The African Union Harmonises Governance Initiatives through the African Governance Architecture (AGA)

The African Union Harmonises Governance Initiatives through the African Governance Architecture (AGA)

The African Union Harmonises Governance Initiatives through the African Governance Architecture (AGA)

by Ms Delice Zakeyo, APRM Continental Secretariat

During the course of the past year, the African Union has made great strides in harmonising its concerted efforts in promoting and strengthening democracy and human rights on the African Continent. One of the key platforms through which this work has been done is the African Governance Architecture (AGA). This commendable collective effort assists in the prevention and avoidance of overlaps and duplication in the AU organs’ work as articulated in the African Union Institutional Reform Agenda.

The African Governance Architecture (AGA) is a platform for dialogue between the various institutions with the mandate to promote good governance and strengthen democracy in Africa. The Architecture came about as a result of a Declaration from the AU Assembly – Assembly/AU/Decl.1(XVI) On the Theme of the Summit: “Towards Greater Unity and Integrating through Shared Values”, as adopted by the 16th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2011. The Declaration reaffirmed the importance of establishing an African Governance Platform as a basis for facilitating harmonisation of instruments and coordination of initiatives in governance and democracy. It is also in line with the African Union Institutional reforms, as championed by President Kagame of Rwanda, which calls for better coordination between AU organs and institutions.

Comprised of the African Union Organs, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and institutions with a mandate to promote governance, democracy and human rights, the AGA Platform is an institutional mechanism of the African Governance Architecture. The Platform is governed by a Bureau consisting of a Chairperson, a Vice Chairperson and a Rapporteur who, according to the Rules of Procedure, shall serve for a non-renewable term of two years. Currently, chairing the AGA Platform is the Africa Peer Review Mechanism, with, ECOWAS as Vice Chair and the AU Commission’s Department of Political Affairs as Rapporteur.

The African Governance Platform is composed of the following African Union Organs and Institutions: The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM); The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights; The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; The African Court on Human and People’s Rights; The African Union Advisory Board on Corruption; The African Union Commission on International Law; The African Union Commission; The Economic, Social, and Cultural Council; The NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency; The Pan-African Parliament; The Peace and Security Council; and Regional Economic Communities.

As part of the harmonisation and coordination of efforts and in also trying to avoid duplication, AGA Platform Members agreed on their 2018 priority areas and confirmed that the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) would be the lead institution on an annual ‘Assessment of the State of Governance in Africa’. Subsequently, the APRM has held several technical consultative meetings and meetings with other AU organs to gain their input on the inaugural report to be presented at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, in February 2019.

The AGA platform, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, is mandated to offer technical support towards the fulfilment of the provisions for reporting of the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance (ACDEG). As such, the APRM, The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) and the East African Community (EAC) participated at the Rwanda National Stakeholders Consultative Workshop on State Parties Reports under (ACDEG) from 4-5 October 2018. The workshop provided technical assistance and facilitated the submission of the State Parties initial report on the implementation of ACDEG in Rwanda.

Part of the mandate of individual Platform Members, under the guidance and coordination of the AU Commission, is to serve as an evaluation mechanism for the implementation of the ACDEG. As such, Platform members reviewed the Togo State report in the period between May and August 2018. The Platform also reviewed Togo’s implementation of ACDEG, and the AGA Platform technical and political heads are currently awaiting the opportunity to engage the Government of Togo’s representatives on their results of the reviews and their findings.

Nevertheless, more work needs to be done to reach full potential in the implementation of the African Union Shared Values on the continent, for the benefit of its citizens. In particular, the promotion and strengthening of peace and security on the African Continent needs to be emphasised. To achieve this, stronger institutional and operational synergy between AGA and APSA is essential in order to allow for better evidence-based early warning mechanisms that can be translated to early conflict prevention action by the Peace and Security department. This is critical as sustainable and human development is difficult to attain without a strong foundation of good governance, democracy and peace.

As a continental framework, the AGA should strive to assist in promoting and supporting member states’ compliance and implementation of the African Union and Regional Economic Communities’ shared values instruments. This can be attained by capitalising on each platform member’s strengths and experience within their respective mandates. Also, of added advantage is the legally binding nature of some of the AGA Platform member’s treaty commitments which can make member states accountable to the African public.

As the year nears its end, the African Union Advisory Body on Corruption (AUABC) leads the Platform members on convening the AU Annual High – Level Dialogue on the theme of the year “Winning the fight against Corruption in Africa”. The dialogue will be held in Gaborone Botswana from 28-30 November at the Gaborone International Conference Centre (GICC) and will be preceded by Gender Pre-Forum on Corruption and Women’s Rights in Africa: Trends, Challenges and Prospects. This will be an important venue for all platform members to reinforce their shared anti-corruption goals, in pursuit of a better life for all Africans. A luta continua!