Evaluation of external expert knowledge acquisition and retention processes at the Directorate of Development Cooperation of the National Planning Commission – Namibia.
Kangombe, Anna Tusiloshenda
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The Directorate of Development Cooperation in the National Planning Commission uses technical assistance to mobilise, coordinate and manage Official Development Aid (ODA) through the use of external experts in areas where such knowledge is not locally available. While there are no indications of a decrease in the need for external expert knowledge to the Directorate of Development Cooperation, donors are increasingly phasing out traditional grants which support technical assistance that funds external expert knowledge and replacing it with new forms of broader cooperation. Given the high costs of external expert knowledge, the Directorate of Development Cooperation will not be able to access it in the long run and this will have negative implications on the implementation of National Development Plans which amongst others, largely dependent on Official Development Aid. This research therefore obtained a blend of primary and secondary data to evaluate the effectiveness of the process currently used to acquire external expert knowledge at the Directorate of Development Cooperation to determine its ability to sustainably deal with the new status. The research adapted the business process improvement solution through the lean approach to define, analyse and improve the process. Amongst the major findings of the study is that, not only does the Directorate of Development Cooperation not have a consistent and documented process for acquiring external expert knowledge, they also do not have a knowledge transfer strategy in place to ensure that the expert knowledge is transferred to local staff. The study also found that the directorate lacks a systematic capacity needs assessment strategy to enable them to plan and prepare their involvement in the sourcing and retention of external expert knowledge considering the prevailing donor conditions. The study defined and proposed an improved process aimed at enabling the Directorate of Development Cooperation getting more involved with external expert knowledge acquisition to ensure that they receive high quality expert knowledge. The process will also ensure that the expert knowledge is received on time and there are mechanisms to retain that knowledge locally. The study also made specific recommendations for the Directorate of Development Cooperation to consider, for example: increased ownership and understanding of the process by the Directorate of Development Cooperation; improvements in the process measurements; change the current perception of external expert knowledge; establish and adopt a best practice approach; use alternative acquisition methods for expert knowledge; and communicate and adopt the proposed improved process. The organisation of the study is divided in seven Chapters. Chapter 1 gives the introduction, statement of the problem, significance of the study, research objectives, and research questions. The literature review and the methodology are discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 respectively. Chapter 4 contains the discussion of the process of acquiring external expert knowledge at the Directorate of Development Cooperation while Chapter 5 is the analysis of the findings and results. Summary and recommendations are contained in Chapter 6, followed by the conclusion in Chapter 7.
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