By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused great suffering on the African continent and around the world, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) remains as a priority for countries on the continent, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
"It has claimed the lives of millions of people, devastated economies and destroyed livelihoods, "Ramaphosa said.
Chairing the 30th African Peer Review Forum of Heads of State and Government, Ramaphosa said the pandemic has placed systems of governance and service provision under significant strain, pushing resources and capabilities to the limit.
"Under these conditions, and as we work to rebuild in the wake of COVID-19, the African Peer Review Mechanism [APRM] takes on even greater significance. The APRM mission to promote the African Union’s shared values of democratic governance and inclusive development remains a priority, "Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa assumed the chair of the APRM in February 2020.
In his virtual address on Thursday, the President said the APRM is a firm statement of the resolve of African countries to strengthen effective governance, democratic practice, the rule of law and social and economic development.
"It is an important part of our effort – as individual states and as a continent – to tackle instability, conflict, corruption and maladministration. The APRM team, in collaboration with members of the African Governance Architecture Platform, produced the Africa Governance Report 2021 on African Governance Futures to 2063," said the President.
The National Governance Report team validated a toolkit for producing National Governance Reports with Member States.
The team worked with the Kenya APRM National Secretariat on virtual training and preparatory activities for the first pilot National Governance Report.
The development phase of the pilot Kenya National Governance Report was launched virtually on 9 October 2020.
Meanwhile, the APRM Monitoring and Evaluation team held a virtual capacity building workshop and developed a continental training programme on the integration of APRM National Programmes of Action into national development plans.
Member States that participated included South Africa, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Mauritius, Nigeria, Djibouti and Egypt.
The Research and Monitoring and Evaluation teams completed 55 country profiles for the Governance Atlas, using the APRM Electronic Questionnaire tool.
The APR Forum is a Committee of Participating Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the African Union (AU) who have voluntarily chosen to accede to the APRM. This authority is the highest decision-making body in the APRM.
The APR Forum has ultimate responsibility for oversight of the APRM organisation and processes, for mutual learning and capacity building, and for exercising constructive peer dialogue and persuasion.
The 30th Summit of the Forum has among other items, welcomed the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the newest Member State to accede to the APRM.
The Summit also conducted the peer review of Liberia, discussed reports on targeted reviews of Sierra Leone and Zambia, receive a briefing on Sudan’s governance gap analysis and receive an update on progress in Nigeria’s second review process.
Kenya and Mozambique made presentations on the implementation of their national programmes of action.
The African Peer Review Mechanism was established in 2003 as a specialised agency of the African Union (AU) that serves as a platform for sharing experiences and reinforcing best practices towards political stability, accelerated economic growth and regional and continental integration as well as sustainable development.
It further seeks to foster change in underlying deficiencies in governance and socioeconomic development processes among member states.