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Displaying items by tag: APRM

Governance is notoriously difficult to measure – yet numerous global indices attempt to do so. This paper tracks the governance progress of 52 African countries through various indices. A total of 17 of these states have undergone a holistic governance review by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Another 17 have joined the APRM, but have not yet been reviewed. The remaining 18 are not members and thus are used as independent variables to determine whether the APRM makes a difference. Since the APRM does not provide ratings or rankings in its reports, this paper uses data from the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance to track progress (or lack thereof) between 2003 (when the APRM was established) and 2015 (the most recent set of data available at the time of writing). Supporting data from Freedom House’s Freedom in the World Index, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index and the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index is used where necessary. Arguably, by voluntarily acceding to and undergoing the review, APRM member states have demonstrated the necessary political will to reform. How have they fared since the year of inception of the APRM? The paper concludes that overall, APRM members have performed better than non-members. But whether a state has actually undergone the APRM review or merely joined the mechanism does not seem to make much of a difference. Progress has also often been mixed, and economic achievements have sometimes come at the expense of political freedoms. (by Yarik Turianskyi)

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Africa is a young continent, with a median age of some 19.3 years and 75% of its population aged 35 or younger. As the continent has long recognised – and as the so-called Arab Spring has confirmed – this large youth population presents many complex and important strategic challenges that must be met. For this reason, African’s continental bodies have on several occasions committed themselves to fostering the wellbeing and development of the youth, most notably through the African Youth Charter, adopted in 2006. Examining the state of Africa’s youth primarily through the lens of the reports compiled through the African Peer Review Mechanism – Africa’s innovative governance assessment system – this paper discusses two primary sets of challenges. The first of these is the state of education and training. The standard of education offered to Africa’s youth, as well as the choice of subjects they follow, is not adequately preparing them for entry into the workforce. Students need to be better prepared, and more opportunities should be created for them to study scientific and technological fields.The second is poverty and unemployment – the socio-economic exclusion of Africa’s youth. An issue intimately bound to concerns about education and skills, many young people are unable to secure opportunities that make social mobility possible and provide an outlet for their energies. This underemployment creates fertile ground for drug abuse, gangsterism and participation in political conflict. This paper concludes with recommendations for policy proposals that recognise the limitations of Africa’s states and seek partnerships with non-governmental bodies. Dealing with youth challenges is simply too large for African states to handle alone. Youth activism should be welcomed, but not uncritically. Above all, steering youthful energies into entrepreneurship and economic activities must be a priority. (by Terence Corrigan)

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Monitoring and evaluation has emerged as a central concern in development thinking. Both the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the AU’s Agenda 2063 represent responses to Africa’s developmental deficits, with much overlap between them. They will need a robust mechanism to trace the progress that is being made, and this study explores whether – rather than attempting to construct a new system – Africa’s home-grown governance evaluation system, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), might be able to fulfil this role. A number of factors make the APRM a natural monitoring tool for the other two initiatives. Each is substantively about governance, and deals with similar subjects. The APRM is a recognised brand and is institutionalised as part of the African Governance Architecture. To take on the monitoring of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs it would need to resolve its administrative weaknesses, secure adequate funding and conduct reviews on an ongoing basis. There is also a need to design a continental system of data gathering and analysis to enable precise measurements of progress in meeting the various developmental goals. These are significant challenges, but they describe the necessary rejuvenation of the APRM required for it to become the monitoring tool for the continent’s developmental endeavours. (by Steven Gruzd and Terence Corrigan)

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Infrastructure deficits have long been recognised as being central to Africa’s developmental malaise. This paper looks at the state of the continent’s infrastructure, with a focus on the actions that governments can take to spur its development. Studies demonstrate that gains are to be had through better project preparation, greater efficiencies and so on. Adequate maintenance is particularly important. These actions would help secure better infrastructure without significantly greater outlays. Achieving them would, however, require sometimes tough and politically unpopular decisions – making appropriate governance choices are therefore critical. Managing infrastructure construction and maintenance across borders is central to Africa’s infrastructure needs. With so many countries landlocked, cross-border links are imperative for their economic fortunes. This is a complex issue, and resolving it demands that governments and regional institutions cooperate with one another, imposing another set of governance choices. The paper concludes by noting the need to shift debate around Africa’s infrastructure to the governance obstacles it needs to confront. It suggests that governance action could be taken in seven areas to help achieve this: finance; policy, planning and project preparation; efficiency; the regulatory environment; private sector involvement; engagement of Africa’s people; and a focus on regional integration. (by Terence Corrigan)

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Gender equality is a basic human right that entails equal opportunities for men and women in all facets of life: socially, economically, developmentally and politically. According to the Beijing Platform for Action, without the active participation of women in and the incorporation of their perspectives at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved. This paper sets out to examine the increased female representation in Rwanda’s Parliament to determine whether it has affected women in other spheres of life. It also provides an overview of the current status of women in African politics, as well as of the current governance situation in Rwanda. It is clear that Rwanda has made significant efforts to elevate the status of women in its post-genocide society. However, it is also important to recognise Parliament’s limitations in an increasingly authoritarian system of governance. While women members of Parliament have passed legislation to empower women in society, a lack of information and education prevents many from taking advantage of new opportunities. Yet Rwanda is clearly on the right path towards improving its gender parity and must uphold its efforts to do so, while prioritising formal education for girls and women at all levels. (By Yarik Turianskyi and Matebe Chisiza)

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Pan-Africanism has historically played a crucial role in shaping the foundations of African institutions, and continues to do so today. Divergent opinions on the structure of African institutions raise the question of how these ideologies should be approached in the 21st century. Drawing on interviews with various stakeholders in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), this policy briefing examines the extent to which pan-Africanism can be institutionalised. It concludes that pan-Africanism has evolved as a philosophy without a stipulated African model; hence, it should be based on ensuring total ownership through learning and localisation. (by Lynda Iroulo)

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The African continent is developing plans for its own transnational criminal courts. In January 2017, at its Annual Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the AU decided by consensus on a strategy for mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the continent is developing plans for its own transnational criminal courts. Although they share common goals, the AU and the ICC have developed competing approaches to achieving peace, security and justice on the African continent, which remains fraught with violence and conflict affecting civilians in several countries. Yet new forms of criminal justice mechanisms have developed in Africa and offer promising opportunities for renewed cooperation. It remains for the ICC to engage and collaborate with them in order to bring justice closer to the people, and ease the tensions between national sovereignty and the international criminal justice system. This could reunite both the political and legal dimensions needed to tackle the continent’s most egregious crimes. (by Mélanie Rondreux)

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As the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) turns 15 on 9 March 2018, this milestone provides an ideal opportunity to acknowledge recent progress. The APRM Secretariat’s new ‘Three Rs strategy’ has begun to restore, reinvigorate and renew the mechanism. Reviews have been re-started, there is greater innovation and energy around the APRM, and confidence is being rebuilt. Yet challenges remain: increasing political commitment, fostering civil society involvement, garnering sustainable funding, implementing action plans, and demonstrating value addition. (By Steven Gruzd and Yarik Turianskyi)

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Inconsistencies between the objectives of the African Democracy Charter and political practices in African states strain the democratic agenda. This policy briefing analyses the normative strengthening of democracy in Africa since the inception of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. Africa’s stated goal of optimising its democratic processes remains a work in progress, as democracy has not been implemented as a mode of governance at a multi-institutional level. African states’ democratic processes have stagnated in a transitional phase with only a handful of democracies consolidating. The briefing argues that inconsistencies between the stated objectives of the charter and political practices in African states strain the democratic consolidation agenda. Despite the vulnerability of the liberal-democratic model, recent increases in the number of signatories to the charter and the rejuvenation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) indicate normative commitments to democratic consolidation. (by Tjiurimo Alfredo Hengari)

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Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives (MSIs) are voluntary partnerships between governments, civil society, and the private sector which seek to promote good governance by holding governments and corporations accountable to citizens. Although MSIs conduct a great deal of research on transparency and good governance and have produced volumes of reports – some of which are critical of governments – they tend to be known mainly to a few stakeholders and devotees. The public is largely unfamiliar with them. Consequently, the public does not believe that MSIs have achieved much real-world impact. This report recommends that MSIs cultivate relationships with interested and concerned journalists, explaining to the public the real-world application of what they are attempting to achieve. MSIs’ media strategies should take into account the limited capacity the media has for analyzing and processing large volumes of data. Short, targeted pieces (press releases, blog posts, etc.) will likely get more attention. The use of widely spoken languages (rather than official languages, in many countries) can help to get messages to the general population. Radio should be used to reach rural areas and less-educated citizens. A social media presence is increasingly important. MSIs should focus attention on branding and show concrete results. MSIs should counter efforts by countries and corporations to “open-wash,” disqualifying members who do not implement reforms or which close down space for civil society organizations (CSOs). MSIs and the media should shift attention away from merely informing the public about the state of transparency and governance in member countries towards mobilizing citizens to use MSIs as levers for improving transparency and governance. (by Peter Fabricius and Terence Corrigan)

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