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The integrity of SACU has been put under enormous strain owing to continued divisions within the organization concerning the equitable distribution of revenues and the acrimonious Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with the European Union (EU). Media reports suggest that the South African government may use these divisions to push for a “downgrading” of SACU from a customs union to a free trade area (FTA); reports emanating from Botswana indicate that sentiment there may be moving in a similar direction.
Review by Tšoeu PetlanePeering the Peers is a collection of contributions from a conference on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) hosted by the Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa (EISA) in Maputo, Mozambique in 2008. The authors are academics and practitioners involved in studying and implementing this voluntary African-owned governance improvement initiative. They are well-suited to provide both the breadth of scope and depth of understanding of the processes of the APRM and its thematic content, as well as the dynamics of relationships among governments and civil society groups.
South African Institute of International Affairs cordially invites you to a Round Table Discussion to be addressed by His Excellency Mr H M Leteka, Former National African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Focal Point and Head of the National Governing Council (NGC) Secretariat, Kingdom of Lesotho on "Lessons from Lesotho's African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Experience". Venue: Jan Smuts House
Click here for the link on the UNDP, Oslo Governance Centre's Governance Assessment Portal, for details of the workshop held jointly by the UNDP, SAIIA and DIAL with the Government of Djibouti and key APRM stakeholders on 27-28 January 2010 (in French, with English summary) http://gaportal.org/djibouti-examine-les-lecons-des-pionniers-du-maep  
Now the African Union is in a dilemma. Two weeks ago, the AU summit broadened their definition of an ‘unconstitutional change of government’ to include incumbent leaders using unconstitutional means to stay in power. Such as suspending a democratic constitution to avoid presidential term limits. When President Tandja did precisely that last year, Niger’s opposition parties called it a ‘coup’. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) followed suit and imposed sanctions against Niger. The AU endorsed this stance in October 2009.
South African Institute of International Affairs cordially invites you to a Round Table Discussion to be addressed by Dr Kojo Busia, Chief of the African Peer Review Support Section United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on "The African Peer Review Mechanism: Progress & Prospects"Venue: Jan Smuts House
As published in City Press  Sunday 7 February 2010 Sparks flew in dusty Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last weekend, as representatives of the 29 member states of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) – the continent’s home-grown governance promotion instrument – gathered for their biannual meeting on the fringes of the African Union (AU) Summit. Many APRM Focal Points – ministers and other senior officials – raised grave concerns about the transparency, integrity and governance of this innovative experiment.
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
As originally published in Growth Magazine, Feb/March, 2009www.growth.co.za During the summit of the African Union, held in Addis Ababa on February 1 - 3, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, president of Libya, was elected Chairman of the Union's Assembly (summit) for the ensuing year. This is the first time he has served as head of either the African Union or its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity. What is the significance of this move and what are its likely consequences?
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 sub-region is richly endowed with a variety of energy sources. However, development of these resources is constrained by factors such as the shortage of equipment, the inability of SACU energy utilities to meet demand, and tariff and pricing rules. These and other obstacles limit energy's potential to serve effectively the needs of the people of SACU, while in some countries energy supply is unreliable and expensive, contributing to an uncompetitive business environment.
The sub-region is richly endowed with a variety of energy sources. However, development of these resources is constrained by factors such as the shortage of equipment, the inability of SACU energy utilities to meet demand, and tariff and pricing rules. These and other obstacles limit energy's potential to serve effectively the needs of the people of SACU, while in some countries energy supply is unreliable and expensive, contributing to an uncompetitive business environment.
Tensions over the future of the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and trade relations with the EU are rising as has been recently reflected on these pages. Unfortunately, they are so complex that they defy simple categorisation.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has a vision of a common future. This will be one of prosperity for all, peace, justice, and security. Its vision is “anchored on the common values and principles and the historical and cultural affinities that exist amongst the peoples of Southern Africa”. On SADC day, 17 August, we can reflect on how this regional integration programme is coming along.
Tensions over the future of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and trade relations with the European Union (EU) are rising, as recently reflected on these pages. Unfortunately they are so complex that they defy simple categorisation.
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?
South African Institute of International Affairs invites you to a workshop on Trade in SACU Energy Services: Towards A Negotiating Strategy at the Burgers Park Hotel.
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. 
Over the past few days, elections were held to the European Union's (EU) transnational European Parliament (EP) - an institution largely unknown in Africa. Does it have anything to teach Africa about its own continental parliamentary project - the Pan-African Parliament (PAP)?  
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 34, June 2009 (English)
Recent history shows that proactive diplomacy can save lives, economies and continental reputation. Long-serving rulers bottle up political tensions and resist predictable power transfers, which means the death of aging autocrats ought to bring active African diplomacy to ensure stable elections and transfers of power.
As published in the Daily News and Cape Argus Africa Day: a moment for the continent to reflect on its past, and to dream of its future. But Africa Day is also a commemoration of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963. At its establishment, the OAU was also the stuff of big dreams, but its legacy was a mixed one, which had made many painful mistakes. When it was replaced by the African Union (AU), many were hopeful that a new day had dawned. The OAU was part of the "old" Africa, the AU the…
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) aims to promote 'good governance' in Africa, through systematic reviews of a state's governance practices and subsequent recommendations, made by the APRM's Panel of Eminent Persons in each report, on how to improve them. Deliberately styled as a 'peer review', it encourages representatives from different African countries (and ultimately an assembly of the participating Heads of State - the APR Forum), to interrogate each country's problems and to propose solutions.
It has been over a month now since the unity government in Zimbabwe published proposals to dig the country out of the economic hole it has been languishing in over the best part of the past decade. The plan, named STERP (Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan) has been discussed and endorsed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the fourteen-member organization of countries in the region that was instrumental in facilitating the Global Political Agreement that gave birth to the unity government in Zimbabwe.
SAIIA Research Report, No 1, February 2009  Download - English [.pdf] (403.92 kB) Services are without doubt a key driver of economic growth and fundamentally influence (or determine) the trade capacity of countries. Like many other World Trade Organisation (WTO) member states, Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries recognise the importance of a more liberal services trade regime in enhancing the availability and quality of key services like communications, transport, energy, construction and financial services that are vital to economic growth and trade competitiveness.