Johannesburg, July 2020 – A virtual sensitization mission was undertaken by the Targeted Review Division, coordinated by Mrs Janet Mabwa, with the Republic of Sierra Leone on June 25th and 26th 2020 to present among others, an overview of APRM, Mandate, Structures, Processes and Products, Targeted Reviews, the APRM preliminary report on the governance response to COVID-19 in AU member-states, APRM Governance Structures and their Roles, the e-questionnaire thereof, and the tentative roadmap for the country’s Targeted Review.
In his opening remarks, H.E Ambassador Foday Yumkella, Minister of Political and Public Affairs and APRM Focal Point in Sierra Leone, indicated that his country recognizes the role that the APRM plays in the promotion of good governance in Africa and thanked the Continental Secretariat for choosing Sierra Leone as one of the countries which will be assessed as part of the Targeted Review calendar this year.
Ambassador Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika, APR Panel Member in charge of Sierra Leone, expressed her pleasure to partake in the virtual sensitization mission and oversee the APRM process in Sierra Leone, a task that she was entrusted with by the APR Forum of Heads of State and Government. She highlighted the devasting impact of COVID-19 on tourism and travel. In addition, the informal sector which represents an important lifeline for millions living in Sub-Saharan Africa is affected by the economic downturn currently observed across the continent. Ambassador Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika affirmed the importance of assessing the pandemic’s impact on Sierra Leone which a Targeted Review offering a credible, legitimate and independent analysis of COVID-19 is suited for.
Prof Eddy Maloka, CEO of the APRM Continental Secretariat, conveyed his gratitude to Sierra Leone for working closely with the Targeted Review Division and said that COVID-19 has altered our habits, disrupted our plans and forced us to interrogate our assumptions. While crises push us out of our comfortable routines, they need not be permanent determinants of our fates. Prof Maloka suggested moving as we cannot wait for the pandemic to go away to resume the serious business of government. It is imperative to make use of online tools, and tweak working methods to accelerate our digital transition and enhance our governance status for this era as well as subsequent ones.
In her speech, Ms Abigail Renner, Chair of the National Governing Council (NGC) in Sierra Leone, thanked the APRM Continental Secretariat for organizing a virtual sensitization mission with her country to explain Targeted Reviews and assured that, under her leadership, the NGC in Sierra Leone will continue supporting the APRM Continental Secretariat.
Dr Charles J. Silver, remarked that the virtual sensitization mission was one of his most exciting moments since he took over as Chair of the APRM National Secretariat in Sierra Leone. He said that, if the country is to succeed, strong national structures have to be established.
In the discussions held over two days, participants from Sierra Leone, suggested the inclusion of health literacy in the country’s National Programme of Action, the strengthening of digital capacity and reiterated the country’s commitment to the APRM process. H.E Foday Yumkella expressed a strong interest in Targeted Reviews on topics such as tourism and youth employment in addition to that on public health which will be conducted in 2020.
In closing, H.E Ambassador Foday Yumkella characterized the virtual sensitization mission as empowering. He said that it will serve as a lever to build a better continent through good governance practices. On behalf of H.E Dr Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, he conveyed his best wishes to H.E Cyril Ramaphosa, Chair of the AU, and the people of South Africa.
Ambassador Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika thanked H.E Dr. Julius Maada Bio for his country’s willingness to engage in a Targeted Review. Moreover, she commended Prof Eddy Maloka for his outstanding leadership which is key in the attainment of the “Africa we want”.
Ms Abigail Renner said that she was happy with the two-day virtual mission. She indicated that the NGC in Sierra Leone will work assiduously and that the Targeted Review is timely. She solicited the APRM Continental Secretariat’s support in expanding good governance in the country.
Finally, Dr Charles J. Silver affirmed that Sierra Leone’s commitment to the APRM is no longer a debate. Also, the Targeted Review process begun during the virtual sensitization mission will enable the country to make important arrangements for the successful conduct of the review.
For inquiries please contact: Liziwe Masilela (Head of Communications APRM)