Prof Eddy Maloka, CEO of the continental secretariat of African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), spoke about the inaugural Africa Governance Report (AGR), at its launch in Nairobi, Kenya
We have just concluded the launch of the inaugural Africa Governance Report (AGR). What actually inspired this Report?
I think Africa is probably the most reviewed continent in the world. We have all these external agencies coming to review and rank African countries but never with our participation as African countries. We only get to hear about the outcome of the reviews when they are launched somewhere outside the continent. So, we thought although being reviewed and ranked is not a bad thing we needed to monitor and review governance performance on the continent, ourselves. This was what inspired this exercise; the Africa Governance Report is a baseline study on the state of governance on the continent.
The Report is focused on five key thematic areas, namely: transformative leadership; constitutionalism and the rule of law; peace, security and governance; the nexus of development and governance; as well as the role of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in African governance. The major highlight of the AGR is: overall we are doing better than before, particularly in the areas of socioeconomic development, fighting poverty, and economic management; however, comparatively, we still have serious challenges with political governance and democracy.
Now that the AGR has been launched, what are the plans of ensuring its recommendations are implemented by Member States of the African Union?
Moving forward, we have to work hard to ensure the implementation of the recommendations but because we are working with sovereign states, it means we have to work with our national offices to encourage the Member States to implement the recommendations. At the same time, we are currently working on methodologies for the next issue of the report under the theme: ‘African Governance Futures 2063’ scheduled for 2021.
Since we have Agenda 2063, we want to make projections regarding where Africa will be in terms of governance by 2063. So, we will come up with 3 or 4 scenarios and proffer recommendations as to how to avoid certain scenarios while also recommending what we must do to arrive at other scenarios. With the next report, we will be able to provide a clearly defined narrative or projections for governance and consequently be able to galvanize African leaders on the future direction for governance on the continent.
This is to help guide leaders to be able to say: ‘Oh! We don’t want to go this and that direction; rather, this is the direction to go so we must avoid this and that.’ Most importantly, we are not abandoning this inaugural report; instead, we will be working to ensure its implementation while also carrying the core elements of the report forward into the designing of methodologies for the next report and scenarios building exercise.
Talking about Agenda 2063, what role will improved state of governance on the African continent play in the Agenda’s successful realization?
Governance is central to the challenges we have on the continent including the peace and security challenges. According to a study by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), on the structural causes of conflicts in Africa, 90% of the causes are governance related; development challenges are also governance-related. If funds meant for public services such as building of roads and bridges are diverted, it’s a governance issue. I therefore believe if we get governance right, we will get 80% of our problems solved, that’s why we are passionate about putting efforts to improve governance on the African continent.
Some are of the opinion that, as Africans, we have for too long been talking at conferences and summits about governance, without much to show on the ground. What commitment are you making, as APRM, to ensure the recommendations of this Report and others coming after it will be followed up to ensure Member States implement them?
Because we are working with sovereign states, it is not easy but we must not stop; thankfully, we have a few countries like Kenya and Nigeria which act as role models, so having these role models means other countries can learn from them; others are already learning from them. So, although it is not easy working with sovereign states we should not stop because this is our own continent – it is only us that can change our own destiny.
Before now, the emphasis at the African Union was on peace and security and development but now governance is featuring strongly on the AU’s agenda, thankfully, the AU is now directly funding the APRM. This shows that now the continent recognizes the importance of governance which means we are going in the right direction. As APRM, we are trying to show that governance can be a tool for regional integration and if the AU is giving us its support we must continue to push in that direction.
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