for the role of women in development as abovementioned, CAFRAD organized a regional seminar on Women in Decision-Making in Africa and conducted a research study on the place and role of women in African administrations. The research was published in three volumes covering 16 countries: Benin, Cameroun, Chad, Côte d.Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Tunisia. When the paradigm shifted from the role of women in development to the empowerment and gender approach, CAFRAD participated in various international meetings on gender and development and in regional workshops on developing indicators for the economic empowerment of women in Africa. However, because of various circumstances and some expressed needs by our Member States for certain priorities in public administration, CAFRAD did not develop a gender programme except presently when the Centre was solicited to participate in GEWAMED project. With regard to water resources, CAFRAD.s work programme 2003/2004 included the organization of a Workshop on Managing Water Resources for sustainable development in Africa, but because of lack of funding, till today this activity did not materialize.