President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Technical Assistance to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Liberia Country Program and discussed a road-map for the Program ahead of the Country Self-Assessment and County Review Reports.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader signed the document and held discussions with the APRM Country Support Mission when they paid her a courtesy call at her Foreign Ministry office on Wednesday, February 24, 2016.
The APRM Country Support Mission is conducting a five-day visit to Liberia as guests of the Liberian Government. They are visiting Liberia, a post-conflict country, to gauge the country’s preparedness for its self-assessment and country review reports as well as offer technical assistance.
Members of the Country Support Mission delegation include: APR Lead Panel Member in charge of Liberia, Madam Brigitte S. Mabandla; Coordinator, APR Continental Secretariat in charge of Liberia, Mr. Ferdinand Katendeko; Representative, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Ms. Hodane Youssouf; and Representative of the African Development Bank, Ms. Patricia Larveley.
During the meeting, President Surleaf said even though no country would want their technicians to check on their leaders, she was proud of the exercise. “We hope Liberia will be a part of benefitting from these processes,” she said.
The Liberian leader commended the head of delegation, Madam Brigitte S. Mabandla, for assuming her new assignment here and urged her to feel free, while in Liberia.
She said the APRM involvement with Liberia was important, as according to her, Liberia’s own democratic maturity would be tested during the upcoming 2017 presidential and legislative elections.
President Sirleaf stressed that Liberia has been impressed with the performance of the APRM; recalling its involvement with so many positive things related to the development initiatives during Liberia’s post-conflict and post-Ebola eras. She highlighted strengthening the nation’s youthful democracy and its governance processes which have been some of APRM’s focus.
The Liberian Chief Executive furthered that to ensure good governance, the APRM was the only institution that was in the business of allowing its technicians to evaluate the performance of others; like the case of Liberia, judging its leaders’ performances.
Regarding the 2017 elections, with the APRM in the same boat, she was confident that Liberia’s own political and democratic maturity would be tested. “Your members are here, and we all are working together; they will be part of our strategy, to ensure good governance,” President Sirleaf indicated.
Speaking earlier, Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara M. Konneh, said the APRM was of significant benefit to the people of Liberia, based on its involvement with the democratization processes of Liberia. He made specific reference to members of some Liberian civil society organizations, including the traditional chiefs, elders and zoes of Liberia.
He noted that he was delighted that during the leadership of President Sirleaf, Liberia acceded to the APRM in January, 2011.
Minister Konneh commended the Liberian President for constituting the nine-member Governing Council, and said he was happy that the APRM delegation was in Liberia to help with suggestions that could be a path way of strengthening good governance in the country.
For her part, Madam Mabandla, Lead Panel member of the APRM, thanked President Sirleaf for her leadership in successfully combating the deadly Ebola virus disease. She said the team was in the country to inform Liberians about the mandate of the APRM.
She said she was of the view that the APRM in collaboration with Liberians was in the right direction and the visit was meant to inform the people of Liberia about the intention of the organization. She said their presence in the country was also an opportunity for them to share their experience with authorities of the Ministry of Finance.
Over 35 countries have voluntarily acceded to the APRM framework but only 17 countries have been reviewed. Liberia will be the 18th country to be reviewed by 2017.
The Liberian Government has set up a National Secretariat and put together a National Governing Council which is representative of all sectors in the country to drive the APRM process. Mr. Emmanuel David serves as Chairman of the National Governing Council; while Mr. Malcolm Joseph serves as Vice Chairman.
Liberia formally joined the APRM by depositing the signed MOU of March 2003 at the NEPAD Secretariat. Liberia acceded to the 14th Forum of Heads of States and Governments of the APRM in January 2011 and has made meaning contributions in terms of representation and participation. In May 2013, Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was appointed the chairperson of the APRM Forum at the 19th Summit of Heads of State and Governments participating in the APRM in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which was established in 2003, is an African Union initiative for promoting good governance within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The objectives of the APRM are primarily 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 through experience sharing and reinforcement of successful and best practices, including identifying deficiencies and assessment of requirements for capacity building. The foundation of the APRM is built around four thematic pillars: Democracy and Political Governance, Economic Governance and Management, Corporate Governance and Socio-economic Development. The APRM is a commonly approved framework voluntarily consented to by member states. Since its establishment in 2003, 37 countries more than half of Africa’s countries with three-quarter of its population have acceded to the APRM framework.