Zimbabwe APRM Popular Sensitisation Project

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

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 2020, Zimbabwe became the 39th African Union member state to voluntarily accede to the APRM. This accession signalled President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s commitment to open governance, reduce corruption and promote the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

The APRM’s rules require that civil society be 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.

This project is being implemented by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Johannesburg, South Africa in partnership with SIVIO Institute in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Potential benefits of the APRM in Zimbabwe

The APRM can catalyse and bolster reform efforts, and open civic space for civil society organisations (CSOs) and citizens through the dialogue it promotes. It is also an opportunity for Zimbabwe to showcase its best practices to its peers. A well-run, inclusive and transparent process can promote accountability in the country, and potentially attract investors and development assistance. This African-owned process will produce a comprehensive governance assessment of Zimbabwe’s strengths and weaknesses and develop recommendations to remedy shortcomings, particularly as the country grapples with a global pandemic that will be felt for years.

Zimbabwe’s accession provides CSOs with an important opportunity. Government’s plans for the process have not yet solidified, so there is an opening for civil society 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. While It is a requirement that civil society be involved in a country’s APRM process, the extent of their involvement is up to the CSOs, depending on how informed, interested and mobilised they are.

This project endeavours to call attention to prevailing issues, particularly from a civil society lens.

The process so far

Find out how similar projects have unfolded in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

Useful links

See how a similar process unfolded in South Africa and Botswana

The project partners would like to thank the Government of Sweden and 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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