The much-awaited African Peer Review Mechanism (APR) is set to begin in October this year. This was announced in Pretoria today by Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu, the head of Nepad's secretariat, who is also advisor to President Thabo Mbeki. Nkuhlu said Ghana is going to be the first country to reviewed. The announcement was made a week before the continent's heads of state meet in Mozambique for the African Union Summit.
The African Peer Review Mechanism is a self-monitoring instrument by African states and a key element in the New partnership for Africa's development plan (Nepad). It aims to encourage countries to open themselves up for scrutiny, so that it can be checked whether their policies and practices conform to agreed political, economical and corporate governance values.
So far only 15 of the 53 countries that make up the African Union, have signed up for Peer Review - however, Nkuhlu says the African leaders behind the idea are neither discouraged nor alarmed by the fact that the number of countries that have signed up is still so low.
Nkuhlu says while peer review will no be voluntary forever, there are some good reasons many countries do not want to be reviewed at this stage. Graca Machel and Chris Stals, former South African Reserve Bank Governor, are among the six-member panel that will undertake the reviews.