Ten years ago, on 9 March 2003, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a mutually agreed instrument for self-monitoring, was established by Member States of the African Union to identify strengths and challenges in four thematic areas of Governance on the African Continent: Democracy and Political Governance, Economic Governance and Management, Corporate Governance and Socio-economic Development. The Mechanism is commemorating its 10th Anniversary on 9 March 2013, dubbed “APRM Day”.
The APRM is centred on deepening democracy, strengthening achievements while rectifying weaknesses in the governance and socio-economic development processes in the African Union Member States. The overall objective is to encourage and build transformative leadership at all levels, forge constructive national dialogue, through an inclusive and participatory self-assessment process, and foster 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.
Since its inception, the APRM has made significant progress in terms of the number of countries that have acceded, the roll-out of the review exercise, as well as the level of participation and engagement of stakeholders. So far, the membership has increased to thirty-three (33) Countries, of which seventeen have successfully completed their self-assessment and have been peer-reviewed.
Despite the progress achieved, there is a need to redouble our efforts to ensure national ownership, inclusive participatory process for all stakeholders, as well as the credible implementation of the recommendations emanating from the reviews. The APRM is also unknown to the majority of our peoples and the rest of the world. Indeed, this calls for increased public awareness of the APRM process.
To this end, the Heads of State and Government participating in the APRM (APR Forum) launched the 10th Anniversary of the APRM at its 18th Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 26 January2013. It was an opportunity to raise awareness of and reflect on the accomplishments of the APRM process as well as the challenges identified with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the Mechanism.
Throughout the year 2013, a series of events will be organised across the continent. Today, 9 March 2013, is a landmark in the annals of the Continental Mechanism as the APRM Day is being commemorated in each individual Member State. “APRM Working for the Peoples of Africa” is the theme for the APRM Day.
The APRM is not only commemorating its achievements; it is also reflecting on its challenges and exploring ways and means of improving on the process at both country and continental levels.
Today, we must congratulate ourselves as Africans on the progress achieved in attracting membership and sustaining this home-grown process for scrutinising our governance practices over the past ten years. Whereas it has not been an easy task, as attested by critics of the process here and there, the APRM has definitely made an indelible mark on the African Continent.
We must, therefore, celebrate without diverging from its mandate.
I wish you all happy celebrations!!!