ADDIS ABABA,Ethiopia, Jan 29 — President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday launched a push to integrate the African Peer Review Mechanism into the African Union system to make it more relevant, and to provide the cash required to meet their ambitious plans.
President Kenyatta, who is the chairperson of APRM, told fellow leaders that it was imperative that they meet their budgetary obligations to ensure that the APRM became more effective and delivered on its mandate of improving governance on the continent.
The President, who spoke when he opened a special summit of the committee of Heads of State and Government participating in the African Peer Review Mechanism, called for strengthening of APRM’s linkage with regional economic blocs and NEPAD programmes.
He said APRM, through which African countries subject themselves to standards they have to achieve for better governance, would become more relevant when linked to the implementation of frameworks such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030.
“We must hasten the integration of the APRM in the African Union system. This will make the mechanism more credible, relevant, and visible at the continental stage and will give impetus to our revitalisation efforts,” the President said.
President Kenyatta, who took over the leadership of the APRM last year, called for the special summit to renew Africa’s commitment to the review system for better governance.
So far, 37 countries have acceded to the system out of which 17 have been reviewed with Djibouti, Zambia and Tanzania being the latest countries to go through the review.
“The reviews have been key in helping us identify areas that require improvement to create enabling environment to pursue our development agenda. It is my hope and expectation that the remaining countries will expedite the process of initiating reviews,” said the President.
President Kenyatta urged the Heads of State and Government gathered at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa that they should revitalise Africa’s voluntary guest for better governance.
“When it was conceived, the APRM was driven with much enthusiasm because it embodied then, as it does now, the promise of entrenching good governance and accountability, which are necessary for the success of Africa’s development agenda,” said the President.
He urged the leaders to own the process by making financial contributions so that the APRM can achieve its full potential.
“Financial contributions necessary to ensure Africa’s ownership of the process have dwindled, as have contributions from strategic partners,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said revitalisation of the APRM process also requires strengthening of the linkages between the APR Forum, Committee of Focal Points, the Panel of Eminent Persons, and the APR Secretariat.
He said the APRM needs the urgent attention of African leaders for the benefit of the people of the continent.
“The challenges facing APRM require our urgent attention. Today, we must make concrete decisions that will significantly alter the destiny of not only our institution but our continent as a whole,” said the President.
President Kenyatta spoke candidly with fellow Heads of State and Government, in a separate session after the opening forum, where he told them the financial ownership of the process should belong to African and government should remit their contributions to the organisation.
“In 2015/2016 for example, the budget for the Secretariat is about $9.2 million. However, so far, only about $3 million has been received from 14 member States,” the President said.
He said it is a common view of African leaders that the APRM should be the premier monitoring instrument for continental good governance and development initiatives.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda was the first President to be invited by President Kenyatta to address the Summit. A host of other leaders, including South African President Jacob Zuma, were attending.
President was to lead his fellow leaders to address a press conference at the end of the special summit.
The APRM was established in 2003 and its primary purpose is “to foster the adoption of policies, standards, and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated sub-regional and continental integration through sharing of experiences and reinforcement of successful best practice, including identifying deficiencies and assessing the needs for capacity building.”
The APRM forum was President Kenyatta’s first engagement after his arrival in Addis Ababa for the 26th Ordinary Session of the African Union. His statement to the Committee of 10 on reform of the United Nations was due to be delivered by Foreign Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed.
He will later today attend a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council during which the leaders will focus on issues of terrorism and review the situation in South Sudan and Somalia.