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Development Account Projects

Strengthening the capacity of the African Peer Review Mechanism countries in conducting effective self-assessment and implementing national plans of action

Background:

In recognizing that socioeconomic development cannot be achieved in the absence of good governance, the African leaders established the African Peer Review Mechanism in 2003 within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The Mechanism, also referred to as “Africa Innovative Thinking on Governance”, is a mutually agreed self-monitoring instrument voluntarily acceded to by the States members of the African Union.

The African Peer Review Mechanism is a comprehensive assessment of all the aspects of a country’s governance system in the areas of democracy and political governance, socioeconomic development, economic governance and corporate governance. It is organized on a dual process of governance self-assessment of participant countries, with effective participation of all national stakeholders in designing, implementing and monitoring, and of external evaluation by the African Peer Review Panel, culminating in a peer review by the leaders of those countries.

The African Peer Review Mechanism has created an unprecedented wave of optimism and reforms in participant countries. Currently, 31 African countries, which represent 75 per cent of the African population, have acceded to the Mechanism, 15 countries have undergone the first peer review and 1 country has undertaken the second review.

Since its inception, ECA has provided technical assessments in political governance and economic management to the participating countries during the external reviews. ECA has also been focusing on capacity-development of national stakeholders through peer learning to enhance their participation in evaluating their governance in an inclusive manner and to strengthen the ability of participating countries to launch and conduct the Mechanism in a timely manner.

Successful governance assessments have resulted in the country review reports and national programmes of action. Both documents address the challenges and deficiencies, which are fundamental to democratic and socioeconomic development, during the self-assessment. All stakeholders in the African Peer Review process must be technically competent, credible and free from political manipulation.

The African Peer Review Mechanism has faced severe challenges since its establishment. Some of these challenges are (a) the low rate of countries joining and launching the process of review, (b) the challenge of harmonizing the national programmes of action of the reviewed countries with existing development plans, (c) the lack of systematic data collection, monitoring and reporting on the progress of implementation of the national programme of action and (d) challenges with regard to national ownership and the internalization of the Mechanism in the national planning systems. Such challenges, if not corrected, could weaken the credibility and sustainability of the Mechanism in the future.

This proposed project will provide technical assistance, through research, training and advisory services, in order to accelerate the accession of all African countries to the review process in an efficient manner and to enhance African Peer Review Mechanism-national programme of action integration into the national policy and planning systems of the participant countries.

The project will focus on selected African countries which have specifically requested ECA technical assistance. Every activity will be tailor-made to the specific needs of beneficiary countries (depending on their stage of the review) and, primarily, main national stakeholders (public institutions, parliamentarians, civil society and the private sector).

Objective:

To enhance the capacity of selected African Peer Review Mechanism countries to conduct effective self-assessment exercises and to integrate the resulting national plans of action into existing national development strategies

 

Expected accomplishments:

  • Increased knowledge and skills of national structures and institutions (National Governing Councils, training and research institutions, civil society organizations, national focal points, civil servants, parliamentarians) to conduct sound self-assessment
  • Enhanced capacity of national planning and finance departments to incorporate the national programmes of action into existing national development plans and strategies (poverty reduction strategy programmes, medium-term expenditure frameworks and national budgets)
  • Strengthening capacity of National Governing Councils to monitor and report the implementation of national programmes of action to the African Peer Review Mechanism secretariat

Implementation status:

In progress.