Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft always says, “If you do not measure it, you can never know if you are progressing. The world needs to measure SDG progress continuously to appreciate the advances we have made as a species”.
Africa, a continent that is seeking its self-expression in the global village is coming up with novel ways of measuring its progress. Its quest to be the beacon of human development and progress is not an easy task but its something that has to be achieved.
The African Union (AU) has established the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) after the realisation that Africa will only move forward with the full actualisation of transformative leadership and practice on the continent. The APRM is a mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by AU member States as an African self-monitoring mechanism. It is often described as “Africa’s unique and innovative approach to governance” with the objective of improving governance dynamics at the local, national and continental levels.
The APRM is on a mission to promote the African Union’s ideals and shared values of democratic governance and inclusive development by encouraging all member states of the AU to collaborate and voluntarily participate in the home grown, credible, rigorous, independent and self driven peer review process and the implementation of its recommendations.
At the centre of the African Renaissance is the youth. The continent has the youngest population in the world and a lot has to be done in preparing the young men and women to create the Africa of their dreams. Given this background, the APRM is intentionally putting youths at the core of their business. This is clearly illustated by their youth-focused initiatives being run across Africa.
Hot off the heels of a successful Africa Month Youth Symposium held at the University Of Cape Town (UCT), the APRM will host their inaugural International Youth Symposium from the 1st to the 2nd of July 2019 in N’djamena, Chad. The symposium will be under the patronage of His Excellency Idriss Deby Itno.
In June 2018, Chadian President H.E. Idriss Déby Itno officially launched the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Country Review Report (CRR) for Chad in N’djamena.
Like all other reports, the Chad CRR identifies a number of governance areas in which the Government is doing well and a number of other areas in which there is room for improvement.
A good example of good practice that easily stands out is the establishment of a National Political Dialogue Framework (CNDP) under which the ruling and opposition political parties come together to resolve major problems facing the country through peaceful dialogue.
At the same time, among a number of areas identified for improvement are the weakness of the electoral process and its management bodies, imbalance in the powers of the different branches of the state with the pre-eminence of the Presidency, and prevalence of corruption.
The Country review report is prepared on the basis of the self-assessment report and in-country interactions by a country review team with official and unofficial sources.
THE FIVE STAGES OF A PEER REVIEW
1. CONSULTATION The APR Secretariat and the Country under review consult on the process overview and terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The Country under review creates a Focal Point to liaise with the Secretariat and provide it with relevant laws, treaty ratifications, budgets and development plans. The Secretariat prepares a background assessment document. At the same time, the Country under review independently completes the APR Self-Assessment Questionnaire, gathers inputs from civil society and drafts a paper outlining the nation’s issues and a National Programme of Action (NPoA) with clear steps and deadlines on how it plans to conform to APRM codes and standards, the African Union Charter, and UN obligations. The Country Review Team that is set up writes a report outlining issues to be focused on during the review mission.
2. THE REVIEW MISSION visits the Country under review and conducts broad-based consultations with government, officials, political parties, parliamentarians, and representatives of civil society organisations (e.g. media, academia, trade unions, professional bodies), and the private sector. The mission typically lasts two-and-a-half to three weeks.
3. DRAFT REPORT: The APR Country Review Team drafts a report on the Country under review.
4. THE PEER REVIEW takes place at the level of the APR Forum, using the APR Panel’s report on the team’s findings as a basis. The APR Forum discusses these recommendations with the Reviewed Country’s leadership.
5. FINAL REPORT Within six months, after the peer review, the published Country Review Report must be tabled in sub-regional institutions (Pan-African Parliament, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, AU Peace and Security Council, Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union [ECOSOCC AU]). The report is then made publicly available.
6. THE SECOND-GENERATION REVIEW: The objective of the APRM Second Generation Review is to assess progress made in Governance and Socio-economic Development in Member States in the period since the Base Review.