Accepted Paper:

Public administration reform and façade-ministries in Togo  
Nora Brandecker (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

Paper short abstract:

In 2006, Togo began to implement a huge public administration reform. This paper deals with the implications of this reform for the everyday functioning of the Togolese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I argue that the reforms reproduce the already existing logic of this typical “façade-ministry”.

Paper long abstract:

In Togo, like in other West African countries, there are three different types of ministries: façade ministries, basic-needs-ministries and skeleton- ministries. Façade-ministries (e.g. the ministries of security, defense and foreign affairs) are those with a highly delicate field of responsibility, where only a very small group of high ranked bureaucrats is involved in defining and implementing policy in close collaboration with the presidency and where the rest of the staff is to a large extent excluded from all activities. Basic-needs-ministries are ministries in charge of satisfying certain basic needs of the population like access to water, health and primary education. Skeleton-ministries are in charge of domains considered by the government as less important like the promotion of women, sports, research. Each of the three types of ministries operates according to particular logics, formal and informal rules and has particular functions for the state. Career patterns, operational routines, bureaucratic cultures, the functioning of hierarchies, as well as the public servants' relation to "the state" differ from one type of ministry to the other.

In this paper I argue that civil service reforms reproduce the already existing structures and dynamics of these ministries and the differences between them. I will support this argument by analyzing consequences of the public administration reform started in 2006 for the everyday functioning of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Togo, a prime example of a façade-ministry.

Panel P102
The anthropology of public services and bureaucracies