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The Future of Government: How Will Governments be More Productive?

September 1, 2021

Washington DC


People crossing streets on busy street.

POLL: How do you think governments can be more productive?  Share your thoughts on our poll.


  • The fourth Future of Government Disruptive Debate hosted a panel to discuss how governments can be more productive. Key questions that addressed were: Is there anything to learn from behaving more like the private sector, or should governments focus on public sector excellence? How can governments attract, retain and empower talented civil servants? Is digital transformation really going to improve productivity and transform how governments operate?

  • Ms Low Peck Kem Chief Human Resources Officer & Advisor (Workforce Development) Singapore Public Service Division Prime Minister’s Office

    Low Peck Kem

    Chief Human Resources Officer & Advisor (Workforce Development) Singapore Public Service Division Prime Minister’s Office

    As the Chief HR Officer and Advisor (Workforce Development) for the Public Service Division (PSD), Prime Minister’s Office of Singapore, Peck Kem is responsible for professionalising HR in the public sector of 16 Ministries and more than 50 Statutory Boards. She is also the twice-elected President of the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI). Prior to her current appointment at the PSD, she was the Senior Director for HR & OD for a not for profit organisation, The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) based in Geneva, where she was responsible for human resource, organisation development, legal, internal audit and corporate administration for its 15 global offices. Peck Kem has the unique combination of experience, from quality engineer to manufacturing manager to VP human resources in the private sector (Tandon, Western Digital, Hewlett Packard, Agilent Technologies & Avago Technologies), from a Divisional Director of National HR Division in the Singapore Ministry of Manpower in the public sector, to Senior Director ODHR in GAIN, to currently Chief HR Officer for Singapore Public Service Division. This combination has widened her perceptions in the private, public and NGO sectors, and enabled her to view leadership from both the Asian and European perspectives. Peck Kem was recently the first in Asia to be named CIPD Chartered Companion and is listed as a top HR influencer in Asia.

    Marta Arsovska Tomovska is the Director of the team for Public Administration Reform and eGovernment in the Office of the Prime Minister of Serbia.

    Marta Arsovska Tomovska

    Director for Public Administration Reform and eGovernment, Office of the Primer Minister of Serbia

    Marta Arsovska Tomovska is the Director of the team for Public Administration Reform and eGovernment in the Office of the Prime Minister of Serbia. Previously, she was Macedonian Minister for ICT and Public Administration, and a C-level executive in several companies in the IT and telecommunication industry. She is considered to be one of the “digital pioneers” in the Western Balkans, leading one of the first Internet Service Providers and several cyber security initiatives. Marta is an Executive Board Member of the UN framework organization World Summit Awards, and is also serving other boards. Certified by the UN's ITU for building national digital innovation ecosystems, she is now advising governments, organizations and corporations on digital transformation and innovation. BSc. in Electrical Engineering, MSc. in Economy and Computer Science, educated at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Marta is frequent panelist and speaker on the most prestigious ICT conferences worldwide on topics such as digital transformation, innovation, and eGovernment.

    Francis Maude, Chairman and co-founder of FMA.

    Francis Maude

    Chairman and co-founder of FMA

    Francis is the Chairman and co-founder of FMA. He has had a distinguished career in Government, serving as Margaret Thatcher’s Minister for Europe and Hong Kong, and as Financial Secretary to the Treasury was her Minister for Privatization. Francis was also the Global Head of Privatization at investment bank Morgan Stanley. As UK Minister for the Cabinet Office from 2010 to 2015, Francis led an efficiency and reform programme that delivered cumulative savings from the operating costs of government of more than £52 billion. He and his team developed the “functional model” of government to break down the separate silos that in many governments stand in the way of efficient and effective delivery of services. Francis has recently undertaken a pro bono review of spend controls and the functional model for the British government.

    Raj Kumar is the founding President & Editor-in-Chief of Devex,

    Raj Kumar

    Founding President & Editor-in-Chief of Devex

    Raj Kumar is the founding President & Editor-in-Chief of Devex, the media platform for the global development community. A social enterprise dedicated to ensuring global development efforts do more good for more people, Devex was born in 2000 when Raj was a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School. Today, there are 100+ Devexers around the world serving a global audience of more than one million aid workers and development professionals. Beginning as a kid in Kerala, India, Raj has witnessed firsthand determined and courageous development work in over 50 countries - it’s what drives the Devex mission to “Do Good. Do It Well." He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Save the Children Board of Trustees, a media leader and former humanitarian council chair for the World Economic Forum, and has interviewed on-camera and on-stage hundreds of global luminaries on the most important challenges of our time. Raj is the author of the book "The Business of Changing the World," a go-to primer on the ideas, people, and technology disrupting the aid industry.


    Francisco Gaetani

    Former Executive Secretary, Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management, Federal Government of Brazil

    Francisco Gaetani is currently the Coordinator of the Professional Master Program at Getúlio Vargas Foundation and Board President of the Institute. He previous positions have included Vice Minister of Planning, Vice Minister of Environment and President of the National School of Public Administration. Francisco also worked for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), holding the position, among others, of General Coordinator in Brazil and UN Ambassador in Brazil. Francisco received a PhD in Public Administration from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Public Policies also from LSE.


    Ed Olowo-Okere

    Director, Governance Global Practice, World Bank

    Ed Olowo-Okere, a Nigerian national with three decades of experience working on governance issues around the world, leads the World Bank’s Public Sector and Financial Management team in the Governance Global Practice. This group is focused on helping countries build capable, effective, accountable, transparent, and inclusive institutions that deliver citizen-centric services, facilitate private-sector growth, and build trust in Government. The group provides expertise on governance issues, ranging from public financial management, domestic resource mobilization, state-owned enterprises reform/ corporate governance, public institutions reform, decentralization/subnational governance to anti-corruption policies, fiduciary assurance, political economy analysis and GovTech (i.e. leveraging technology to modernize the public sector and improve service delivery to citizens and business, and increase efficiency, transparency and accountability). Mr. Olowo-Okere joined the World Bank in 1998 and has held various positions in operations, including Director of Governance overseeing Africa, MENA and ECA regions, Senior Advisor in the Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions practice group, and Director of the Core Operational Services Department in the Africa region. Before joining the Bank, Ed held public- and private-sector positions in Nigeria, Britain, and New Zealand. Ed holds a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honors) Degree in Accountancy from the University of Maiduguri and a Masters’ Degree in Accounting, with Distinctions, from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He has a Ph.D. in Management with a specialization in Change Management and Public Financial Management from the University of Bath, United Kingdom. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). He has researched and published in reputable international journals and lectured at undergraduate and graduate levels in Nigeria and New Zealand on accounting and finance.