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Over 2022 and 2023, PARI partnered with the Association of Former Directors-General to host a number of roundtable dialogues on the capacity of the state. These discussions brought together former and current DGs and senior civil servants, former and current SOE executives and board members, city and municipal managers, academics engaged in the field, and other partners in building the capacity of the state. We aimed to create a deep and meaningful debate on topical issues with critical players, in order to develop a nuanced understanding of these challenges and to develop innovative and fresh solutions.

Five dialogues were held, on the following topics:

  • Energy and the just transition
  • Freight and public transport
  • Policing, security cluster and wider criminal justice system
  • Water security and urban governance
  • A final synthesis discussion, on building state capacity and professionalising the public administration.

This report highlights the key debates at each dialogue and draws out the major points that emerged from the discussions. The summaries reflect a multiplicity of viewpoints; readers will discern some active debate and disagreement on some points of discussion. The report presents critical material to engage with, which can assist in developing our understanding of the challenges facing the state, and inspire creative solutions. This report was used as the basis for the AfDG’s engagements with the DPME in their development of the recently published Thirty Year Review.