The African Peer Review Mechanism

The African Peer Review Mechanism is an important process for the transformation of Africa. The climax of it is that countries benefit from the gains of the Peer Review process when they implement the Programme of Action.

One of the strengths of the process is mutual accountability and responsibility to each other as participating countries. A country does this with support of her neighbors and other countries. This contributes to improved collaborations amongst states.

The process helps countries and states to come up with emerging issues, selecting issues of concern that should be given adequate and immediate attention, determining salient challenges facing a nation or state under review, identifying ideas for the solutions of the challenges. These ideas are subject to validation by the community and all stake holders before they are adopted to form the National Programme of Action. It is also a process for finding solutions for specific needs.

The APRM enables citizens to participate in the evaluation of how they are governed. Public involvement during the self-assessment and implementation phase of APRM process enables community engagement and participation in remediation. It also comes up with ways of developing models of community collaboration to improve the ability of community groups to hold their political and community leaders and themselves accountable.

Public involvement facilitates a positive change in the culture and values of people, businesses and organizations in the four thematic areas of Corporate Governance, Economic Governance Management, Socio-Economic Development and Democracy and Political Governance. It is a long-range change toward better awareness and improved stewardship at the community level. By changing the culture and values of those living in the community, a new set of sustainable behaviours can emerge. This can be one of the most subtle but powerful effects of broad public participation.

The process follows African and international standards and codes; deepens African solidarity; builds capacity in monitoring governance; show cases Africa’s innovative thinking in governance and contributes to facilitating greater advocacy.

A message from the African Union Ambassador to the USA, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao

Diaspora Support for Free Trade and Economic Growth in Africa

Image by African Union
Many have pointed out that Africa is positioned as the last economic frontier. Africans in the diaspora have been recognized as critical players in this economy and are urged to actively participate in changing the economic trajectory of the continent, through, among other things, creating financial institutions to support the continent’s development initiatives. 

During a meeting held on Thursday September 6th2018, the African Union Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, called on Africans in the diaspora to unite, create social and business partnerships and investments that would position Africa strategically in the global economy, and provide a basis for fair  trade negotiations.

As Ambassador, she is fulfilling the African Union Mission’s mandate to undertake, develop and maintain constructive and productive institutional relationships between the African Union and Africans in the Diaspora. 

But there are many unanswered questions about the socio-economic status of different countries that make up Africa.That is why it is critical that we in the diaspora understand the trade terms and treaties signed by different countries in Africa, and how they impact the success rate of economic activities in those countries. 

It is worth celebrating that recently, African Union member states recognized the need to break down trade barriers within the continent, with 49 of 55 signing an agreement to create the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Once the agreement enters into force, it will result in the largest free-trade area in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

As an action plan, the diaspora needs to rally around the countries that have already ratified or are planning to ratify, and remind them that there is strength in numbers.

Vivian Kobusingye Birchall