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South Africa, Johannesburg, 20 May 2020 – The APRM, represented by Mr. Hugues Manzila from the Country Review Coordination Division, was invited to join a virtual meeting organized by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO), in order to sensitise Civil Society Organisations about the APRM Process in the Republic of Botswana. This virtual meeting brought together 34 participants and was also highlighted by the attendance of high officials from the Ministry for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, which is currently playing the role of the APRM Focal Point in the Republic of Botswana.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Steven Gruzd, Programme Head of African Governance and Diplomacy from SAIIA, who emphasized that Botswana’s accession to the APRM provides civil society organisations (CSOs) with a very rare opportunity to have a higher voice, as Government’s plans for the APRM process are still at an early stage. Nevertheless, it should be recognised that the extent of their involvement is up to the CSOs, depending on how informed, interested and mobilised they are, even though this could prove particularly challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements. SAIIA and the Botswana Council for Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) have worked together to develop the Botswana APRM Popular Sensitisation (BAPS) Project, which was launched in March 2020. BAPS’s purpose is to enhance the participation of CSOs in Botswana’s APRM process, through capacity building, fostering better knowledge of the APRM and its rules and opportunities, and developing evidenced-based written submission on key governance issues. The workshop aimed to cover APRM fundamentals, experiences of other SADC countries in the APRM, and focus on how civil society can make a significant and practical difference in Botswana’s APRM process.
The Republic of Botswana became the 38th African Union member state to voluntarily accede to the APRM in January 2019. This signalled President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s laudable commitment to good governance to reduce corruption and promote the rule of law. The APRM’s guidelines do require that civil society ought to be meaningfully involved in each country’s review process. Together with government and the private sector, CSOs in Botswana will contribute to identify and diagnose governance gaps to be strengthened and develop appropriate and applicable remedies.
The APRM reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of the Country Review Process in the Republic of Botswana through working resiliently with the government in order to establish, as soon as possible, APRM national structures such as the National Governing Council and the National Secretariat which are vital entities for successful Country Reviews of the Republic of Botswana. In addition, there are several potential benefits stemming from Botswana’s accession to the APRM. As a proudly African-owned entity, the APRM process can catalyse and bolster reform efforts, and open civic space for CSOs and citizens through the dialogue it promotes. It is also an opportunity for Botswana to learn, explain and showcase its best practices to its African peers, and to build capacity in Botswana’s CSOs.
Resource persons from Zambia and the Republic of Namibia attended the virtual meeting and shared their rich experiences and expertise at the workshop, which promoted peer learning, in terms of challenges and potential solutions they have respectively put in place such as the organisation of CSOs into clusters reflecting the 4 thematic areas of the APRM in order to have a meaningful contribution in the country review process, which aims to be an inclusive and transparent process by promoting ownership of the review process and accountability.
About the APRM
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is an autonomous entity of the African Union with the primary mandate of fostering practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable and inclusive development, as well as accelerated regional and continental integration. It seeks to rectify underlying deficiencies in governance and socioeconomic development processes among member states of the African Union by conforming to the agreed political, economic and corporate governance values, codes and standards contained in the Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance. The APRM was adopted by African Heads of State and Government as a systematic peer learning and self-assessment mechanism originating from the NEPAD foundational document adopted in Durban, South Africa in July 2002.
For inquiries please contact: Liziwe Masilela (Head of Communications APRM)