Wow APRM turns 18 on 9 March! What an incredible journey it has been.
Over the years, the Mechanism has been through quite a roller-coaster ride, including some high highs and low lows, with a first peak during its formative years at the head of the African Renaissance, as championed by the NEPAD founders from 2003-2008, followed by waning enthusiasm and low spirits, and its resuscitation by APRM Heads of State in 2016, followed by the successful revitalisation and closer integration into the AU family during the years 2016-2021!
And here we are… celebrating yet another milestone, including our resilience and some great achievements in 2020 and early 2021 despite the pandemic!
Forty (40) countries have voluntarily joined the APRM over the years, with two (2) more slated to join at the upcoming 30th APRM Summit, scheduled for 25 March 2021.
Twenty-three (23) countries have undergone the APRM Country review process. Five (5) have opened themselves up again for second-generation reviews. Four have completed targeted reviews on specific governance challenges.
In 2021, Namibia has opted to subject itself to its maiden country review… and two more countries will join this elite group of governance reformers by the end of 2021.
In the past 18 years the APRM has seen tangible results because of the interventions and recommendations from its country review reports. Indeed, the Impact of the APRM on the Continent is real. It has:
- Enhanced the structure and level of engagement between state actors and non-state actors;
- Served as an early-warning mechanism to avert national crisis and its ripple effects in neighbouring countries Amongst other things, the APRM predicted the 2007 general elections crisis in Kenya and the outbursts of xenophobic attacks on nonnational Africans in South Africa in 2008;
- Identified areas that require intervention and has set governance reform priorities including its highlights of common governance challenges across the continent, such as managing diversity, curbing corruption, and strengthening accountability institutions;
- Improved levels of awareness amongst citizens and non-state actors on issues of governance:
- In Uganda, for example, the country self-assessment, country review reports and National Programme of Action, together with the annual progress reports arising out of the 2008 and 2018 reviews are now important reference works on the history, achievements, prospects, problems and challenges of the institutions and processes of governance. They create a platform for activists and lobbyists to track Uganda’s commitments to improving governance. They have also created a rich resource of information for those interested in Uganda’s future to draw on as they shape the country’s policies;
- In Ghana, the APRM led to a reduction in the size of cabinet, as well as the passing of laws to protect whistle-blowers and promote access to information; and
- In Rwanda, the review recommendations contributed to reforms of the business environment and improvements in various governance indices that measure control of corruption, government effectiveness and the transparency of the regulatory framework.
In short, the APRM has been an indispensable tool for conducting grand, national policy debates on the past, present and future of governance in Member States. It has led to an open, frank, and non-intimidating debate on the manner, policies, and roadmap for governance improvements. It has therefore created new spaces for citizen participation in public affairs and provided a niche that progressive Africans can use to promote democracy, human rights, and African citizenship.
We do not seek to paint only a glossy picture of the achievements of the APRM, but to celebrate the incredible challenges that we have overcome. We also take this time to celebrate the fact that we stand as a respected voice in the governance narrative of the Continent.
We celebrate a Mechanism that is conceived by Africans for Africans… a Mechanism which has endured so much, but through the determination and perseverance of our Leaders, we have come to this point, where we can confidently pat ourselves on the back, for a job well done, and act as a reference for Africa to 2063, through our latest Africa Governance Report on Africa Governance Futures Scenarios …
…nevertheless, a lot still stands before us! We have very ambitious objectives that we have set for ourselves including:
- To achieve universal accession by all 55 AU Member States by 2023;
- For all inactive APRM countries to meaningfully participate in governance reforms by 2023;
- For the APRM national and continental organs to assist the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) in Early Warning and Conflict Prevention, and in Silencing the Guns;
- To assist Member States with advisory services in Credit Ratings; and
- Assist Member States to achieve mutually agreed objectives in socio-economic development and contribute to the attainment of AU Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 SDGs goals and aspirations.
Here’s to APRM 2023…. Here’s to the African we all want, an Africa we are all proud of.