African Governance and Diplomacy

APRM sensitisation project in Namibia

The APRM Sensitisation Project in Namibia (ASPIN) aims to enhance the participation of civil society in the Namibian African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process, through capacity-building, fostering better knowledge of the APRM

The APRM Sensitisation Project in Namibia (ASPIN) aims to enhance the participation of civil society in the Namibian African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process, through capacity-building, fostering better knowledge of the APRM and its rules and opportunities, and developing a written submission on the key governance issues in Namibia.

This project is being implemented by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Johannesburg, in partnership with the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in Windhoek.

Background

The APRM, established in 2003, is Africa’s premier governance self-assessment and promotion tool. The purpose of the APRM 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 economic integration through reinforcement of best practices, including identifying deficiencies and accessing the needs for capacity building,” according to its founding documents.

In January 2017, Namibia became the 36th African Union member state to voluntarily accede to the APRM. This signalled President Hage Geingob’s commitment to open governance, reducing corruption and promoting the rule of law. The APRM’s rules require that civil society is meaningfully involved in each country’s review process. Together with government and the private sector, the country’s civil society will diagnose governance strengths and weaknesses, and develop appropriate and applicable remedies.

Potential benefits of the APRM in Namibia

Namibia’s accession provides civil society organisations (CSOs) with an important opportunity. Government’s plans for the process have not yet solidified, so there is an opening to influence them. The APRM also provides a platform to promote a wide range of governance issues that CSOs feel passionately about, through evidence-based submissions. It is a requirement that civil society be involved in a country’s APRM process. But the extent of their involvement is up to the CSOs, depending on how informed, interested and mobilised they are.

There are several potential benefits stemming from Namibia’s accession to the APRM. This African-owned process will produce a comprehensive governance assessment of Namibia’s strengths and weaknesses, and develop recommendations to remedy shortcomings. The APRM can catalyse and bolster reform efforts, and open civic space for CSOs and citizens through the dialogue it promotes. It is also an opportunity for Namibia to explain and showcase its best practices to its peers, and to build capacity in Namibia CSOs. A well-run, inclusive and transparent process can promote accountability in the country, and potentially attract investors and development assistance. And the more SADC countries that are encouraged to accede, the easier it is to deal with cross-boundary issues, including climate, health and migration.

The process so far

The next visit is scheduled for 22-24 October 2018, where a validation workshop will take place to finalise the civil society submission. To attend or find out more, please contact IPPR.

Key publications

In March 2017, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published ‘Namibia and the African Peer Review Mechanism: Committing to Improved Governance’ written by Steven Gruzd, head of the African Governance and Diplomacy Programme at SAIIA. This guide is aimed at Namibian civil society, parliament and policymakers, to explain how and why the APRM arose, what it is and what it entails for the country. It outlines what Namibia can expect from the APRM process, and what is required to undertake a successful, inclusive and meaningful review. It also suggests further reading material to learn more about the APRM.

Useful links

Project partners would like to thank the funders, The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Namibia Office and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) for their generous support.