More African governments have been urged to accede to the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) to improve governance and promote transparency and accountability. This has emerged at the plenary session of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) currently underway in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.

African Union (UN) Member States established the APRM in 2003 as a voluntary tool to assess political, economic and corporate governance.

The primary purpose of the APRM is to foster the adoption of policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, and accelerated intra-Africa economic integration.

Since its launch in 2003, about 36 countries have acceded to the APRM and 17 of these have put themselves forward for peer review. The findings have presented some common challenges across countries. These include corruption, unemployment, poor infrastructure, and gender discrimination.

Once signed up, countries first grade themselves and then allow a panel of independent experts to assess the findings, followed by a government response.

During the debate on the successes and challenges of the APRM, most African parliamentarians endorsed the peer review and had however called on members countries that have not signed up for the voluntary mechanism to do so without further delay.

African MPs have also called on development partners to increase funding for the APRM technical and bureaucratic operations.

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– By Tshepo Ikaneng