Botswana APRM Popular Sensitisation Project

The Botswana APRM Popular Sensitisation (BAPS) aims to enhance meaningful participation of civil society in the country’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process, through capacity-building, fostering better knowledge of process, and developing a written submission on the key governance issues in Botswana.

This project is being implemented by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Johannesburg, in partnership with the Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO), in Gaborone.

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 February 2019, Botswana became the 38th African Union member state to voluntarily accede to the APRM. The country’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the APRM, was quoted saying that Botswana has always believed in good practices when it came to good governance and stood to gain a lot from countries that are members of the APRM.

The APRM is not just a government review, but a country review, in which civil society organisations (CSOs) are important stakeholders. It is a requirement that civil society be involved in a country’s APRM process. Botswana’s APRM process thus provides its CSOs with an historic opportunity to engage with government to address existing challenges, improve outcomes and ensure that the country continues on a successful democratic and socio-economic trajectory. The APRM specifically provides a platform to promote a wide range of governance issues that CSOs feel passionately about, through evidence-based submissions. 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 Botswana’s accession to the APRM. The APRM will produce a comprehensive governance assessment of the country’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 Botswana to explain and showcase its best practices to its peers, and to build capacity in local 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

Find out how a similar project unfolded in Namibia.

Useful links

The project partners would like to thank the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) for their generous support.

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) is Sweden’s government agency for development cooperation. It strives to reduce world poverty by allocating resources and knowledge to Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.

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