In the recent past, many countries across the globe including Uganda, have embraced deliverology- a science of delivering on goals and promises made by governments.
This science has evolved with a new cadre of practitioners called deliveroligists who are at the centre of the service delivery chain.
The deliverologists, drive performance improvements in critical service delivery areas by catalyzing bold changes in public service delivery process and support government ministries and departments in delivery planning process.
This repeatable methodology of achieving real impact in government is attributed to Sir Michael Barber who served under former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair as Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, (2001-2005).
Delivery units employ, the Lab approach to drive the delivery process. This is an intensive problem solving environment that brings together about 30-40 key government officials from a key sector and relevant sectors, including stakeholders in the private sector across the delivery chain.
Together in a single room for six weeks, they develop fresh ideas and translate high level strategies into detailed and costed ‘3 feet’ (realistic) implementation plans.
The labs approach, was introduced in 2009, by Idris Jala who was head of the Performance Management Unit (PEMANDU) in Malaysia. It leverages on producing implementation programmes with clear key performance indicators for the relevant stakeholders.
The labs bring private sector rigor in public service delivery, and also bust the rampant silo mentality by bringing business on the same table.
Cognizant of the potential of coffee as a transformative commodity, President Yoweri Museveni in 2014, prioritised coffee and issued a directive on increasing Uganda’s coffee production from 3.5 million to 20 million bags by 2020, although it has been revised to 2025.
The President, accordingly, directed Prof.Ezra Suruma, the head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU), to oversee this directive on Coffee, working closely with Uganda Coffee Development Authority, the lead Agency.
This was the first assignment given to PMDU, which was established in 2015, in the Prime Minister’s Office to drive the delivery of services to the people of Uganda.
PMDU organised a ‘Coffee Lab’ in March 2017 in partnership with McKinsey, a global management consulting firm with strong expertise in agriculture value chain transformations and commercialization.
The Coffee Lab was an innovative initiative to accelerate both exports and production of coffee by articulating realistic but ambitious goals for the coffee sector, identifying roadblocks that must be removed and coming up with a tangible action plan to revamp the coffee sector – ‘Coffee Roadmap’
The roadmap was launched by H.E. the President on 13th April 2017, and it consists of 9 initiatives which must be pursued to achieve the 20 million coffee bags by 2025. The initiatives include; building structured demand and value addition; enhancing production and enablers such as affordable coffee financing for farmers.
UCDA is now with great success taking lead in implementing the coffee roadmap in collaboration with key stakeholders including District Local Governments, Uganda Cooperative Alliance and Uganda Prisons services to promote coffee farming.
In addition to working with Uganda Development Bank (UDB) on a coffee financing programme, UCDA is fast-tracking the improvement of seeds through research and multiplication of improved varieties and access to extension services and inputs.
Coffee exports for the first time have crossed the 4 million bags mark. According to UCDA, coffee exports for 12 months (April 2017 – March 2018, totalled 4.69 million (60kg) bags worth US$ 528 million compared to 3.90 million (60kg) bags worth US$ 439 million in the previous year.
Annual coffee production had over the last five decades stagnated at 2.5 to 3.5 million bags. Coffee production volumes had not only inhibited foreign exchange inflows, but had also denied the farming households direct incomes from the world’s second highest traded commodity after oil.
If the Coffee roadmap is followed, Uganda, which is Africa’s largest coffee producer after Ethiopia, could leap forward and increase coffee exports through increased production, value addition and expansion of the global market share gain especially in Western Europe, Asia and North Africa.
This engagement in the coffee sector can be replicated in other priority sectors, like Education, Health and Industrialization to drive performance improvements with the Delivery Unit playing its catalytic role.
The Writer is a Senior Information Officer at the Office of the Prime Minister