President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, the incoming chairman of the African Union, has on Saturday also taken over the chairpersonship of the African Peer Review Forum of Heads of State and Government Participating in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
President Ramaphosa took over leadership of the APRM’s highest decision-making body at the 29th African Peer Review (APR) Forum of Heads of State and Government Summit, held on the sidelines of the ongoing 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He succeeded President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad, who had been the Forum’s chair since he assumed office at the 27th APR Forum of Heads of State and Government in January 2018.
The APR Forum Summit convenes annually on the margins of the AU Summit to take stock of the progress made by AU Member States that have voluntarily acceded to the APRM. APRM is the AU’s self-assessment instrument focused on tracking the implementation of the Union’s key governance initiatives including monitoring and evaluation for Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 while the APR Forum is the highest governing structure of the APRM which provides political leadership and strategic guidance to the Mechanism.
President Ramaphosa told his peers that ownership of the APRM didn’t rest in its Continental Secretariat alone; instead, “It is vested in all of us. “The APRM must be seen for what it is: a driver for change.” He assured the Forum that South Africa would play its part in deepening the APRM’s review processes and up-scaling the implementation of plans of action crucial in improving governance systems across the APRM Member States.
Outgoing chairperson of the APRM, President Deby Itno urged other African countries that were still not members of the APRM to also join the Mechanism. “It is our wish that all African countries should join the APRM, which has already proven its worth and benefit to our people,” he said. Amongst other accomplishments, President Deby Itno’s leadership of the APR Forum saw the integration of the APRM budget into the AU’s budget, crucial for the Mechanism’s sustainability, as well as the domestication of APRM reports by Member States, and elevation of the APRM as an instrument for early warning system and conflict prevention.
Having undergone revitalization in the past four years, the APRM’s 2020-2023 strategic plan is focused on achieving universal accession by 2023. More than two thirds of the AU’s 55 Member States have since 2003 acceded to the APRM; the most recent accessions being those of Zimbabwe and the Seychelles, which were formally announced at the 29th APR Forum Summit, moving the total number of APRM states to 40.
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