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Eleven years ago, on 9th March 2003, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a mutually agreed self-monitoring instrument of governance, was established by participating Member States of the African Union to identify strengths and challenges in Governance on the African Continent in four thematic areas: Democracy and Political Governance, Economic Governance and Management, Corporate Governance and Socio-Economic Development.
The Mechanism will therefore be marking its 11th Anniversary on 9th March 2014.
The African Peer Review Mechanism is centred on deepening democracy and strengthening achievements while rectifying weaknesses in governance and socio-economic development processes among the African Union Member States. It is aimed at encouraging and building transformative leadership and constructive national dialogue, through an inclusive participatory self-assessment process, and at fostering policies and practices that would lead to the attainment of the NEPAD objectives of political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated sub-regional and continental economic integration.
The commemorative events of the APRM Day will contribute towards energizing and invigorating the APRM Process in the Member States. This Day not only reminds us of the enormous challenges that Africa continues to face, but also presents us with the various opportunities available to African People, which can be explored through the APRM process in order to mitigate the challenges facing us.
Last year the APRM commemorated its 10th Anniversary, by hosting a Colloquium which more than 200 stakeholders attended. The APRM Colloquium underscored the importance of good governance in the social and economic transformation processes in promoting sustainable growth and development in Africa.
Some Member States marked the 10th Anniversary by holding Public Lectures, some marched through their streets, and some held press conferences. The Commemorative events befitted the good work accomplished by the Mechanism.
Since its inception, the African Peer Review Mechanism has made significant progress in terms of the number of countries that have acceded, the rolling out of the review exercise, the deepening of the review process, as well as the level of participation and engagement of stakeholders.
The APRM membership continues to grow! To date, thirty-four (34) countries have joined the Mechanism. Seventeen (17) of them have successfully completed their self-assessment exercise and they have already been peer-reviewed.
Despite the progress achieved, there is a need to double our efforts to deepen Reviews at Country level, ensure national ownership, full participation of all stakeholders as well as the effective implementation of the National Programme of Action (NPoAs) and the recommendations emanating from the reviews.
Regrettably, the Mechanism is unknown to the majority of the people of Africa and the rest of the world, hence the need for increased public awareness of the APRM process.
This year, we hope to boost our outreach programmes and events in order to raise public awareness of the APRM, to bring on board and garner support from more stakeholders. Our aim is to popularise the APRM within Africa and beyond, to ensure that the Mechanism gains the international recognition it deserves.
It is in this context that, at its 18th Summit held in Addis Ababa on 26th January 2013, the APR Forum declared the 9th of March as APRM Day and endorsed its commemoration by the APRM Member Countries annually. The commemoration offers the opportunity to raise awareness and reflect on the accomplishments of the APRM, as well as the challenges inherent in the process, and explore the ways and means of enhancing the effectiveness of the Mechanism.
APRM Day must not only be viewed as a day to commemorate our achievements as a Continent; it must also be considered as a day to think up strategies that will strengthen the Mechanism, consolidate our achievements to date and help us chart the way forward as we endeavour to address the challenges to the political stability, peace and security, economic growth and sustainable development of our beloved Africa.
On this memorable Day, let us congratulate ourselves, as Africans, on the initiative taken in promoting increased membership of the Continental Mechanism and sustaining this home-grown process for scrutinising our governance practices over the past eleven years.
The APRM has definitely made an indelible mark and continues to make an invaluable contribution to the development of Africa. We must therefore intensify our efforts towards promoting good governance across the Continent and celebrate the APRM without losing focus, with regard to our mandate.
I wish you Happy APRM DAY!!!