Assessing the Implications of the APRM’s Expanded Mandate

Delegates leave the plenary hall of the Africa Union (AU) headquarters, before the start of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU in Addis Ababa on January 27, 2018. Image: Getty, Simon Maina/AFP
Delegates leave the plenary hall of the Africa Union (AU) headquarters, before the start of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU in Addis Ababa on January 27, 2018. Image: Getty, Simon Maina/AFP

The core mandate of the AU’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) – initiated in 2002 and established in 2003 – is ‘to foster the adoption of policies, standards and practices leading to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated regional and continental economic integration’.

Summary:

  • In 2016 the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) – Africa’s home-grown governance assessment and promotion tool – was given additional responsibilities by its parent body, the AU. Collectively, these added features are known as the APRM’s Expanded Mandate.
  • Among others, the Expanded Mandate has been interpreted to extend the APRM’s purview to monitor governance not only in its current 41 member states but also in non-member states. A focus has been on the status of implementation of the governance aspects of the AU’s 50-year blueprint, Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • While the Expanded Mandate and the leadership’s turnaround strategy can be credited for the momentum, renewed energy and interest the APRM has enjoyed from member states, civil society organisations and development partners, some contend that it has also distracted the APRM from its core focus.
  • This paper reflects on the implications of this Expanded Mandate. It explores some of the opportunities and challenges it has created for the APRM, the impacts of COVID-19 on its implementation and, finally, how institutional changes within the APRM Continental Secretariat could influence its future.
  • With innovative instruments such as targeted reviews, countries that were not necessarily keen on full reviews or that may have faced challenges in conducting full reviews are still able to participate, by opting to scrutinise specific areas of concern.
  • The APRM has an opportunity to harness the energy created by Expanded Mandate projects to sharpen focus, retain relevance to member states (beyond the political sphere, to meet the expectations of citizens) and ensure institutional stability.
1 Sep 2021
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Research by
Series
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 328, July 2021
Region
Middle East & North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
SAIIA Programme
African Governance and Diplomacy
Tags
APRM, African Union (AU)
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