A new book released by the South African Institute of International Affairs and published by Jacana Media examines the governance success stories of a number of African states. Entitled “African Solutions: Best Practices from the African Peer Review Mechanism”, the book is the outcome of research into the policies, programmes and experiences identified as “best practices” from the first 12 countries that published Country Review Reports (CRRs) under the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). These countries are Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda. The APRM was conceived as a voluntary mechanism and, in the absence of ‘hard pressure’ for compliance, incentives – rather than sanctions – could be the way to strengthen governance on the continent.
Thus, “best practices” are important as potential models for reform, and to counterbalance the temptation to concentrate on what is not working in Africa. In this book, the best practices identified in the CRRs are examined critically and methodically with a view to understanding:
- How “best practices” are conceptualised within the APRM (including how they are intended to be used to achieve the desired results);
- Whether the reported practices qualify as “best practices” by being demonstrably better than the rest, replicable and addressing APRM goals,
- How these practices could be strengthened to be used as material for peer learning within the APRM and across the continent.