State coughs N$20 million for African Peer Review Membership

Namibia’s membership to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) comes at a cost to the state estimated at N$20 million ($230 000) in fees annually, a workshop attended by parliamentarians yesterday revealed. 

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) was established in 2003 by the New Partnership for Africa (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee (HSGIC) as an instrument for monitoring performance in governance among Member States and its membership is voluntary.

President Hage Geingob last year signed the accession memorandum of understanding when the country joined, thus becoming the 36th African Union member state to do so.  

“With many of our governments having adopted a number of policies and ratified countless instruments, it is only through the implementation of the APRM that we will achieve tangible far-reaching results,” the president is quoted as saying at an APRM forum for heads of state and government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last year.  

Speaking to The Villager at the sidelines of the parliamentary workshop in whose attendance was the Institute for Public Policy Research, the Pan-African Parliament representative, Steven Gruzd of South African Institute of International Affairs said the benefits of membership override the costs.

“It requires a lot of collaboration between the executive and parliament, civic society and different organisations but it highlights the strengths but also where the challenges are because every society has its problems," he said.

Parliamentarians also wanted to know the benefits of the reviews in tandem to the huge amounts of money the country is required to pay.

“Namibia has a number of long term plans, the National Development Plan, Harambee Prosperity Plan that speaks very well with the APRM. I think it’s also a vehicle for important reforms. It provides a platform for dialogue and important diagnosis of where the issues are and what needs to be done,” said Gruzd.

He said some of the questions provided to sovereigns by ARPM asks to examine how parliament works, its degree of independence, how well resourced is it, does it have researched, how it holds the executive to account and what the dynamics between the different parties are. 

According to the African Union, each review leads to a national programme of action for the state concerned to address problems identified while a monitoring body prepares an annual report on progress in implementing the programme of action for the APRM Forum of Heads of State and Government, which is then made available to the public. 

Nevertheless, other member states that have failed to fully commit to their membership fees have had to seek the assistance of developmental partners, he said. 

Those that are not up to date with the membership fees get to not be reviewed.