Magazine article The Crisis

Africa's Positive Peer Pressure

Magazine article The Crisis

Africa's Positive Peer Pressure

Article excerpt

The United Nations (UN) Development Programme recently convened a panel of African and African American leaders in Washington, D.C., to discuss ways to improve development on the continent. The panel introduced the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). The initiative was created by the New Partnership for Africa's Development - a division of the African Union - as a tool to assess the needs of African countries and assist them in developing improvement plans.

"Before, in Africa, it was taboo to talk of governance issues in public," says Abdoulie Janneh, assistant secretary-general for the UN and director of the Development Programme's Regional Bureau for Africa.

The initiative consists of five stages:

* A country establishes a coordinating commission to conduct a self-assessment. The commission meets with key stakeholders from various sectors of society to identify the country's major challenges and draft a national action plan.

* A peer review panel visits the country and interviews representatives from business, media and academia, among others.

* The review team prepares a report based on the visit to the country and consultations with the country's key stakeholders and representatives. The review team then discusses the report and the challenges identified in the document with the country's government.

* A final report is adopted by the heads of state and governments of the participating countries, which are encouraged to provide assistance to the review country in its areas of need. …

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