• Ethiopia;
  • public administration;
  • business process reengineering;
  • civil service


To enhance the capacity of public institutions in Ethiopia and to create an ideal environment for investment and economic growth, the public sector has gone through a series of reform processes including the civil service. This article attempts to assess the outcomes of the Public Sector Capacity reform, based on a small-scale survey conducted in two ministries. The survey, which was conducted between March and May in 2005, reveals a notable transformation of service delivery in each organisation. Very high levels of user satisfaction and spectacular improvements in performance were also recorded as a result of the introduction of business process reengineering (BPR). Although the change process in both organisations tended to be sluggish, these improvements appear to be outstanding within the context of Ethiopia's system of public administration. However, one challenge will be for the government to maintain the momentum of reform and to cascade BPR and other elements of the reform to other divisions, departments and work units in the government. Putting in place incentive schemes and an appropriate monitoring system should protect the reform from backsliding. Despite the pessimistic accounts of public sector reform in African countries, this article reveals that there are positive findings of interest to the field of development administration. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.