The APRM came into existence in 2003 when some member States of the African Union (AU) came together for the purpose. It is the process through which those AU members that voluntarily joined take a look at their performance in some key areas themselves. The aim is to enable Africans find solutions to Africa’s problems. It is also known as a “peer review” system (or mechanism). Through this system, representatives from African countries would take a look at the way in which other African countries that have signed up to the process rule (or govern) themselves. By so doing, the problems they face in ruling (or governance) would be identified and appropriate recommendations would be made for improving governance. Sierra Leone became a member of this peer review system (or APRM) in 2004.
WHAT IS THE APRM PROCESS?
The APRM process entails a country voluntarily accepting to undertake an internal assessment of all its governance systems by ordinary citizens, after which a verification exercise is conducted by an independent panel from the African Union (AU). What comes out of this process is a Report, called the Country Self-Assessment (CSA) Report. This report is prepared along with what is called a Programme of Action. Both documents enable other Heads of State to peer review the country that has volunteered to be reviewed, with the aim of encouraging policies and practices that promote “good governance” and development.
At the time of writing, 29 member states of the AU have voluntarily agreed to be reviewed (that is, be part of the APRM) and out of this number, 11 have already completed the review process.
WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIVES OF THE APRM?
- To make sure that NEPAD’s priorities and programmes are quickly put in place and acted upon by member States
- To encourage member States to work towards achieving objectives and protocols that have been agreed and to help them to comply with acceptable behaviour
- To share best practice in the area of good governance and economic development
- To encourage members States to put in place policies, standards and practices that lead to stability, high economic growth and development that is good for generations to come
- To help ensure that the policies that have been put in place to help the various sub-regions in Africa work more closely together economically are followed through
- To find out where there are weaknesses in the system and work out how these can be strengthened
- To make it possible for African leaders to continue to exchange ideas among themselves so that the way they govern would improve and be acceptable, which would serve the interests and welfare of African people.
CORE VALUES OF THE APRM
- Open, transparent and inclusive national consultations
- Professionalism and technical competence
- Full participation of citizens
- Non-political interference
- National ownership
- A process designed, owned and managed by Africans
- It is voluntary in nature and participating in the process is open to all member States of the AU
- It is neither a score card for competition among countries nor is it a condition for giving assistance
- The assessment is not only about what the Government does but governance in general, including the private sector, civil society and professional associations
- The core guiding principles of the APRM are that every Review should be technically competent, transparent , credible , and free of political manipulation
- The APRM must come out with a Programme of Action to address capacity gaps, shortcomings and lapses