Expensive Fellow South African,
Over the previous weekend, on the thirty fifth African Union Meeting of Heads of State and Authorities, South Africa’s two-year chairship of the African Peer Evaluation Discussion board got here to an finish.
The discussion board is among the constructions of the African Peer Evaluation Mechanism (APRM), which goals to advertise and defend human rights, consolidate democracy and advance good governance and the rule of regulation amongst African international locations.
Of the African Union’s 55 member states, 42 are actually members of the APRM. Within the final two months, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi turned the newest international locations to hitch the mechanism. Efforts are underway to encourage all remaining AU member states to hitch by the tip of this decade.
The APRM encourages finest observe for political, social and financial stability, whereas serving to to deal with governance deficiencies by offering a nationwide programme of motion for every state involved.
In essence, the APRM is a voluntary association amongst taking part states “to evaluate and assessment governance at head of state peer degree”.
By becoming a member of the APRM, states conform to independently assessment their compliance with continental and worldwide governance commitments.
South Africa was one of many first international locations to hitch the APRM in 2003 and has undergone two assessments. Our most up-to-date evaluation was final yr, the place we have been assessed on democratic and political governance, financial administration, company governance, socio-economic growth and state resilience.
Our nation acquired beneficial critiques for, amongst others, the rule of regulation, oversight our bodies like our Chapter 9 establishments, the development of girls’s rights, robust refugee safety and our in depth social welfare web.
South Africa was additionally cited for its robust company governance, open finances processes and for the proliferation of company social accountability initiatives.
We have been additionally praised for the evolution of our electoral system by way of the introduction of unbiased candidature for final yr’s native authorities elections.
Almost about administration of the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa was congratulated for demonstrating resilience and international management. The APRM Evaluation Mission additional recommended South Africa for publicising its detection of the Omicron variant late final yr, “regardless of the dangers to its financial system”.
However the evaluation additionally discovered a number of areas of concern. These embody rising inequality and unemployment, corruption, incidents of xenophobia and poor service supply.
It advisable that authorities develop a barometer to measure inequality and instruments to measure the efficacy of transformative programmes reminiscent of broad-based black financial empowerment, employment fairness and land reform.
As a rustic, we’re taking these suggestions on board and exploring areas of alignment between the APRM Nationwide Programme of Motion and the work of our Nationwide Planning Fee.
It’s tremendously encouraging that regardless of pockets of instability, we now have come a great distance in consolidating democracy and good governance on the continent.
The Africa Governance Report 2021, which South Africa introduced to the AU Meeting over the weekend, famous progress in consolidating democracy and shifting in the direction of financial integration by way of the African Continental Free Commerce Space. On the identical time, it advisable that leaders take pressing steps to deal with drivers of instability, reminiscent of rising youth unemployment, extremism, mass migration and deepening inequality.
As a result of participation is voluntary, the APRM seeks to encourage good governance by way of self-assessment and peer assessment. Member states are inspired to work in the direction of compliance by addressing deficiencies and implementing their nationwide programmes of motion.
Whereas the APRM just isn’t punitive, the African Union has itself taken decisive positions on states whose actions undermine the rules of the AU Constitution and the AU’s Agenda 2063.
For instance, following coups final yr, Mali, Guinea and Sudan’s membership of the AU have been suspended. Final week, the AU additionally suspended Burkina Faso’s membership following a coup within the West African nation.
On the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, the precursor to the AU, in 1963, Ghana’s President Kwame Nkrumah issued a transparent warning to Africa’s leaders: “Our individuals supported us in our combat for independence as a result of they believed that African governments might treatment the ills of the previous… if now that we’re unbiased we permit the identical circumstances to exist that existed in colonial days, all of the resentment which overthrew colonialism might be mobilised towards us.”
The APRM is among the most necessary responses of Africa’s leaders to this hazard.
Simply as South Africa’s fortunes are inextricably tied to these of the continent, we’re additionally inevitably affected by political, financial and different types of instability in Africa. This makes our participation within the African Peer Evaluation Mechanism all of the extra essential.
We share a accountability, alongside our sister international locations, to strengthen good governance in Africa. In spite of everything, good governance brings funding, growth, peace, progress and, in the end, shared prosperity.