Finance Minister Amara Konneh has underscored the need for continuous joint efforts, with the support of the international community, to show that the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) matters to the ordinary African citizen.
Minister Konneh, who is the Chairperson of the APRM Focal Points Committee also urged member countries to demonstrate that APRM is not a mere talking shop, but a powerful tool, that if strengthened, could help accelerate and sustain democratic governance on the continent and promote sustainable and equitable development.
Sharing the panel with the United Nations Secretary General Ban Kin Moon at the Africa’s Innovation in Governance through 10 Years of the APRM High Level Panel, Minister Konneh said while Africa is proud to celebrate APRM’s achievements, as a unique and most innovative initiative, making the mechanism operational has been fraught with challenges.
He emphasized that despite APRM achievements so far, member countries should not simply hold a sense of self-gratification and self-congratulations, but that they should have a clear sense of recommitment to the APRM and the vital work it has to do in the next decade and beyond.
Minister Konneh maintained that the APRM is a unique African instrument that is trail-blazing and setting standards for good governance across our continent. “It is African in origin, ownership and leadership; and it seeks to infuse into our national political processes the attributes of democratic rule and good governance,” Minister Konneh intimated.
He praised member countries for making the courageous political decision to be bounded by the principles that underpin the APRM and as such, to submit to self-scrutiny and peer-review. “This is an important demonstration of commitment to uphold the principles of good governance and to strive to strengthen our respective systems of democratic governance and socio-economic development,” the Finance Minister added.
The Liberian Treasury Chief disclosed that in spite of its voluntary nature, accession to the APRM is steadily increasing. According to him, out of thirty-three (33) participating countries, 17 have already completed their self-assessment exercise and have been peer-reviewed by the Forum of Heads of State and Government (APR Forum).
Meanwhile, Minister Konneh commended African leaders, in particular the NEPAD and APRM founders, for the remarkable visionary initiatives that have mobilized African resolve and resources to bring the organization to where it is today. He particularly paid tribute to the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, for his immense contribution to getting the APRM off the ground to where it is today when he served as Chairman of the Forum of Heads of State.
Convened at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Monday, October 21, the Africa-NEPAL Week 2013 marked the tenth anniversary of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which also coincided with the fiftieth (50th) anniversary of its parent institution, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU).
The African Peer Review Mechanism is a mutually agreed programme, voluntarily adopted by the member states of the African Union, to promote and re-enforce high standards of governance. The peer review mechanism is a self-monitoring mechanism.
APRM’s mandate is to ensure that the policies and practices of participating countries conform to the agreed values in the following four focus areas: democracy and political governance, economic governance, corporate governance and socio-economic development.
As part of the APRM there are periodic reviews of the participating countries to assess progress being made towards achieving the mutually agreed goals. It is important to note that there is no conditionality attached to the peer review mechanism.