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Governance and APRM Programme

Good governance assists countries to adhere to the rule of law, enhance economic performance and minimise conflict. This programme seeks to stimulate informed discussion and insightful research on governance in Africa, through the lens of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the continent’s innovative governance monitoring and promotion instrument. The GAP programme also works with civil society organisations to strengthen their interest and meaningful participation in the APRM and related processes in the emerging African Governance Architecture (AGA). We aim to improve the ability of the APRM to contribute to governance reforms, institutions and processes. As a result SAIIA is widely seen as the leading independent authority on the APRM.

The current programme is a collaboration between SAIIA and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA). GAP also works with the APRM Secretariat on a project to enhance the interaction of the Pan-African Parliament with the APRM.

For the last ten years, the South African Institute of International Affairs has focused part of its research agenda on governance and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Since its creation a decade ago, the APRM has been seen as a complicated process that is not well enough understood.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 172, January 2014
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 171, January 2014
Wednesday, 05 February 2014

SAIIA relaunches APRM Toolkit

On 29 January 2014, the highest decision-making body of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the Forum, met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to admit its 34th and newest member – Equatorial Guinea – and to review progress in implementation of governance programmes in South Africa and Mozambique. Accession to the continent’s premier home-grown governance assessment instrument is voluntary and involves opening up a country for rigorous scrutiny of its governance practices. SAIIA researchers were there to observe proceedings, captured in the official communique from the Forum and an analysis of the 2014 Forum by SAIIA.
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a voluntary African governance promotion tool, now boasts an unprecedented 34 member states, 17 of which have completed their first reviews. But a lack of political enthusiasm for it – especially by heads of state – is endangering its relevance and impact on governance.
2013 was marked by two important anniversaries related to governance in Africa, with the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) celebrating its tenth year in existence and the African Union (AU) marking fifty years since the establishment of its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity. Both events were celebrated at the May 2013 AU Summit.
On New Year’s Eve 2014 over 100,000 Ukrainians attempted to set the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people simultaneously singing their national anthem. While such activities normally symbolise national unity, Ukraine remains as divided as ever. The former Soviet republic, independent since 1991 and with a population of 46 million, is faced with a choice of aligning itself closer to the European Union (EU) or Russia. The country’s unique geo-political location between the two actors makes it a highly desirable of area of influence for both.
Travel in Africa can present serious challenges – especially if you are African. A few months ago I travelled to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia and headquarters of the African Union. I have been traveling to this beautiful country about twice a year for the past decade. What struck me and prompted this reflection on African integration was noticing that in the past few years restrictions on entry have become increasingly harsher. One is tempted to ask questions about the dream of free movement of citizens across Africa – and therefore continental integration and unity.
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) has the potential to dramatically change the governance landscape on the continent. However, 10 years after its formation, the APRM has not fully captured the interest of African citizens and media. Why is this the case?
Wednesday, 09 October 2013

Should the AU pull out of the ICC?

The head of SAIIA’s Governance and African Peer Review Mechanism Programme (GAP), Steven Gruzd, speaks to PowerFM’s Chris Vick about the African Union’s special summit (on 12 October 2013) to discuss Africa's continued involvement in the International Criminal Court. Joining Steven on the panel is Tiseke Kasambala from Human Rights Watch.Click on the PowerFM player above to listen.
In 2013, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic mark twenty years of their independence. The negotiated split of former Czechoslovakia on 31 December 1992 remains an example of peaceful conflict resolution. Both countries continued on the path of political and economic transformation after the fall of the totalitarian communist regime in 1989, on the basis of the reforms undertaken in the early 1990s in Czechoslovakia.
It is not surprising that African countries bordering the Indian Ocean see themselves as ‘gateways’ or entry points to the continent. The coastal towns and communities of South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique have for centuries had complex and dynamic cultural and economic links with their counterparts along the Indian Ocean Rim. Today, with the global liberalisation of trade and investment, these countries increasingly seek to position themselves between Africa’s interior and the broader world, and particularly the fast-growing economies in Asia.
In this podcast, SAIIA looks at the upcoming national elections in the Kingdom of Swaziland. The first round of elections began against the backdrop of continuing economic difficulties in Swaziland. The final round of parliamentary elections will take place on 20 September 2013 and King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch, will subsequently appoint a new government. 
South African Institute of International Affairs invites you to a roundtable discussion to be addressed by Alex Vines, speaking on "Swaziland: Southern Africa's Forgotten Crisis."
National identity, a sense of belonging and the right to citizenship are fundamental human rights. In South Africa last week, in addition to celebrating the 95th birthday of Africa’s living legend, Nelson Mandela, the government also started rolling out 'smart' national identity documents (IDs). These secure, tamper-resistant documents were issued to, among others, senior political activists who were at the forefront of the struggle against Apartheid. It has also been hailed as another step on the way to consolidating inclusive and non-racial citizenship – in contrast, for example, to apartheid-era documents that limited the movement and employment of many in…
Sunday, 14 July 2013

Egypt's unrest

At the beginning of July, millions of Egyptians marched to demand that Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi resign. He was overthrown by the military on 3 July 2013 and the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, was installed as interim president. Hazem el-Beblawi, a 76-year-old liberal economist became interim prime minister to govern under a temporary constitution until parliamentary elections could be held in the next six months.
In a new podcast, SAIIA interviewed participants of the “African Peer Review Mechanism +10: Reviewing a decade of Peer Learning and Projecting a Future of Governance in Africa” colloquium, which took place on 17 and 18 May 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The recent 19th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, injected new momentum into the decade old African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) with the appointment of new leadership to the APR Forum and the APR Panel. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Barrister Akere Muna will play pivotal roles in the two afore-mentioned governing bodies of Africa’s unique voluntary governance assessment instrument. How will the new appointments affect the mechanism that is heading into its second decade of existence?
SAIIA has recently relaunched its two regular newsletters, which are freely available to all. Trade Perspectives is a bi-monthly newsletter providing insights, analysis and updates on economic governance, trade policy and trade negotiations. This newsletter is produced by the Economic Diplomacy Programme at SAIIA. The next issue will be available this month. Governance Perspectives is a bi-monthly newsletter on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), governance, democracy and accountability in Africa. It is published by the Governance and APRM Programme at SAIIA. The next issue will be available next month. To subscribe to either of these newsletters, please click here…
This year’s elections in Zimbabwe may well prove to be a watershed for the Southern African country but as the elections move ever closer, the outcome appears less and less certain.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -  As the leaders of the African Union gather in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to celebrate the continental organisation’s 50th anniversary, more than 46 civil society organisations deliberated on the present state of governance in Africa, by placing the continent’s premier governance mechanism, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), under the microscope.  
Built in 1961 by the Ethiopian government, Africa Hall continues to stand today as a monument of African unity. A stained glass window in the lobby created by Ethiopia’s most well-known artist Afewerk Tekle depicts Africans of yesterday, today and tomorrow in their struggle for freedom and progress. It is in this hall that 32 Heads of State and Government of the newly independent states of Africa met on 25 May 1963 to sign the Organisation of African Unity Charter resulting in the formation of the Organisation African Unity (OAU).
One of the highlights of the upcoming 21st Summit of the African Union (AU) is the 50th anniversary of the founding in 1963 of its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 2013. This occasion will be celebrated under the theme of ‘Pan Africanism and the African Rennaissance’, providing a fitting moment to reflect on Africa’s achievements and shortcomings under the aegis of the OAU since 1963, and the AU since 2002.
The conference report is now available from the Civil Society Colloquium "The APRM +10: Reviewing a decade of Peer Learning and Projecting a Future of Governance in Africa", which took place 17-18 May 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The presidential elections in Kenya on 4 March will test the progress Kenyan society has made towards peace and stability after the highly contested and violent elections of 2007. The elections are taking place in an environment of uncertainty. A number of key political contenders face International Criminal Court (ICC) charges for their alleged role in the displacement, torture, persecution and killing of civilians in the aftermath of the 2007 elections.