The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a self-monitoring instrument created by African leaders in 2003, convened its 65th Meeting of Eminent Persons in Monrovia over the weekend, with member states seeking to strengthen the mechanism as it strives to influence governance systems across the continent.
The Panel Meeting discussed and concluded resolutions on deepening the APRM process and structure in member states, strengthening relationships with stakeholders, and integrating with the Africa Union. The Chairperson of the APR Panel of Eminent Persons, Ambassador FatumaNdangiza presided over the proceedings held at the Royal Grand Hotel in Sinkor.
The APRM is one of few vehicles established by African leaders in response to calls for improving governance practices and deepening democracy on the continent.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is the Chairperson of the APRM Forum for heads of states and governments, has stressed the need for a stronger APRM in Liberia and across Africa. The President has been working tirelessly to engagethe panel, key stakeholders on the continent, and her peers on how to go about strengthening the Mechanism.
Last week, the Liberian leader met with the APR Panel of Eminent Persons and the Secretariat during their visit to Liberia and noted the importance of aligning APRM’s work with the recently endorsed African Union’s 2063 Vision.
President Sirleaf also underscored the need for harmonious working relations between the APR Panel and the Committee of Focal Points, in ensuring a successful country review processes.
Addressing the meeting in Monrovia, Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Chairperson of the Committee of Focal Points, Amara Mohammed Konneh, talked about upholding the principles of good governance and striving to strengthen our respective systems of democratic governance and socio-economic development.”
Minister Konneh called on APRM member countries to work together, again to ensure that the gains of collaboration, knowledge and experience sharing, is felt by ordinary Africans as translated through improved governance practices.
The Liberian Finance Minister called on member countries to rally in strengthening the mechanism to accelerate and sustain democratic governance on the continent and promote sustainable and equitable development.
“Since the launch of the APRM in March 2003, we have marched to new horizons and have accomplished a lot, thanks to our common resolve,” said Finance Minister Konneh.
According to him, the meetings in Liberia were convened as a direct result of the Chairperson and the APR Forum’s request at the 20th Summit held on 29 January 2014 to hold a meeting of the APRM Committee of Focal Points in Monrovia to address urgent administrative matters and drive the process towards integration in the African Union System.
“Without being complacent, we are indeed proud of our accomplishments. However, we need to sustain our commitment and renew our determination to fast-track the implementation of the APRM in our countries” said Konneh.
With the accession of Equatorial Guinea to the APRM at the 20th APR Forum Summit held in Addis Ababa in January 2014, thirty four countries are now Member States. Thus far, seventeen APRM countries have undergone the peer review, Tanzania and Zambia being the latest reviewed at the 18th Summit of the APRM. Cape Verde and Cote d’Ivoire have expressed interest in joining the APRM and more continue to do so.
The Chairperson of the APR Panel of Eminent Persons, Ambassador Fatuma Ndangiza, at a brief news conference in Monrovia Friday, encouraged member countries including Liberia to fast track procedures that would lead to a successful peer review process. She said Liberia remains on the right trajectory to be reviewed by the end of the year.
Madam Ndangiza indicated that the African Peer Review Mechanism is an African initiative meant to access the performance of its members in Africa. She called on every sector of the Liberian society most especially, civil society actors, media, youth communities, political parties, private sectors, among others, to participate in the APRM process.
The APRM Executive also emphasized that the performance and progress report of the APRM are measured in four substantive areas including Democracy and Political Governance (DPG), Economic Governance and management (EGM), Social-economic Development (SED) and Corporate Governance (CG). She said the APRM has done all it can to remain free from political manipulations and that member states are supporting it fully.
Madam Ndangiza hinted that one of the most important aspects of the APRM is to listen to the different voices at a time, critically analyze, and derive a report. She added, “We must not wait for reports outside of Africa before we act ourselves, that’s why APRM is important for Africa.’’
Also addressing reporters, a Member of the APR Panel of Eminent Persons Ambassador Ashraf Rashed, who clarified that there is no punishment for governments that failed to implement the APR Panel reports.
Ambassador Rashed, however, noted that although there is no penalty for non-compliance, it is the moral obligation of governments to ensure that the reports are included in their national agenda and implemented.
Liberia is yet completed the process of starting its peer review because the country has not put into place institutions necessary to start the review. He emphasized the tremendous effort being made by Liberia to accede to comply.