Fellow Citizens of Africa,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We commemorate today the 12th Anniversary of the establishment of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
The APRM is a mutually agreed self-monitoring instrument created on 9th March 2003 by participating Member States of the African Union to identify challenges and strengthen Good Governance on the African Continent in four thematic areas - Democracy and Political Governance, Economic Governance and Management, Corporate Governance and Socio-Economic Development.
The APRM is a unique and voluntary instrument conceived by Africans for Africans. It represents a new paradigm in African Governance Architecture that aims to improve socio-economic transformation through domestic accountability and collective action among Member States. The Mechanism identifies deficiencies and promotes the sharing of best practices in addressing challenges in the area of Democratic Governance and Sustainable Development in Africa.
To date, 35 countries have voluntarily acceded to the APRM. They include, most recently, the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, which joined the APRM Family on 29 January 2015. Seventeen (17) of the Member Countries are peer-reviewed and implementing their respective National Programmes of Action (NPOAs). The NPOA is designed to tackle outstanding issues identified in the Country Review Processes while strengthening the good practices highlighted in the Review Reports.
Despite the commendable progress, more than 50% of the APRM Member States are yet to engage in the review process. In this regard, efforts are underway to fast-track the implementation in Member States where the APRM process has stalled or not moved beyond accession.
Since the previous APRM Day, the APRM has continued to support Member States to establish national structures and sensitise stakeholders to take ownership of the APRM agenda.
The APRM will endeavour to accelerate the pace of reviews in 2015, starting with Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda, among others. It is worth noting that Uganda, Kenya and South Africa are kick-starting their second-generation reviews and other peer-reviewed Countries intend to follow suit. In collaboration with Strategic Partners, the APR Panel will continue to organise sub- regional sensitisation workshops. In 2015, two workshops for the SADC and ECOWAS will be organised to promote awareness and visibility of the continental Mechanism, and actively engage countries at the sub-regional level.
The Panel will also conduct an APRM impact assessment in reviewed countries and establish evidence-based information on outcomes, value addition and challenges. Continuous technical support to Member States will be provided to ensure the systematic mainstreaming of NPOAs into National Development Plans and Medium-term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEF).
Let me share with you the important milestones recorded by the APRM since last year. At the 23rd African Union Assembly held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, from 24 to 26 June 2014, the Heads of State and Government adopted a decision to integrate the APRM as an autonomous entity within the AU System. This decision will enhance APRM effectiveness and its contribution towards African development priorities, including the formulation and implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and the advancement of the Common African Position (CAP) on the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The recently concluded 22nd APR Forum of participating Heads of State and Government, held in January 2015, adopted a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework that should guide Member States to monitor and better report on Governance reforms.
The APRM, by its very nature, is an inclusive process that can assist the AU to solicit inputs from the grassroots, through national review processes involving citizens from diverse political, economic, social, religious and ethnic backgrounds, such as the public and private sectors, political parties and civil society organizations representing women, youth, farmers, professional groups, trade unions, etc.
We commend the decision by the African Union to dedicate 2015 to Women Empowerment and Development” towards Agenda 2063.
Accordingly, this year’s theme for the APRM Day is “WOMEN EMPOWERMENT FOR A PEACEFUL AND PROSPEROUS AFRICA”. The theme provides a platform for APRM Member States and African Citizens to reflect on contributions made by women and obstacles to gender equality. We must do far more to accelerate progress, with a view to ending gender-based violence, and scale up the participation of women in good governance, peace building, socio-economic development for sustainable peace and prosperity in Africa. The theme on women empowerment is timely and pertinent as the World celebrates International Women’s Day on 8th March 2015 - 20 years after the landmark Beijing Conference on Women. This is a critical year for advancing women’s rights as we shape sustainable development goals for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and formulate the 10-year implementation plan for Africa’s 2063 Agenda. In this context, Agenda 2063 clearly stipulates that Africa:
“recognises that no society can reach its full potential, unless it empowers women and removes all obstacles to women’s full participation in all areas of human endeavour.”
The APRM reviews are in conformity with that objective, and the APR Panel of Eminent Persons continues to promote women empowerment in all areas, including the public, private and civil society spheres.
The APR Panel has stressed in one of its reviews that:
“…it is important to look beyond politics and address the element of actual empowerment of women in all sectors, rather than adopt a solely legalistic approach. The reasons why respective governments have failed to take measures to protect women need to be clearly addressed if concrete and substantive remedial measures are to be designed. Instead of undue emphasis on legal measures, Government should consider engaging multidimensional interventions, such as political, social, economic, financial, attitudinal, administrative and judicial reforms that may be necessary to address the complex and multi-faceted problems that women face.”
In 2015, the APRM should not only celebrate its achievements over the last twelve years; it should also strategize on gender mainstreaming and effective participation of women in the APRM process to improve inclusive Governance in Africa.
Let us rededicate our efforts in increasing membership and ownership of the APRM review processes to sustain Africa’s home-grown Governance mechanism. We are equally committed to popularizing APRM and connecting with African citizens from village to national and continental levels and the diaspora.
The APRM has significantly contributed to the promotion of Good Governance in our Great Continent and we reaffirm our common objective to accelerate the momentum for the transformation of Africa and ensure the prosperity and well- being of all citizens of Africa.
I wish you a happy APRM Day.