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African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) was effectively established by the Abuja Declaration on 9th March 2003 as an instrument for the review of political, economic, corporate governance and socio-economic development, in any of the African Union member states that voluntarily accede to the mechanism. In 2016, the APRM Statute provisionally came to force, and under Article 2, effectively established the mechanism as a Specialized Agency within the African Union.

The APRM has the mandate to promote and facilitate self-monitoring by the Participating States, and to ensure that their policies and practices conform to the agreed political, economic, corporate governance and socio-economic values, codes and standards contained in the Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance; and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, as well as other relevant treaties, conventions and instruments adopted by Participating States whether through the African Union or through other international platforms.

In the implementation of its mandate, the APRM has the primary purpose of fostering the adoption of policies, standards, and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable and inclusive development, as well as accelerated regional and continental economic integration, through sharing of experiences and reinforcement of successful and best practices.

As of January 2017, 36 countries of the African Union had acceded to the APRM. The Republic of Liberia is the 22nd of the 36 to undertake a first Country Review.

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is a self-monitoring instrument voluntarily acceded to by member states of the African Union, meant to help the African States create a conducive environment for development; It fosters 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 sharing of experiences and; It is also meant to reinforce successful and best practices, including identifying deficiencies in bid to address them.
As Africa entered a new millennium, it was faced with different development challenges including conflicts, institutional decay, leadership and managerial deficit, gender inequality, endemic corruption, and economic mismanagement.

To overcome these challenges and renewal of Africa, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) was adopted by the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit held in Lusaka, Zambia in July 2001 and declared in Durban 2002.

NEPAD aimed “to eradicate poverty and to place African countries on a path of sustainable growth and development, and at the same time to participate actively in the world economy and body politics”.

The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning the sector Ministry responsible for Liberia’s APRM program, the APRM National Secretariat which is responsible for programs and the day to day operations of Liberia’s APRM Country Program have done major work in this regards, some of which includes but is not limited to; the formulation of an aggressive roadmap with clear activities timelines leading to the conduct of the CSAR, the provision of support and strengthening of the APRM National Secretariat, recruitment, training and commissioning of the Technical Research Institutes (TRI’s), writing of the Country Self-Assessment (CSAR) report on Liberia, validation of the Report and the National Plan of Action (PoA) by various stakeholders, training on APRM communications, messaging and branding, the launch of a major APRM Sensitization Campaign, to name a few.

Liberia acceded to the framework in January 2011, with a mandate to conduct a self-assessment report two years after acceding to the APRM framework but that process was disrupted by the National Ebola Crisis in 2014 that toke away scores of lives. With the National Ebola Crisis now behind Liberian and the political, economic, social and corporate agenda of the government back on course, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf now thinks it is time to access the progress and gains made in her governance structure, as well as her challenges. The trip to Sierra Leone is the outcome of a talked held between Hon. Boima S. Kamara, Minister of Finance and Development Planning and Madam ---Nedie-Thomas, Minister of Policy and Political Affairs of Sierra Leone while attending the APRM meeting of Heads of States held August 20016 in Nairobi, Kenya alongside their respective presidents. It was agreed upon by the two Focal Points (Ministers of sector Ministries responsible for the APRM Programs in various African Countries) that since Sierra Leone has conducted a successful Country Self-Assessment Report (CSAR) and was on its way to conduct its second report, lot could be learned that are suitable and applicable to the Liberian context.
Problems to be addressed

The APRM National Secretariat which is responsible for programs and the day to day operations of Liberia’s APRM Country Program has done major work in this regards, some of which includes but is not limited to; the formulation of an aggressive roadmap with clear activities timelines leading to the conduct of the Country Self-Assessment Report [CSAR], the provision of support and strengthening of the APRM National Secretariat, recruitment, training and commissioning of Technical Research Institutes (TRI’s), writing of the Country Self-Assessment (CSAR) report on Liberia, validation of the Report and the National Plan of Action (PoA) by various stakeholders, training on APRM communications, messaging and branding, the launch of a major APRM Sensitization Campaign, to name a few.

Recent Initiatives for improving good governance in Liberia

The APRM National Secretariat has a four prone administrative approach weaving through networking, compliance, programs, and activities with APR Continental Secretariat, the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning (MFDP) & APRM National Focal Point, the Sector Ministry with oversight of APRM Liberia Country Program, and the APRM National Governing Council (NGC) a Multi-Stakeholder group that serves as the board of the APRM [Liberia Program] and provide policy guidance to the secretariat and ensure strategic engagement with APRM Strategic Partners nationally. Predicated upon this, APRM National Secretariat, under the directive of the Executive Director and Senior National Program Officer during the course of the year lead the APRM team in carrying out the following administrative and programmatic activities.

Major activities undertaken during the period under review included;

• The visitation of an APR Mission to Liberia, headed by the Chair of APRM Eminent Persons. The aims and purpose of the mission was to facilitate transitional dialogue between Liberia’s out-going and incoming administrations [at the time]. Inform and seek the President the Elect [at the time] indulgence of Liberia’s APRM Report and the need for president Weah to defend [be peer review] Liberia’s report at the AU January 2018 summit held in Addis Ababa. The weeklong mission to Liberia by the APR Continental delegation as a huge success with several meetings held b/w out-going President, H.E Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and incoming [at the time] President, H.E George M. Weah

• Out-going MFDP Minister & APRM National Focal Point, Hon. Bioma S. Kamara [at the time] and incoming MFDP Minister & APRM National Focal Point, Hon. Samuel Tweh

• The transition of leadership in Liberia also necessitated Revalidation of Liberia APRM Country Report. The revalidation exercise sponsor by the APR Continental Secretariat was a weeklong event that brought together key policymakers and [good-governance] stakeholders. Critical to the exercise was the consideration of the new government’s [pro-poor] development agenda alignment and emerging issues with findings of the report, as well as, a relook at the National Program of Action [NPoA] annex in the report. Policy Makers and Stakeholders attending the event describe it as a huge success, pointing out that the Report and NPoA if defended by the president of Liberia and implemented by the government, will not only shape the leadership paradigm in Liberia but greatly boost government development agenda.

• Financed by the APR Continental Secretariat, Liberia was represented at the 2nd APR Experts Meeting and a round-table dialogue on “Youth Voices in Governance on the Continent” was also held. The APR Experts Meeting discussed a wide range of programmatic and administrative issues concerning the Mechanism, support from Strategic Partners, workings of the APR Continental Secretariat and APRM Country programs. The meeting also explore ways the APR Mechanism [as a major AU organ] can be more efficient and effective in its work, how the Continental Secretariat can be more responsive, new funding & funding gaps from strategic partners and how APRM Country programs should be aligned with that of the continental and how funding opportunities can be accessed. Liberia was represented by; the Executive Director of the APRM National Secretariat, APRM Liaison Officer, in the Office of the MFDP Minister & APRM National Focal Point, Hon. Samuel Tweh, and a Member of APRM National Governing Council [NGC]

• During the period under review, APRM secretariat was also able to carry five (5) of the Six (6) activities under the MFDP Multi-Donor funder IPFMRP II. Download Over of the MFDP APRM [Liberia] Country Program

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