The 18th Summit of the APR Forum of participating Heads of State and Government, held on Saturday 26 January 2013, marked the official launch of the commemoration of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) 10th Anniversary.
On that very unique and special occasion, a high-level interactive panel discussion was organised to reflect on the lessons learned and challenges of the last decade, as well as the way forward. Five sitting heads of states and government participated in the roundtable, moderated by Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of UNECA:
– H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia
– H.E. Abdelmalek Sellal, Prime Minister of Algeria
– H.E. Boni Yayi, President of Benin.
– H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda
– H.E. Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa
Each of them made a valuable contribution to the roundtable and answered questions on themes for discussion, transposing them to their own country’s experience. Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal highlighted the positive impact of the APRM at country level recalling the achievements of the Algerian experience of the Peer Review Process. President Boni Yayi emphasized the challenges yet to be overcome by APRM to improve the Mechanism and go further. In response to a question on managing diversity in Africa and specifically policy perspectives on promoting women empowerment and gender equality, President Kagame spoke about the importance of women leadership, accountability for commitments to women empowerment and the need to accelerate the momentum towards greater inclusion and fairness. Jacob Zuma and Hailemariam Desalegn addressed the issue of youth and unemployment in their respective countries and presented the national solutions they are setting up to resolve this critical challenge in the African continent.
The Launch was witnessed by two of the Founding Fathers of APRM: Olusẹgun Ọbasanjọ, former President of Nigeria and Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa. Addressing the eminent audience present in the Plenary Room of the AUC Old Conference Centre, they both made a passionate plea in favour of the instrument they have largely contributed to create and build. Thabo Mbeki stated that « The more you know that your African brothers and sisters will help you in the process, the more honest you are going to be (…) It is important that we take seriously what comes out of the Review Report and that we act on it ».
The other major landmark of the Launch was the signature of the MOU on the Technical Assessment Missions by HOSG of Tunisia and Chad, making them the 32nd and 33rd countries to join officially join the APRM.
The Launch was followed by the traditional closed session of the APR Forum, during which Tanzania and Zambia Country Review Reports were peer-reviewed. In addition, Benin Annual Progress Report on the implementation of the NPOA was also presented.
Finally, The APR Forum elected Mr. Joseph Tsang Mang Kin from Mauritius to serve as the Ninth Member of the African Peer Review (APR) Panel of Eminent Persons.
Further to the official Launch, in commemorating a decade of the APRM, a series of events will be organized across the continent to celebrate APRM successes, reflect on its challenges and future prospects, and engage all APRM stakeholders:
– APRM Day at country level (9 March 2013);
– APRM Colloquium in Addis Ababa (May 2013).