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Fellow Citizens of Africa,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We commemorate today the 13th Anniversary of the establishment of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
As you may be aware, it was on 9 March 2003 – thirteen (13) years ago – that the Participating Member States of the African Union established the African Peer Review Mechanism in Abuja, Nigeria. Since then, 35 Countries have voluntarily acceded to the APRM, seventeen (17) of which have undergone their self-assessment process and are implementing their National Programme of Action. Djibouti is the 18th country to be peer-reviewed at the next Summit of the Forum of Heads of State and Government Participating in the African Peer Review Mechanism.
The African Peer Review Mechanism is a unique voluntary instrument conceived by Africans for Africans to identify challenges and strengthen Good Governance in the African Continent in four thematic areas – Democracy and Political Governance, Economic Governance and Management, Corporate Governance and Socio-Economic Development.
The APRM has made significant strides in the Continent in terms of promoting democratic values and opening up political space for citizens’ participation in policy debates and increased advocacy for good governance.
In some participating countries, APRM activities have helped to prevent or warn against intra- and inter-state conflict; promote constitutional democracy, political competition and the rule of law; protect civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights; uphold separation of powers and effective legislature; combat corruption in the public sphere, as well as to promote and protect the rights of women, children, young people and vulnerable groups. The APRM has also helped to improve the quality of national dialogue, thanks to its inclusive process, which fosters national ownership.
It is therefore important for the Mechanism to continue making its presence and value felt by African peoples across the Continent.
A number of landmark events have taken place since the last APRM DAY Celebrations in 2015. A Review Mission was undertaken in Djibouti from 5 to 19 August 2015. The Review Report will be discussed by the Heads of State and Government Participating in the APRM at their next Summit. Five missions have been conducted in Rwanda, Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Liberia to support the countries in their national APRM processes. As regards presentation of APRM Review Reports to African Union Institutions, four Review Reports of Algeria, Burkina Faso, Uganda, and Lesotho were tabled at the First Ordinary Session of the Fourth Legislature of the Pan-African Parliament.
For the year 2016, four (4) base review missions are planned for Chad, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Sudan, along with a Second Review of Kenya.
The APRM continues to support Member States to establish national structures and sensitise stakeholders to take ownership of the APRM agenda in their respective countries. The recent appointment of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the APRM Secretariat, at the Special Summit of Heads of State and Governments Participating in the APRM in January 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was a welcome development as it brings stability and consistency in the management of the affairs of the Mechanism. This is demonstrative of the CEO’s bid to revive the APRM and restore the Mechanism to its mandate of deepening democracy with a view to strengthening achievements, disseminating best practices and rectifying underlying deficiencies in governance and socio-economic development processes in the continent.
In spite of this commendable progress, the APRM has experienced a stagnation in the membership of the Mechanism and a further inertia in the number of Countries that engage the Review Process beyond accession. The Continental Mechanism has also experienced challenges in financing Reviews and staffing of the Continental Secretariat in South Africa. It is therefore critical that we revive, energize and reinvigorate the APRM profile in an endeavour to restore confidence in the APRM as a credible Governance Authority and the major early warning instrument against crises in Africa.
The restoration phase will include building and improving management systems to sustain a solid Secretariat that will anchor future growth in capabilities and programmes, completing the APRM integration into the AU System and rescuing APRM finances.
The renewal phase will include building a comprehensive Continental M&E System, with links to National M&E frameworks for implementation of National Programmes of Action (NPOAs), creating sound working relations with the AU Commission and other AU Organs, and with the APRM Strategic Partners. Plans are underway to revisit and update the APRM Base Documents to mainstream new developments such as the African Governance Architecture (AGA), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Peace-building and the AU Agenda 2063. A three-year calendar of missions will further be introduced along with the migration from paper to e-technologies to allow for universal access to APRM products. In addition to these initiatives, the APRM will be producing flagship publications and will host annual flagship conferences. There are also plans to implement, within the 2016-2020 period, a strategy for building a viable Knowledge Management Platform to effectively generate, document, disseminate and monitor the large body of information and data resulting from the review processes.. It is vital that the APRM champion the much-desired data revolution on Governance in Africa.
The Secretariat has also embarked on a resource mobilization drive as part of the new CEO’s Turnaround Strategy. Correspondence has been dispatched to countries that have provided special contributions in the past to urge them to do so again. Courtesy calls have been made to APRM Member States to remind them of their outstanding contributions. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged to make a contribution in 2016. We also envisage approaching African Private Sector Funders, including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
The revival of the APRM can be achieved only if all stakeholders including Government, APRM Strategic Partners and APRM National and Continental Structures play their roles effectively. We further call upon civil society, businesses, media, academics and faith-based organisations to engage with the APRM in a more effective and consistent manner. With the support of all APRM Stakeholders, the Mechanism will surely grow from strength to strength, in promoting governance and sustainable development in Africa.
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to, once more, encourage the African Union Member States that have not yet joined the APRM to do so in order to help the APRM to strengthen governance – an essential condition for rapid economic growth and sustainable development in Africa.
Let us work hand in hand in our endeavour to raise awareness of the APRM as a credible African instrument for promoting good governance.
I wish you a Happy APRM Day!