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Cape Town, South Africa, 22 November 2016 – “the Mechanism is a beautiful instrument providing voices to the voiceless” these are sentiment of Speaker of South African Parliament and former APR Panel Member (2012 – 2014), Hon. Baleka Mbete. The Speaker of the South African Parliament echoed these words when she was receiving the African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons (APR Panel) and representatives of the Strategic Partners of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) at the Seat of the South African Parliament in Cape Town.
She said the work of the APRM enables Africa to move forward and freely on a daily basis. Hon. Mbete further reaffirmed South Africa’s commitment to the APRM and informed the guests that the Parliament will continue to champion APRM in South Africa. She stressed the need for Member States to engage with each other and build themselves through honest self-assessment and peer review. The Speaker noted that there is wisdom in the APRM being a voluntary process as the practice leads to more enthusiastic commitment and support from Member States. Hon. Baleka also emphasised that APRM has certainly been revitalised.
The event was organized on the margins of an ongoing Retreat between the APR Panel and Strategic Partners of the APRM. The engagement was aimed at strengthening relations between the South African Parliament and the Continental Mechanism.
The ceremony was opened with Welcoming Remarks by Mr. G. Mgidlana, Secretary to the Parliament, who introduced the dignitaries present, and the Deputy Speaker of the South African Parliament, Hon. Lechesa Tsenoli, who formally welcomed the APRM Delegation. He emphasized South Africa’s willingness to contribute effectively towards the revitalization of the APRM.
Dr. Abdalla Hamdok, Acting Executive Secretary of the UNECA, Dr. Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and Mr. Daniel Osiemo, CEO of the APRM Kenya National Secretariat, shared their sentiments about the existence of the APRM as the African response to good governance and highlighted the Parliament’s role as a critical decision-maker in defining the future for the African Continent.
“The APRM process allows all sectors and those who have never made an input on national governance to be consulted which shows them that their views count”, said Dr. Janneh.
He further welcomed the appointment of Mo Ibrahim Foundation as a Strategic Partner of the APRM, emphasized the importance of the APRM and pledged his Foundation’s readiness to collaborate with the APRM.
Dr. Mekideche highlighted the significance of hosting the APR Panel Retreat in Cape Town, South Africa being one of the founding Member States of the APRM. He encouraged the South African Parliament to continue supporting and prioritising APRM on the Parliament’s agenda.
“We call for increased support to the APRM from African Development Bank (AfDB) and the APRM Member States, including South Africa in order to increase capacity and capability of APRM to implement its mandate effectively”, said the Panel Chair.
He commended Professor Edward Maloka for his able leadership of the APRM Secretariat, and the South African Government, for its constant support to the APRM since the inception of the Mechanism.
Mr. Daniel Osiemo, representative of H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, Chairperson of the APRM Forum of Heads of State and Government participating in the APRM, thanked South Africa for its contribution to the APRM to date. He also commended the CEO of the APRM Secretariat for bringing life into the APRM, as attested by the positive developments being witnessed within the Mechanism.
Mr. Osiemo informed Parliament about the outcome of the APRM Search Committee Meeting held earlier in the week, which culminated in the selection of six (6) potential candidates to be recommended for approval by the APR Forum as new Members of the APR Panel as from January 2017. He announced that the Committee recommended a full nine (9)-member Panel on board to ensure the effective implementation of APRM activities in 2017 and beyond. He also appealed to the APRM stakeholders to step up efforts towards promoting accession to APRM by all of the AU Member States so as to reinforce the continental scope of the APRM initiative.
Dr. Hamdok recalled the technical and financial support that ECA has been offering to APRM and reiterated the Commission’s willingness to collaborate further with the continental Mechanism. He emphasised the importance of the APRM, “a unique instrument that cannot be compared with any other mechanism in the field of Governance worldwide.”
In its closing statement, the APR Panel congratulated the Speaker of the House for her good work as a woman in leadership in Africa. The Panel also conveyed gratitude to South Africa as a founding Member State and as host of the Continental Secretariat and encouraged South Africa to undergo its second review.
The APR Panel Delegation comprised Dr. Mustapha Mekideche (Chairperson), Professor Mahamoud Youssouf Khayal (Vice-Chairperson), Ambassador Fatuma Ndangiza, Ambassador Ashraf Rashed, Professor Al-Amin Abu Manga, Hon. Joseph Tsang Mang Kin and Hon. Brigitte Mabandla.
The delegation of APRM Strategic Partners comprised UNDP, UNECA, ACBF, International IDEA and Mo Ibrahim Foundation.