Accra, May 27, GNA - Ghana, on Thursday, signed an agreement with the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Support Mission to submit itself to a good governance test, by pushing forward Africa's new resolve to use good governance to rapidly create prosperity for its people.
Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Minister of Regional Cooperation and New partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) signed the Memorandum on behalf of the State, while Dr Chris Stals, Leader of the Support Mission signed for APR.
In an address to commemorate the event, Vice President Aliu Mahama stressed that Ghana had taken a historic initiative to renew the vision of Pan-Africanism to address the development problems of the Continent, whose plight had been worsened through years by poor leadership.
"There cannot be a better time than now to wake up to the development challenges confronting Africa...," he said.
"As a result of moribund leadership and bad governance, at the dawn of the new millennium, Africa finds itself as the least developed continent in the world", he said.
He explained: "Over 50 per cent of its population lives on less than a dollar a day. Africa has a very high illiterate population and access to health services has become a luxury and a number of diseases are endemic."
The Vice President noted that Africa contributed less than two per cent to the global world trade and received only 1.7 per cent of Foreign Direct Investments, saying wars and conflicts had taken the toll on the Continent's meagre fortunes.
It was to reverse this devastating trend, Vice President Mahama said, that new leaders like Ghana's President John Agyekum Kufuor had embraced the APRM under the auspices of NEPAD, which was the development framework for Africa's renaissance.
"The APRM seeks to retrace our steps to the vision of the founding fathers that true leadership should be service to the people," he said. "This is what motivated us to be the first country to volunteer to accede to the APRM", he said.
Vice President Mahama said the APRM would provide Ghana the mechanism to assess the capacity, efficiency and democratic responsiveness of its institutions and also give the yardstick with which it would collectively measure and improve the efficiency of governance at all levels.
He said submission to the assessment mechanism would not be made an electoral issue to score political points and that the process would go beyond the electoral process.
The Vice President said the independence of the National African Peer Review Mechanism Governing Council (NAPRMGC) and other institutions set up to do the job would be respected to ensure their integrity. Under the APRM an assessment would be conducted on Ghana's democratic and political governance; economic governance and management; corporate governance; and socio economic development.
The test would measure their ability to conform with the African Union's (AU) agreed political, economic and corporate governance values as well as codes and standards contained in the Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance.
The Centre for Policy Analysis (CPA), Center for Democracy and Development (CDD), Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) and the Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF) would assist in the assessment. First National Stakeholders Forum on APRM Accra, May 27, GNA - Ghana on Thursday became the first member State of the African Union (AU) to take the initiative to organise a National Stakeholders Forum on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) as a panacea to the development challenges of the Continent.
The APRM, which is a component of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) initiated by the Pan-African Body, is aimed at fostering 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.
Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Minister of Regional Cooperation and NEPAD, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on behalf of the State to set the pace for the initiative in Accra, described the ceremony as historic.
Dr Chris Stals, Leader of the South African based APR Support Mission also initialled the MOU, which would commit Ghana to an independent test in good governance under the four broad areas of democratic and political governance; economic governance and management; corporate governance and socio economic development.
Dr Apraku said: "We are charting a new course for Africa, indeed we are making history to eradicate poverty and under-development in Africa".
He said Ghana's leading role in putting in place National Governing Council of the APRM became the blue print at a recent meeting of the AU in Mozambique.
"Ghana had shown the way to the rest of Africa in setting up a National APRM Governing Council" Dr Apraku told the packed auditorium of the Accra International Conference Centre that attracted Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Members of the Council of State, Ministers, Members of Parliament, The Diplomatic Corps, Chiefs, representatives of the security agencies and students.
Professor Samuel Agyapong, Chairman of the Governing Council, said the APRM was crucial not only for Ghana but the Continent as well. "Indeed in all spheres of the globe, various opinions and views have been offered on this African-owned, and African-led, initiative for positive change and development on our Continent."
Prof. Agyapong said the forum would continue at Akosombo where broad-based stakeholder participation would be enlisted on the four thematic areas of the APRM.
Dr Stals, who gave an overview of the objectives of the APRM, lauded Ghana for launching the initiative, stressing: "We are now moving from the boardroom to the real world."
He said APRM was a critical instrument for advancing reforms since it was a self-monitoring system initiated by implementing countries. Mr Alfred Salia Fawundu, UNDP Resident Co-ordinator in Ghana, commended the Government for isolating the National Governing Council from Executive influence.
He tasked the Council to facilitate efforts to increase the national Gross Domestic Product from the current five per cent growth rate in conformity with the objectives of NEPAD. 27 May 04