ECOWAS to pressurise member states
to sign up to APRM
Accra, Aug. 13, GNA - Ghana on Thursday tasked the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to apply peer pressure to encourage all member states of the sub-regional body to sign-up to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process.
President John Evans Atta Mills, who made the call in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Chris Kpodo, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, at the Regional ECOWAS meeting on the APRM in Accra, said participation in the APRM process by all 16 ECOWAS member states would lead to the positive transformation and entrenchment of good governance in West Africa which is noted for its volatile political nature.
"Signing up and implementing the APRM is an indication of a state's commitment to the broad ideals of good and accountable governance, democracy, participative public policy-making, peace and security," President Mills stated.
The APRM is a mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by Member States of the African Union as an African self-monitoring mechanism by participating member governments.
It seeks to ensure that the policies and practices of participating states conform to the agreed political, economic and corporate governance values, codes and standards contained in the Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance. Out of the 16-member sub-regional body only Ghana, Benin, Nigeria and Burkina Faso have been peer-reviewed and have started the implementation process whiles Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Gabon are at various stages of the process.
Continentally, only Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia have acceded to the process. President Mills also tasked participants at the Regional ECOWAS meeting, who are mainly National APRM (NAPRC) Governing Council Members, to design a framework for more proactive and effective involvement of member states in the APRM, through the development of collaborative effort between the National APRM Offices and the ECOWAS structure. He also challenged NAPRM to develop a mechanism for the Regional Economic Communities (REC) in Africa to play a strategic role in the APRM process, to strengthen the APRM secretariat within the African Union.
Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, President of the ECOWAS Commission, said the Accra meeting was to consolidate the sub-regional body's quiet diplomacy in mobilizing Member States to adopt, domesticate and implement codes of good governance made at the regional, continental and global levels.
He said ECOWAS will continue to peer-pressure about six countries which are yet to accede to the Mechanism to do so immediately. "ECOWAS will also ensure that those who have acceded submit themselves to peer review. It will also seek to encourage those who have been peer-reviewed to implement their National Programme of Action." Dr Chambas whose presentation, "APRM Process as a Tool for Enhancing Accountability and Good Governance in ECOWAS Member States", was read on his behalf, highlighted complementarities between the ECOWAS democracy and good governance objectives and those of the APRM. He therefore described the APRM process as a milestone to proactively confront the ills of bad governance in the sub-region, stressing "it will ensure the observance of the codes of good, transparent and accountable governance.and commit states to work to safeguard and consolidate relations conducive to the maintenance of peace, stability and security within the region".
Dr Chambas also identified some operational weaknesses in the sub-region, which include the lack of good corporate governance, lack of transparency in resources exploitation, political and financial corruption in national life, weak private sector and the lack of social safety nets for the poor and weak.
"These problems are in turn threatening political stability and democratic governance and if not addressed, may reverse our achievements in entrenching peace and stability in many parts of the sub-region," he said.
He said ECOWAS' economic integration agenda can only be achieved if states were able to provide an environment of social trust, transparency and integrity in public and private lives, if citizens are allowed to participate actively in public policy-making processes and public resources are equitably distributed.
The four-day meeting is being chaired by Professor S. K. Adjepong, Chairperson of the National Governing Council of Ghana. The primary 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.
Every review exercise carried out under the authority of the Mechanism must be technically competent, credible and free of political manipulation. These stipulations together constitute the core guiding principles of the APRM. 13 Aug. 09