APRM: A mission to entrench democracy, good governance in the continent

Date: 13 Apr 2012

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Durban - South Africa

Africa's mission to entrench democracy and foster good governance among its nations gained momentum when the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) held its two-day summit at Durban's Coastlands Conference Centre in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday and Saturday (13-14 April 2012).

Attended by African Peer Review Focal Point Ministers, African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons and Heads of Delegation from the APRM's 31 acceded member states, the summit's main discussion points revolved around putting into practice the Operating Procedures of the APRM adopted at the 16th Summit of the APR Forum in Ethiopia earlier this year, as well as the self assessment methods relating to the revised APRM Master Questionnaire - a guideline for self assessment - in line with latest technological advancements.

Widely seen as Africa's innovation in entrenching democracy, the APRM's overarching perspective is good governance predicated on participation regularity, accountability, inclusiveness, openness and transparency and its relationship to efficiency and responsiveness.

Established in 2003, the APRM is a voluntary body whereby participating African Union member-states assess themselves under an agreed set of rules and mechanisms for the advancement of democracy and political governance; economic governance and management; good governance and socio-economic development.

Hosted by Minister for Public Service and Administration, Mr. Roy Padayachie and the APRM Secretariat, strategies deliberated and resolutions taken at the conference are likely to vastly improve the way Africa's innovative peer review body of good governance conducts its day-to-day business.

Minister Padayachie, who is South Africa's Focal Point in the APRM, described the APRM's self assessment tool as the process that promotes internal dialogue both among member states and within their individual societies, saying it was therefore developmental in nature.

"As APRM member-states we still have a lot to do in enhancing the interconnectedness of good governance and economic growth that the APRM fosters," he said.

Concurring with these sentiments, APRM's Focal Points Chairperson, Mr. Newai Gebreab of Ethiopia remarked that while good governance is the APRM's overarching objective, the body strives for the attainment of full equality for all citizens in the Continent.

"In Africa 250 million youths are unemployed and live below the poverty line. Revival and stamping of agriculture for economic growth must be emphasized, and the fight against diseases such as malaria and HIV/Aids must be intensified from all fronts", he said.

According to the chairperson of the African Peer Review Panel of Experts, Professor Amos Sawyer rules and their regular review are the life blood of the governance and work of the APRM.

Unique both in its scope and breadth, the APRM's review process extends to all levels of government, Parliament and the judiciary as well as the private sector and civil society organizations.

The core principle is that every review exercise carried out under the authority of the mechanism must be technically competent, credible and free of political manipulation.

It is a non-adversarial learning process among peers that relies heavily on mutual trust among the states involved in the review, as well as shared confidence in the process.

Participation in the process is open to all member-states of the African Union. Accession entails undertaking to submit to periodic peer reviews, as well as to facilitate such reviews, and be guided by agreed parameters for good political governance and good economic and corporate governance.

For more information contact: Dumisani Nkwamba at 082 885 9448/ dumisaniN@dpsa.gov.za

Zingisile Mapazi

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