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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.

Friday, 05 February 2010

The 14th AU Summit

The 14th African Union Summit took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 31 January to 2 February 2010. Its theme was “Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Development”. At the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Forum, held just before the Summit, South Africa presented its second report on the country's implementation of the APRM.
As published in The Mercury, 1 February 2010 In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 30 January 2010, President Jacob Zuma was scheduled to report to his peers regarding the implementation of the country’s National Programme of Action (NPoA), at the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Forum meeting that takes place on the fringes of the African Union (AU) Summit. This governance improvement plan (NPoA) emerged from South Africa’s first APRM exercise undertaken in 2005-2007. A key question is whether this second annual report will be a significant improvement over the first one, delivered at the same time last year. In a new…
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 53, January 2010
Which way is governance going on the African continent and particularly in South Africa? According to the newly released 2009 African Governance Report (AGR-II), put together by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, it seems that many of the continent’s newly-established democracies are suffering from an authoritarian hangover. Overall, progress is marginal at best and mixed, and worryingly, South Africa is sliding slowly down the ranks. South Africa has many internal problems that it seems not willing or able to solve, which bring into question its aspirations for leadership in governance in Africa.
For the vast majority of Nigeria's population of more than 140 million, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) country review report for Nigeria published this week will have significance only if the media and civil society respond strongly to its findings, and if it is able to trigger substantial reforms.
Since the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet in May 2009, have there been discernable changes in South Africa’s foreign policy? President Thabo Mbeki loomed large on the international stage, with grand plans to reform the African continent and the global system beyond. With domestic issues being prioritised, and strong voices condemning Zuma as unfit to lead South Africa, how would he and his team perform? Several foreign affairs experts were asked to spot significant shifts in substance, or in style in the state’s international interactions.
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 52, November 2009
Co-published with the Institute for Global Dialogue Somaliland has been described as an ‘inspiring story of resilience and reconstruction, and a truly African Renaissance, that has many lessons to teach the rest of Africa and the international community’. This study seeks to identify some of those lessons, particularly those pertaining to Somaliland’s sustained efforts to create internal unity and gain regional and international recognition. Based on extensive research in Somaliland, as well as a wealth of experience in the wider region, this book provides a vivid insight into this intriguing tale of reconciliation, reconstruction, religion, and recognition.
Seven years after it was established at the inaugural African Union (AU) Summit in Durban in July 2002, how has the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) –  the continent’s voluntary home-grown governance monitoring tool – fared? Why have some states not acceded? What has been achieved? And what challenges does this process face? 
The South African Institute of International Affairs Western Cape Branch invites you to a public seminar to be addressed by Vincent Williams on 'The Politics of Migration and its Implications for Democracy' at 5:00 for 5:30 pm.
As published on All Africa on 5 October 2009 Last week the citizens of Somaliland were due to have elected their president for the next five years. However, they did not get to the polls, since elections were postponed for the fourth time. What does the future hold for the self-declared, independent, and unrecognised Somaliland in the Horn of Africa?
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 43, September 2009 (English)
The Gabonese Minister of Interior’s announcement that Ali-Ben Bongo Ondimba, candidate for the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) and son of Gabon’s late President Omar Bongo, has won the 30 August presidential election came as no surprise to many Gabonese and observers of the country’s politics. The final tally gave Bongo 41.7 percent of the vote, with the main contenders, Andre Mba Obame and Pierre Mambounda receiving 25.8 and 25.2 percent respectively. But in the country, this verdict has been met with protests in the streets of the capital, Libreville, and clashes with police in other towns as opposition supporters…
As published in Kenya recently completed a controversial census that enquired into, among other things, the ethnicity of its citizens. For Kenya's Human Rights Commission and other organisations, probing ethnic origins poured salt on fresh wounds, even though for minority groups such as the Ogiek people, reliable statistics on their numbers would help policymakers develop relevant solutions to the Ogiek's often obscure needs as a hunter-gatherer community. However, the furore over this one part of the census questionnaire obscures a more important subject – Kenya's persistent inequality.
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 39, August 2009 (English)
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 39, August 2009 (French)
As published in Gabon goes to the polls to elect a new president on Sunday, nearly three months after the death of President Omar Bongo Ondimba at the age of 73. Bongo was Africa's longest-ruling president, having come to power in 1967. He had won his latest presidential term of seven years in 2005 with almost 80 percent of the vote, against a weak opposition. The current poll pits Bongo's son, Ali-Ben, against no fewer than 20 rivals. Given the history of his father's dominance and the fractious nature of opposition politics in the oil-rich country, Ali Bongo is…
From 1 July 2009 cellphone service providers in South Africa cannot activate a new SIM card without the full name, address and identity number of the customer. Existing SIM cards must be registered within 18 months. The new registration law is aimed at assisting law enforcement agencies to investigate and combat serious crime by ensuring that the identity and whereabouts of every SIM card owner is known to foil and investigate criminal activity. Customer information must be kept in a secure database for a minimum of three years, accessible only to selected personnel. But does monitoring criminal activity threaten our…
Malawi has been in the headlines, following pop-star Madonna's battles to adopt a second child from this tiny, landlocked southern African state. But as Malawi gears up to celebrate its 45th independence day on 6 July, it's a good time to reflect on the lessons of its recent political trajectory. There were very high hopes for Malawi following its democratisation in 1994, after decades as a one-party state. But where does the country stand now?
When Twitter – the world’s latest social networking phenomenon – made the cover of Time Magazine’s 15 June edition, journalist Steve Johnson mused ‘Just 140 characters? I wonder if I could use that to start a political uprising.’ On that Monday morning, news of unrest in Iran amidst allegations of a rigged election began to spread, especially on the web. Freedom of information has become one of the biggest casualties in the aftermath of the Iranian election, with journalists being harassed, bullied and expelled. Yet citizen journalism – through the internet – has succeeded against repression and let people air…
A day ahead of this year’s African Union summit in Libya, the 11th meeting of the forum of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) took place in the sweltering seaside town of Sirte. Reports emerging from those who attended threw up few surprises and some lingering concerns.
As Rwanda celebrates its independence on Wednesday, it stands as one of those African countries which appears on the face of it to be working well, despite pursuing a homegrown style of democracy which has attracted international criticism for being authoritarian.
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 37, June 2009
On 30 June 2009, as African leaders gather on the sweltering, dusty shores of the Mediterranean in Sirte, the hometown of Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi, for the 13th Summit of the African Union, some early birds will attend another vital meeting on the fringes. Participating heads of states will attend the 11th Forum of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Africa’s voluntary home-grown governance monitoring endeavour. What’s on the agenda? And where is the mechanism heading?
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 36, July 2009 (English)
South African Institute of International Affairs invites you to a workshop on ‘Is effective political opposition emerging in Africa?’ Encouraging signs of democratic consolidation can be seen across the African continent. This is particularly evident in the raft of peaceful, free, fair and legitimate elections that are increasingly the norm. Moreover, a key test of democratic consolidation has been passed in that a number of African governments have been peacefully and legitimately elected out of power, or have been forced to share power via the ballot box.Venue: Jan Smuts House
SAIIA Research Report, No 3, June 2009 Download - English [.pdf] (396.24 kB) This study is based on a research project carried out as part of the Governance and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Programme of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). This study attempts to distil lessons learned by a handful of African civil society coalitions on the dynamics of demanding improved governance of governments that are often averse to governance reform. 
Recent events in South Africa and Britain show that despite the fact they are regarded by many as examples of good governance, political leaders in both countries are struggling to get a handle on how both to be clean and to be seen to be clean, writes Tšoeu Petlane of the SA Institute of International Affairs.