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The APO, in collaboration with the Pan African Productivity Association (PAPA) and National Productivity and Competitiveness Council (NPCC) of Mauritius is currently implementing a training course on Industrial Human Resources Development for Africa: Training Course on Development of Advanced Productivity Practitioners, 6–17 February 2017, in Mauritius. Targeting practitioners with at least five years of experience, the objective is to ensure their availability and quality to sustain the productivity movement on the African continent. Thirty-two practitioners and consultants from the 10 countries Botswana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are attending. The APO assigned two resource persons to lead the course: Principal Consultant Mohd. Lizuan Abd. Latif of QualityMind Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia; and APO-certified Productivity Specialist/Independent Professional Nina Maria B. Estudillo, the Philippines.
According to the joint OECD–World Bank Africa Competitiveness Report 2015, Africa is the only region showing a steady productivity decline since 1950, although slight improvement was recorded in the early 2000s. This confirms the need for concentrated structural efforts to make the region more productive. It is also a fundamental objective of PAPA. Between 2007 and 2010, the APO organized a series of training courses at both the basic and advanced levels for PAPA member NPO staff, training more than 160 individuals. A project in 2014 targeted 27 productivity practitioners in Africa. The projects in Africa are made possible by financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan. Although those efforts helped create an initial pool of activists, they were not sufficient to produce the critical mass required to lead the overall African productivity movement. Continuous efforts with broader coverage of and deeper exposure to productivity skills and knowledge are therefore imperative.
In opening the training course, Secretary for Foreign Affairs U.C. Dwarka Canabady, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Republic of Mauritius, emphasized the importance for African countries of embracing the productivity movement for sustaining the economic growth and social advances. The opening session was attended by NPCC Chairman S. Mulloo and PAPA Secretary General Mothunye Mothiba.
The engagement of the APO with Africa through PAPA is partly motivated by the continent’s increasing significance to the world economy. The APO wants to be part of a strategic partnership allowing that continent to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development by enhancing productivity and competitiveness. The continuous expansion of the pool of productivity practitioners is critical for the development of a productivity culture, which in turn is a prerequisite for a better quality of life.
The training course will conclude with a lecture by APO Secretary-General Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn open to the general public. He will discuss the future of productivity, and an audience of 200 from various organizations including policymakers is expected.