13 November 2023: The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), an institution of the African Union (AU) voluntarily acceded to by its Member States will have its main 20th Anniversary Celebrations from 10 to 14 December 2023 in Johannesburg, Sandton, Republic of South Africa. The Mechanism serves as an African-owned and African-led platform for self-assessment, peer-learning, and experience sharing in democracy and good governance.
The 20th Anniversary of the APRM will be celebrated through a series of meetings and events under the theme: “Accelerating and Deepening Governance Reform, Measures, and Intervention.’’
The APRM was established on 9 March 2003. Since its inception, the mechanism has recorded a number of achievements including deepening democracy and good governance through its unique process of peer reviews and assessments. That has contributed to the strengthening of the participation of citizens in governance processes and fostering peer-to-peer engagements at the level of Heads of State and Government thus becoming a tool for the crystallization of the sacrosanct principle of African solutions to Africa problems.
As a premier homegrown, African good governance tool, the APRM has the primary purpose of fostering the adoption of policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable and inclusive development and accelerated regional and continental economic integration, through sharing of experiences and reinforcement of successful and best practices including providing up reliable data and information.
The APRM has the key mandate to ensure that the policies and practices of Participating States are in conformity with the agreed political, economic, and corporate governance values, codes and standards, and to achieve mutually agreed objectives in socioeconomic development contained in the AU Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance.
In order to bring the APRM in line with the evolving realities on the Continent and globally and also address a number of challenges, some of an institutional nature, it faced, the Mechanism was revitalized. The process of revitalization included a three-pronged strategy of restoration, reinvigoration, and renewal. The priorities of revitalization were: (1) revisiting the philosophy of the APRM; (2) revising the review methodology; (3) ensuring compliance with APRM principles; (4) resource mobilization; (5) integration of the APRM into the AU system; and (6) the role of the APRM in monitoring of AU agenda 2063 and the post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs).
As a result of the revitalization process, the APRM has been positioned to monitor, evaluate and track the implementation in key governance areas on the continent, including the AU Agenda 2063, and the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
The Mechanism has also be given an extended mandate to prepare the African Governance Report in collaboration with African Governance Architecture (AGA), and to present it to the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government every two (2) years.
The APRM has been conferred a further mandate to provide support to Member States in the field of international credit rating agencies, as well as to contribute to early warning for conflict prevention on the Continent, in harmony and synergy with the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and AGA.
The 20th Anniversary Celebrations will be an opportunity to reflect upon the APRM’s accomplishments and the impact it has had in advancing democracy and good governance across the continent. In the last twenty years, the APRM has recorded significant progress, with the number of its Member States increasing from six in 2003 to 43 at present. The Union of the Comoros is the latest AU Member State to accede to the Mechanism in February 2023.
In relation with its core mandate, the Mechanism has made notable achievements. So far, 26 countries have undertaken the first country review, while Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Nigeria and South Africa have completed their second country reviews.
Notable successes also include the conduct of eight (8) targeted reviews on specific areas in Zambia, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya, and Namibia, Senegal, Ghana and Mozambique. As part of the recent development of the Africa Governance Report on unconstitutional changes of government (UCG) in Africa, the APRM has also conducted targeted reviews on UCG in Sierra Leone, Chad, Lesotho, Guinea, Comoros. A Governance Gap Analysis has also been conducted in Sudan.
Apart from four original thematic areas of focus of the APRM (democracy and political governance; economic governance and management; corporate governance; and social economic development), the Mechanism has incorporated the 5th thematic area of focus, state resilience to shocks and disasters.
In recognizing these achievements, it would become evident that the APRM is indeed the premier AU tool for the entrenchment of democracy and good governance on the Continent. It is as a result of this realization that the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government at its 36th Ordinary Session held in February 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, through Decision Assembly/AU/Dec. 851(XXXVI) called upon all AU Member States and the entire AU system to join the APRM in the celebration of its 20th Anniversary with year-long activities and events.
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About the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is a mutually agreed instrument for member countries to voluntarily self-monitor their compliance with agreed international and continental governance standards. The APRM's vision is to build an Africa that is prosperous, peaceful, democratic, and sustainable. It aims to foster the adoption of policies, standards, and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development, and accelerated regional and continental economic integration.