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Home / The African peer review mechanism

The African Peer Review Mechanism

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is a NEPAD special initiative created to increase the democratic level of the AU.

The APRM is built on four structures:


the APRM Forum that is composed of African leaders whose countries participate in the initiative,
- the APRM Panel that is composed of seven individuals selected on the basis of probity, integrity and public service,
- focal points in each country that serve as the nexus between national bodies and the continental structures of the peer review system,
- the APRM secretariat that provides the day to day management input needed for the smooth operation of the initiative.


There are four reviews under the APRM system. They include the base review that is initiated after 18 months of being signatory to the APRM text; the periodic or the conventional reviews; reviews requested by members and finally reviews triggered by imminent crisis.
The conventional reviews are conducted in stages. The first step provides the signing of the memorandum of understanding and the preparation of the documents on the country by the APRM secretariat. The second stage is composed of a country review visit by the members of an APRM Team. The Teams are led by members of the APRM Panel. During the third stage the review team is tasked with the drafting of the report of the visit. The report is meant to provide recommendations based on the visit that was conducted by the APRM Team. The report is then submitted to the APRM Panel by the secretariat. At the final step the report is tabled to the APRM Forum, AU bodies such as the PAP and to the public.

Even if received as a worthwhile initiative, the APRM has some problems relating to funding, criteria for the selection of some Panel members, human resources concerns and lack of sanctions. Like the NEPAD, the APRM has also a deficit of bottom up ownership, because there's a low involvement of civil society groups. To make it more viable and credible could be necessary to encode its founding text as a Protocol, so that the APRM can be legally and constitutionally integrated in the AU’s Constitutional framework.  

Nevertheless the real problem is the negative political picture at national level, that undermines the AU steps towards good governance and effective democracy. Many african states face several challenges. Among these, there are lack of civic education, weak parliamentary assemblies and continuous threat of unconstitutional takeovers led by military groups.  


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