The Regional Experience Sharing and Peer Learning Workshop on second generation African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) opened in Accra yesterday.
It was put together by the National APRM governing council in collaboration with the continental APRM secretariat.
The APRM is a mutually agreed self-monitoring instrument introduced by the African Union (AU) about 16 years ago, to ensure that policies and practices of participating member states, conformed to the codes and standards of the declaration on democratic, political, economic and corporate governance of the AU.
It is also geared towards facilitating Africa’s development through political stability, robust economic growth and accelerated economic integration.
The workshop brought together participants from the eight APRM participating countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Benin, Mali, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Uganda, to brainstorm on best practices and experiences from the implementation of APRM in countries represented, and explore ways through which the objectives of the mechanism could be better achieved.
Addressing participants, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said peer-level review was a good tool to promote peaceful co-existence and development.
She mentioned that Ghana was among 12 countries that acceded to the APRM process and also the first to be reviewed in 2006, adding that currently, out of 38 countries, 22 had been peer reviewed.
According to Ms Botchwey, although the APRM was applauded in international circles for ensuring the practice of good governance, it had in recent times faced challenges such as low level of interest by member states, low accession rate, low number of peer reviews, a weak continental secretariat and inadequate financial resources among others.
The minister hoped that all member states of APRM would renew their commitment and interest in the process, and rededicate themselves to its core values and objectives.
On his part, Chairperson for the APRM National Governing Council, Most Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, indicated that the workshop was a testament to the level of value placed on Ghana by APRM at the continental level as one of its leading exponents, in spite of unavoidable slowdown in the pace of the country’s implementation of the APRM over the years.
According to Professor Asante, the APRM secretariat had recently introduced new initiatives which would enable leaders of the various countries to know the real state of affairs of a given thematic area over a given period, good practices carried out in the area and challenges.
The Chairperson, therefore, called on the government to take advantage of the opportunity to undertake a targeted review of some sectors of the country “in the shortest possible time”.
He also assured that his outfit would remain committed to ensuring that the investment made in the APRM in Ghana yielded the expected dividends for the country and continent at large.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU AND MALISA TETTEH