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SAIIA Research Report No 22, February 2016

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Governance and APRM Programme 

Africa’s turn to electoral democracy over the past three decades has rightly been hailed as a significant achievement, but it has not rid the continent of restrictive and authoritarian governance impulses. This report attempts to interrogate the concept of ‘freedom’ and how it is faring in Africa. To do so, it conceptualises freedom in terms of ‘constitutional liberalism’, and discusses this conceptualisation in relation to two broad themes: constitutionalism and civil liberties.

SAIIA Policy Briefing No 117, November 2014

Published in Policy Briefings
Despite the shadow cast by the charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court, Kenya has been quietly going about compiling its second Country Self-Assessment Report (CSAR) under the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). As an APRM member, Kenya is expected to submit itself to the continent’s voluntary home-grown tool that assesses the state of governance in participating countries. The APRM proposes corrective measures to address governance gaps that emerge during the review.
Published in Opinion & Analysis

SAIIA Report No 15, January 2014

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Governance and APRM Programme

This case study of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) seeks to examine the lessons it holds about South–South knowledge exchange, South–South co-operation (SSC), capacity development and development effectiveness. The report is based on desk research, personal interviews and an online survey.

On 10 May 2013, SAIIA co-hosted an event with the Embassy of Japan in South Africa, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the University of Pretoria. It was an opportunity to reflect on the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), a high-level exchange between Japan and Africa which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Published in Events

In a move that has generated much excitement, South Africa has invited representatives from various African continental institutions, including regional economic blocs to the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit (26-27 March 2013). BRICS leaders will meet them to discuss Africa’s infrastructure development priorities under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) framework. This is in line with the Summit theme, “BRICS and Africa - partnership for development, integration and industrialisation”.

Published in Opinion & Analysis

In a little over two weeks, Jacob Zuma will be sworn in as fourth president of South Africa since the advent of democracy in 1994.

At home, his presidency is viewed ambivalently - either as a breath of fresh air or as a worrying development for constitutionalism in South Africa. His supporters are quick to magnify former president Mbeki's aloofness and policy failures on crime, employment creation and HIV/AIDS as compelling evidence that a more affable and down-to-earth Jacob Zuma is indeed just what South Africa needs. His detractors associate the former deputy president with personal moral failure, corruption and a belief in populism: perhaps unjustly, given that question marks attached to his character are often linked to failed litigation against the incoming president.

Published in Opinion & Analysis

For more than a decade now, Africa has been trying to address its developmental and political problems through an approach favouring home-grown initiatives.

Published in Opinion & Analysis

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is an innovative approach to improving African governance. It offers important opportunities for public dialogue but has proved politically and logistically challenging. The first in-depth study of the APRM, this ground-breaking book analyses the evolving peer review process in the first five countries.

The product of a five-year research and training programme, it combines in-depth analysis of the APRM rules with an insightful evaluation of the political and social dynamics. Drawing on extensive interviews across the continent, it offers sounds recommendations to strengthen the process and deepen public participation. An invaluable resource for civil society and governments, this volume includes an interactive APRM Toolkit CD-ROM with the official APRM guidelines, final country reports, survey instruments, academic papers, video testimonials and a comprehensive collection of the governance codes and standards embraced by the APRM.

Now available to download for free, in both English and French.

Published in Books

Welcome and opening


Keynote speakers: Meeting Africa’s developmental needs: What role for China?

Africa’s greatest challenge in the 21st century is to increase its rate of growth and development, and strengthen its institutions and governance. To achieve this it has developed a model based on the principles of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Many African governments see China’s domestic success as providing an alternative model for development. In addition, China’s substantial trade and investment in Africa, especially in natural resource extraction, has provided both direct and indirect benefits to African states.


Session One – New Powers: The changing geostrategic landscape

The emergence of China as a major global political and economic player is changing the geostrategic landscape. New alliances and coalitions are being formed as China begins to be seen as an alternative to the power arrangements of the late 20th century. This is changing the dynamics between strong and weak, rich and poor states. What is the prognosis for this landscape? Where is China going – internally in economic, developmental and political terms, externally in terms of its need for resources from the rest of the world? How will it pursue its aims vis-à-vis the current big powers? What will the implications be for Africa and the traditional ‘big powers’?

13h15-14h00 Lunch

Session Two – Engaging China: Experiences from other regions

As China has grown economically and politically, its impact globally has increased. What lessons can Africa glean from other regions and countries that have engaged with China?


Session Three – China’s Africa Policy and FOCAC

In 2000, the first meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) laid the foundation for the strengthening of the relationship between the two. This was followed by the meeting in Addis Ababa in 2003, which identified a plan of action for cooperation. What has been achieved since then and what is the way forward? In addition, in January 2006 China published a document on its policy towards Africa, which is expected to serve as the framework for its engagement with the continent. This is the first such paper, although in the last several years China has focused on improving its cooperation with a number of other countries.

  • Challenges and Opportunities for Africa
    Nicolas Pinaud, OECD Development Centre
  • Engaging with NEPAD: A View from China
    Professor He Wenping, Director of the Division of African Studies of Institute of West Asian and African Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • China’s Africa Policy – an African Perspective
    Sanusha Naidu, Centre for Chinese Studies,
    University of Stellenbosch
17h45-20h00 Reception hosted by Standard Chartered


Session Four – Cooperating on the NEPAD agenda (investment & trade)

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development provides a blueprint for Africa’s renaissance. The NEPAD Secretariat has identified a number of priority action areas for the continent, and for its partners. These include infrastructure, agriculture, industrialisation and market access. The 2003 Addis Ababa Action Plan reflects on some of these areas. Africa exports mostly raw materials to China and in return imports finished manufactured products. Total China-Africa trade reached US$30 billion in 2004, an increase of 59% over 2003. What does all this mean for African countries in terms of industrialisation, skills and technology transfers and infrastructural development? How can cooperation with Africa in the context of NEPAD, including both its principles and priority areas be deepened so as to help address Africa’s developmental challenges and its poverty eradication objectives?



  • Agriculture
    Dr. Sloans Chimatiro, NEPAD Secretariat
  • Minerals
    John Rocha, senior analyst at SaferAfrica

Session Five – Panel Reflecting on the experience in some African countries

Perspectives from:

13h15-14h00 Lunch

Session Six – Engaging with the NEPAD agenda: Towards a new global partnership

One of the key elements of NEPAD is the development of a partnership between donors and African states to advance the continent – both politically and economically. A successful global partnership between Africa and its development partners will be measured against the extent to which underdevelopment, weak governance and delivery capacity by states, and accountability are ameliorated. How does China’s aid policy towards African states help to address these core issues?


Session Seven – Charting the future: Panel discussion (moderated by Peter Fabricius,
Independent Newspapers)

In what areas should African states be seeking to deepen engagement with China in a way that builds on the partnership and encourages win-win situations?

17:30-17:45 Closing remarks

Edited by Peroshni Govender and Steven Gruzd
SAIIA: 2004
ISBN: 1-919969-16-0
Published by SAIIA & funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy.

This report highlights the challenges in African education and encourages governments to start planning and expanding their secondary education sector. The report was edited and produced by SAIIA's Nepad and Governance project which is funded by Royal Netherlands Embassy.

Published in Books
When the colonies in Africa and Asia became independent from 1945 to 1965, their political leaders were faced with two main challenges.
Published in Opinion & Analysis

African agriculture is in crisis, and the price tag the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) has put on its recovery is not small. Nepad estimates donors (mainly) will have to cough up $251bn between 2002 and 2015. Currently, the continent gets about $16bn in development aid and imports food worth about $19bn every year.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Civil Society Must Lead the Way

Two weeks ago, Minister of Public Service and Administration Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi announced, out of the blue, that the drafting phase in the South Africa process for the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) would start this coming Wednesday and end in November.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
Africa's leaders gather in Abuja, Nigeria, from today to review the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) along with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). Both programmes currently face critical challenges and need heads of state to provide candid, effective leadership. To its credit, Nepad has contributed to higher aid levels and debt relief, provoked new thinking on development and created useful institutions. But many strong supporters are rightly asking: "What next?"
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Nigeria's recent presidential elections were marred with accusations of widespread electoral fraud, raising serious questions about governance in Africa's most populous nation. To unite the nation again, the new president must take bold steps to restore Nigerians' faith in democracy. The first feather in his cap may be to put the Nigerian African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process on the right track.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Ghana is hosting, from May 8 - 10, 2007. Below we bring to readers some background information and the objectives of the conference by DR KWAKU ASANTE-DARKO, a Senior Researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), located on the campus of The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.)
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Monday, 28 April 2008

Growth Priorities for Nepad

eAfrica, Volume 2, February 2004

WE BEGAN this study with the question: How should Africa choose between its many needs, given limited financial resources, and to what extent should business imperatives influence the setting of development priorities? Our research, and the other studies we consulted for this report, identified two consistent themes: Get the basics right and focus on programmes that spur growth.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
Monday, 28 April 2008

A Business Vision for Africa

eAfrica, Volume 2, February 2004

THE New Partnership for Africa’s Development offers a coherent outline of the many interconnected problems that must be solved to develop the continent. But it lacks one critical thing: clear priorities.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
Monday, 28 April 2008

Talks Give Nepad a Nudge

eAfrica, Volume 2, May 2004

African and Western policymakers refine agenda for continent's development in Maputo

AT A time when Africa is struggling to redefine its place in the global village and battling against marginalisation in a world shaken by terrorism, the African Partnership Forum - a vehicle originally established for dialogue between Nepad and the Group of Eight industrialised countries - provides a key window on the continent's progress. 

Published in Opinion & Analysis
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