An Assessment Of The Contributions Of NEPAD To African Development And Good Governance: Case Study Of The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)
Over the years, the concept of good governance, which guided the study has become the concern for donor partners, the Global West and some NGOs, as an ideal way of addressing the problems facing developing countries. Good governance eventually became a precondition for aid in Africa in an attempt to propel African leaders to respect human rights, implement economic reforms, ensure alternation of power in a free and fair election, among others. Among other things, African leaders adopted the AU and its constitutive Act in 2002, which as part of its aim is to promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance, as well as sustainable development in Africa. Accordingly, the most significant and striking task that came with the creation of the AU and the adoption of its Constitutive Act is the mandate it has been given to promote democracy and good governance in Africa. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the AU’s accompanying development paradigm has become a prerequisite for good governance. The peer review mechanism, the African Peer Review (APR), was incorporated into the dual efforts of NEPAD and the AU to monitor African Heads of State in an effort to ensure sound governance of their colleagues. The APRM’s ultimate objective is to establish good governance in Africa, which is considered by NEPAD to be the sine qua non for development in Africa. Thus, this research aims to explore the APRM’s efficacy in promoting good governance practices and development in Africa.
The research employed a qualitative method in apprising the APRM. This project made use of secondary data like textbooks, journal articles, and internet resources. The main finding of this research is that the peer review process through the APRM has ensured the promotion of good governance in Africa, paving the way for ‘open governance’ and inputs from citizens. The peer review mechanism offers a chance for participating nations to become conscious of the strengths and weaknesses of their policy making, governance institutions and procedures, and to share best practices of administrative, political, and financial management. It offers a forum for dialogue, peer learning, and regional and continental cooperation in which the challenges facing African countries, both individually and collectively, can be tackled. Nonetheless, the APRM has encountered some challenges which has impeded its efficiency and effectiveness. These limitations include; the APRM’s voluntary nature, issues with the APRM’s national and continental structures, absence of adequate financing, the lack of political will, and leadership crisis in Africa. It is essential for the APRM to address these barriers in order to achieve its complete potential.
Table Of Contents
- Title Page
- Table of Content
- 1.1 Background to the study
- 1.2 Statement of problem
- 1.3 Research questions
- 1.4 Aims and objectives
- 1.5 Scope and limitation
- 1.6 Research methodology
- 1.7 Chapter outline
Literature Review and Theoretical Framework
- 2.0 Introduction
- 2.1 Literature review
- 2.2 Conceptual review
- 2.2.1 The Definition of Development
- 2.2.2 The Definitions of Governance and Good Governance
- 2.2.3 The Measurement of Good Governance Indicators
- 2.3 Theoretical framework
- 2.3.1 Critiques of the theory
- 2.3.2 Relevance of the theory
- 2.4 Theories of Governance and Development
- 2.5 Linking Governance with Development
- 2.6 Africa’s development challenge in the post-independence period
- 2.7 The Good Governance and Development Agenda in Africa
Research Methodology and Overview of NEPAD
- 3.0 Introduction
- 3.1 Research design
- 3.2 Sources of data
- 3.3 Method of data collection and analysis
- 3.4 The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)
- 3.4.1 The origin of NEPAD
- 3.4.2 The rationale of NEPAD
- 3.4.3 The aims and objectives of NEPAD
- 3.4.4 NEPAD’s Institutional Mechanism
- 3.5 Conditions for Africa’s sustainable development
- 3.6 International Community views on NEPAD
The African Peer Review Mechanism
- 4.0 Introduction
- 4.1 The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)
- 4.1.1 Overview
- 4.1.2 Mandate and Purpose of the APRM
- 4.1.3 APRM thematic areas
- 4.1.4 Governance structures of the APRM
- 4.2 APRM review process
- 4.2.1 Periodicity and types of review
- 4.3 Governance quality and accession to the APRM
- 4.4 The role of the APRM in building democratic developmental states.
- 4.5 Case Studies of some ‘Peer-Reviewed’ States
- 4.6 Key issues arising from the implementation of the APRM
- 4.7 Successes and achievements of the African Peer Review Mechanism
- 4.8 Challenges of the APRM
- 4.9 Criticism of the APRM and its good governance underpinnings
Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion
- 5.1 Summary
- 5.2 Recommendations
- 5.3 Conclusion
1.1 Background to the Study
It has come to light that good governance and democracy in all societies, including third world countries, Africa in particular, are not merely desirable but vital requirements for economic growth. Africa has achieved great economic successes over the years and has African country has more economic resources than any other country in the world system.
Paradoxically, in many countries, the African continent is languishing in poverty, evidenced by severe hunger, disease and ignorance. Africa, sometimes referred to as the ‘forgotten continent’ have been plagued with corruption, unemployment, civil strife and terror because of dictators and citizens who are poor and desperate to earn a living (Awung, 2011). The growth prospects of the new politically independent African States were high in the late 1950s and early 1960’s. African nationalist leaders strived hard to kick out the colonizers. Massive demonstrations, protests, strikes, civil disobedience, petitions, negotiations, and boycotts were resorted to as tactics to gain independence. Now, when independence finally came, these leaders had to contend with a politically and economically underdeveloped continent.
By 1990, many Africans had become unhappy with the corrupt, inefficient, repressive and dictatorial structures of governance that prevailed in the post-colonial era (Appiah, 2015). At the heart of attempts by multilateral and bilateral donors to attenuate corruption in developing countries, the acceptance of the practice of democracy and good governance as an essential condition for financial aid, increasingly emerged chiefly among African countries in the early 1990s (Khorram-Manesh, 2013). With the adoption of democracy, political inclusiveness in Africa became more pronounced. In Africa, this period seemed to mark a new dawn of hope (Appiah, 2015). Thus, majority of African countries went from authoritarian rule to multi-party democracy (Adejumobi, 2000).
Currently, democracy stands as the most dominantly practiced political ideology in Africa and in the world at large. Samuel Huntington argues that, contemporary democracy definitions could be divided into three separate categories: source of authority to the government or government, served purposes, or government constituent procedures (Huntington 1991:6). Democracy in simple terms, is a system of governance where a leader is held accountable for his or her actions and inactions through periodic elections. Therefore, power is vested in the people who rule either directly or through freely elected representatives. Good governance on the other hand, according to Allen (2000) has been described by the late UN General Secretary Kofi Annan as:
“Good governance comprises the rule of law, effective state institutions, transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs, respect for human rights, and the participation of all citizens in the decisions that affect their lives”
Coined together, ‘democracy and good governance’ can basically be described as a political regime centered on a liberal-democratic polity model that guarantees human rights and equal opportunity, coupled with a reliable, incorruptible and responsible government. Todaro and Smith (2009) stress that democracy as well as economic growth will go hand in hand in the long run, while Oslon (1993) adds that steady democracy offers room for economic growth. Knutsen (2010) argues that in Africa the inclination of dictatorial regimes to choose poor policies is compounded by the generally weak institutional structures of the state. Hence, with empirical studies indicating that democracy, globally induces economic development, Africa must embrace democracy (Knutsen, 2010).
Over the years, a couple of new initiatives were adopted and implemented by Africa’s political leadership to address apparently perennial problems of poverty, underdevelopment, poor governance, corruption, instability, and political deterioration, with the overall goal of accelerating development in the continent (Mbadlanyana, 2014). The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) adopted in 2001 and ratified in 2002 by African Heads of State, is one of the most important initiatives in this regard. This initiative is a combination of the African Recovery Millennium Action Plan, the Omega Plan and the New Compact with Africa. In adopting NEPAD, African Heads of State and Government agreed, “on the basis of a common vision and shared conviction, that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and to place their countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development, and at the same time to participate actively in the world economy and body politic” (NEPAD, 2015). NEPAD is a ‘large concept’ as well as a framework for best practice. Also, NEPAD is an avenue for significant capital flows, both in terms of assistance and trade, and an effort to establish a growth alliance based on good governance (Waal, 2002).
NEPAD features sector specific programmes such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Plan (CAADP), Programme for Infrastructural Development in Africa (PIDA), and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) (Vickers, 2017). Among the sector specific programmes incorporated in NEPAD, arguably, the APRM is the most touted policy adopted by Africa’s Heads of States. As rightly put by Herbert and Gruzd (2008), the APRM is arguably the most forward-looking and audacious element in the NEPAD. Accordingly, APRM is a distinctive, mutually accepted tool directed at promoting the implementation of measures, norms and procedures leading to political stability, strong economic growth, sustainable development and enhanced sub-regional and fiscal consolidation through the exchange of knowledge and strengthening of effective and good practices, including identifying deficiencies and assessing of requirements for capacity building (NEPAD, 2015). Thus, to achieve the objectives and outcomes of NEPAD, among other reasons, Africa’s member states have decided to subject their nations to peer review, using a distinctive and creative APRM initiative (hope, 2005). The APRM was intended to show, on a country-by-country basis, the public structures, legislation and capabilities that need to be altered, reformed and developed.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The APRM, a ground-breaking program of NEPAD, has been recognised by the Global North and many in Africa as a remedy for the woes facing the continent. As at 2014, 34 countries had signed the APRM MOU, thereby acceding to be reviewed by their colleagues (NEPAD, 2015). These countries included: Ghana; Algeria; Angola; Benin; Burkina Faso; South Africa; Cameroon; Chad; Republic of Congo; Djibouti; Egypt; Ethiopia; Equatorial Guinea; Sierra Leone; Gabon; Gambia; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Lesotho; Nigeria; Rwanda; Sao Tome and Principe; Senegal; Sudan; Tanzania; Togo; Tunisia; Uganda; and Zambia. Herbert (2004) postulates that none of NEPAD’s concepts, ranging from gigantic infrastructure initiatives to healthcare reforms or stronger trade deals, has as much capacity as the APRM to bring about the positive change Africa has longed for. The peer review method was structured to monitor all phases of government, legislature, the judicial system, as well as the private sector.
Historically, African states had regarded each other’s sovereignty as sacrosanct as enshrined in the charter of the Organization of African Union (OAU), now the African Union (AU), a stance that permitted oppressive governments to thrive at the cost of the well-being of their people (Appiah, 2015). The OAU’s solemn concern at birth in 1963 was to free Africa from the bondage of colonialism. Although its goals included promoting global collaboration, having due regard to the United Nations (UN) Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR its main goals were the rapid decolonization of Africa, uniting Africa and protecting the territorial boundaries of African states (Akokpari, 2004). Therefore, the OAU was not mainly an organization of good governance. The OAU could not intervene or meddle in the affairs of member states due to its charter provisions. However, the adoption of the AU’s Constitutive Act presented an invigorating point for the continent, as the Act’s Article 30 gives the AU the legitimate right to debar unconstitutional regimes from democracy and good governance (AU, 2000). Hence, the Constitutive Act entreat African countries to pursue good governance principles.
The ushering in of the APRM, notwithstanding some constraints, presented a bracing counterpoint to the ideals of the Constitutive Act. Again, just like any other policy adopted by the OAU/AU, NEPAD and its APRM were met with some level of skepticism as to whether the APRM and NEPAD would bring about some changes due to the fact that the very rulers who independently and on the whole, are accountable for wrecking their nations’ economy as well as promoting corruption, are the same individuals who are supposed to willingly avail their governance structures to be peer reviewed. Nonetheless, 18 years have elapsed since the APRM was instituted.
What this research seeks to do is, to assess the contribution of NEPAD to African development good governance and development with much emphasis on the APRM.
1.3 Research Questions
The study addressed the following key research questions:
- What are the objectives of NEPAD and APRM?
- What is the relevance of the APRM in the promotion and enhancement of good governance and development in Africa?
- What are the challenges the APRM has faced in promoting good governance and development in Africa?
1.4 Aims and Objectives
The objective of this study is to thoroughly investigate on an assessment of the contributions of NEPAD to African development and good governance. Other objectives of this study include:
- To discuss the objectives of NEPAD and APRM.
- To examine the relevance of the APRM in the promotion and enhancement of good governance and development in Africa.
- To investigate the challenges the APRM has faced in promoting good governance and development in Africa
1.5 Scope and Limitation
The study provides insight into the assessment of the contributions of NEPAD to African development and good governance using APRM as a case study. The various ways APRM has contributed to good governance and development of Africa will be investigated.
In pursing this investigation and study, lots of impediments and obstruction were encountered as the research progressed. All these impediments brought about a conspicuous clause with the research work. They include, limited availability of relevant materials, time constraint and financial conditions.
1.6 Research Methodology
Research methodology deals with the different ways or methods the researcher applied in order to carry out the research as well as the instrument used for gathering the data.
There are several research methodologies appropriate for answering the research questions. The type of research methodology used in this research to gather data and relevant information is the historical research and the study will adopt descriptive method of data collection. This will involve the collection of materials from secondary sources, such as books, journal articles, magazines, internet sources, international and national conference proceedings, published and unpublished articles.
1.7 Chapter Outline
To achieve the purpose of this research. The study is divided into five inter-connected chapters, ranging from chapter one to five.
In this chapter one the researcher has been able to give an introduction to the work, state the problem that necessitate this study, outline the questions this work seek to answer as well as the objectives it hopes to achieve. The scope and limitations of this study were outlined as well as the methodology that was used for the study.
Chapter two deals with literature review, conceptual review and theoretical framework. Chapter three discuss the research methodology and overview of NEPAD. Chapter four delves into the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), origin, mandate, governance structure, etc. while chapter five deals with the summary, recommendations and conclusion.
Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion
The objective of this research was to ascertain the contributions of the APRM in encouraging good governance and development in Africa. The study used qualitative research methods that included; deals with the use of secondary sources of data such as books, internet, journals etc.
The research outlines and explains some of the tenets of the NEPAD and APRM. The concept of peer review, mandate, purpose, principles, participation, as well as the process of the APRM are discussed in detail. The funding of the APRM is also discussed in detail. The activities of the APRM are financed by individual countries who have acceded to the APRM. In addition, an “APRM Trust Fund” has been created, to be managed by the UNDP, in which donors and African nations can put their economic assistance.
The study reveals that the APRM has since its inception made significant strides both at the continental and national level. The APRM has opened up the political arena for citizens to participate in policy discussions, encouraged domestic dialog and stimulus for innovation, strengthened advocacy for excellent governance and better service delivery. At 2018, 38 out of the 52 African countries had acceded to the APRM. 22 of the 38 countries had undergone their first review, out of which, Kenya has had its second review. Thus, the countries that underwent the review examined nearly every facet of governance by their own people, African experts and ultimately fellow heads of state, which produced frank evaluations of actual issues and the setup of the Program of Action to address gaps in governance.
The research further points out that the APRM has induced good governance in Africa. In Africa, various countries that underwent the review process have included the Program of Action and the Annual Progress Report in their development strategies. The APRM has also served as early warning mechanism prompting countries like South Africa and Kenya of emerging violence.
The research also discusses some of the challenges of the APRM, which have affected its efficiency and effectiveness. These challenges include; the APRM’s voluntary nature, issues with the APRM’s national and continental structures, absence of adequate financing, the lack of political will, and leadership crisis in Africa.
From the findings, the following recommendation are made:
Financing of the APRM must be negotiated and determined, depending on a country’s financial ability. Hence, the APRM must avoid the one-fits-all model, where regardless of an African country’s economic growth and resources, it is tasked to contribute resources because it cut across. While the values and principles of good governance are universal, it is necessary to recognize and consider the cultural and social, political and economic differences that are characteristic of African countries. It is also imperative for African leaders to commit financial resources to supporting these projects. African leaders cannot continue to depend on donors for their initiatives.
Likewise, the AU must make the benefits of NEPAD projects conditional upon accession to the APRM. This will involve a state to acknowledge peer review to engage in a specific NEPAD project. Indeed, peer review is essential because some collective initiatives may require harmonization of standards and practices. This will further compel African states to accede to the APRM.
In addition, the AU should implement the APRM at the Regional level, rather than centralizing the mechanism. This would ensure that various leaders are committed to the initiative. If implemented at the Regional Economics Communities level, peer reviews may be more acceptable and efficient for African nations. All African States belong to one or two Regional Economics Communities and the feeling of belonging to these regional blocs seems to be more pronounced than continental structures. The Regional Economics Communities could be more efficient in ensuring that the peer review is carried out in all member states, as they have the authority to impose penalties, if need be. Regionalizing the APRM, however, may be costly, since it needs human, financial, technical resources.
In recap, the APRM is an African governance tool developed in 2003 to monitor and assess African countries’ political, economic and corporate governance. It is mainly designed to encourage political stability, high economic growth, sustainability and accelerated continental economic integration through policies, norms and procedures.
The concept of setting up an African surveillance system originated as an answer to the issues and difficulties of governance facing the continent since independence and the consequent political instability and underperformance of the economy.
The research analyzed the APRM’s capacity to tackle critical political governance problems in Africa. The analyses and suggestions in this study have highlighted the APRM’s major limitations. These include the APRM’s voluntary nature, issues with the APRM’s national and continental structures, absence of adequate financing, the lack of political will as well as leadership crisis in Africa. The APRM’s uniqueness lies in its broad participatory process, enabling people to participate in their country’s governance and public affairs surveillance.
The study however in its assessment of the APRM, does not pretend to be exhaustive. The study concludes that, further research on a number of problems is needed to further elucidate the multiple problems facing the APRM in its efforts to promote governance, and bring political stability and economic development in Africa.
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