The four countries in the West African sub-region which are yet to enlist in the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) initiative have been urged to do so to benefit from the mechanism as a tool for good governance that can speed up their developments, a press release said yesterday.
Alassane Diamouténé, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Minister of Integration of Ivory Coast, made the call recently at the start of a two-day West Africa Regional Workshop on the APRM in the Ivoirian capital, Abidjan.
Member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which are not yet party to APRM initiative are Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea and Guinea Bissau.
Mr Diamouténé, opening the workshop, observed that “Thirteen out of fifteen countries in our ECOWAS zone have known at least a crisis period and/or civil war due to issues around governance.”
Putting an end to conflict requires choosing good governance “and taking into account the real aspirations of our peoples,” he said.
It is this context that has contributed to the engagement of countries of the sub-region with initiatives, such as the APRM, that review political governance, Mr Diamouténé added.
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr Mustapha Mekideche, President of the APRM Panel of Eminent Persons, indicated that there are ongoing efforts at reinvigorating the Mechanism based on four guiding principles.
He named the principles as: 1) the reality principle, which clearly shows that the level of governance of APRM-adhered member States has improved, compared with those states still to join the process; 2) the solidarity principle, which encourages countries of a sub-region such as ECOWAS to progress on an equal footing in matters of political, social and economic governance; 3) the conviction principle, which promotes the idea that Africa can pretty much make progress on the path to governance and can do so with its own means; and 4) the subsidiary principle, which seeks to create synergies with other bodies to promote adherence to the mechanism.
Dr. Mekideche enlisted the advocacy support role of ECOWAS for its member states to include their APRM national action plans in wider national and regional development plans.
Speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Commission, Koffi Siméon said the Commission intends to play its role to fully support the efforts of member States towards a standardized and universal appropriation of APRM across West Africa.
The Vice President of the APRM Panel of Eminent Persons (who doubles as the main Panellist for Cote d’Ivoire), Prof Mahmoud Youssouf Khayal, in his address, placed the mechanism within its context of originality and innovation. He argued that no single tool in the world matches the APRM’s governance and accountability framework, which is strongly building a movement for governance in Africa in general and in West Africa in particular.
Ms Hodane Youssouf, representing the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), also addressed the gathering.
Over fifty personalities across ECOWAS honored the invitation of the APRM Secretariat, ECOWAS and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The two-day workshop examined several APRM issues, notably getting abreast of the second-generation review methodology, ensuring sponsorship of the four ECOWAS countries that are not yet members of the Mechanism, and sharing of good practices.
Liberia was represented at the event by Dax Patterson Sua, Executive Director of the APRM-Liberia Country Program, and Amos Z. Koukou, Liaison to APRM –Liberia Country Program Office.
APRM is a tool for sharing experiences, reinforcing best practices, identifying deficiencies, and assessing capacity-building to foster policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated sub-regional and continental economic integration.
Member countries use the APRM to self–monitor all aspects of their governance and socioeconomic development. African Union (AU) stakeholders participate in the self-assessment of all branches of government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial – as well as the private sector, civil society and the media. The APRM Review Process gives member states a space for national dialogue on governance and socioeconomic indicators, and an opportunity to build consensus on the way forward.
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is a specialized agency of the African Union (AU) initiated in 2002 and established in 2003 by the African Union in the framework of the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).