Repositioning African Peer Review Mechanism -

Repositioning African Peer Review Mechanism

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Business Management Question

Write a case study of Repositioning African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) To Become a Premier Knowledge Hub in Governance in Africa

Business Management Solution

1. Introduction

Over the last 12 years, the APRM has become a recognised brand in the domain of governance in Africa. It has created a positive reputation as an indigenous governance-monitoring tool and has accumulated valuable experience and “know-how” in the area of monitoring (NDANGIZA, 2013). It has evolved as a knowledge-intensive continental mechanism whose primary activity is to conduct periodic reviews of member countries regarding their governance policies and practices. The reviews are to determine the progress of mutually agreed goals. Also, the reviews monitor the compliance towards four thematic areas of governance – “democracy and political governance, economic governance and management, corporate governance and socio-economic governance” (Kouassi & Jerome, 2006).

The APRM operates in a niche market as there appears to be no direct analogue or competitor in its scope. According to stakeholders, the success of the APRM lies with its participatory approach and rights-based approach to the reviews, broader conceptualisation of governance, providing a platform for peer learning and the knowledge gained from reviews.  The knowledge agenda is based on its intellectual capital, i.e. the people and networks that leverage their knowledge, expertise and experience to carry out assigned tasks (Choy & Suk, 2005).

The major problem areas identified to have strategic impact on the operations of the APRM (Rashed, 2013) in the near future are,

  1. The absence of strategic directional guideline
  2. The lack of staff, financial resources and infrastructure capability to meet the audience requirements
  3. Current format of reports are wide-ranging, complex and lack customisation to meet the needs of a diverse client base.
  4. General perception about the lack of public awareness about the APRM and its mandate

The APRM is currently deliberating on the following questions.

  1. How to utilise the APRM to serve the broader transformative development trajectory on the continent using the extensive knowledge capital accumulated over the past 12 years? 
  2. How to promote the APRM as a knowledge hub and an authority on governance in Africa?
  3. How to increase the public awareness of the APRM to garner support for its strategic ambitions?

There is a need to strengthen its knowledge sharing activities as audiences represent a broad and varied spectrum of actors. The APRM is in the dire need to customize its knowledge products and services based on its audiences’ requirement. Due to resource challenges there is a lack of structured communications except for sporadic media releases. The APRM requires organisation-wide change management to reach its vision for the successful venture and articulate its overall objectives and outcomes.

Knowledge management practise is complete with adherence to activities such as knowledge creation, development of knowledge products, information dissemination through the APRM website and social media platforms (Gaál et al., 2015).  A wide range of communications channels and tools are to be used such as face-to-face, print, email, website, social media platforms and broadcasting media. Both tacit and explicit knowledge forms a fundamental resource for the APRM’s functioning. The institutionalisation and systematisation of knowledge management practices in the APRM is considered to be critical for its operational efficiency and effectiveness of project outcomes.

2. Organisation Background

Founded in 2003, the APRM is considered as an Africa-owned and Africa-led self-monitoring tool on the African continent. Though created by the African Union (AU), it is an autonomous entity that AU member states voluntarily accede to (Bing-Pappoe, 2010). 

The APRM seeks to promote and acts as a stimulant of governance practices that attribute to democratic rule, constitutionalism and good governance; the prerequisites for government stability, economic and sustainable development and regional integration. 

Out of the 54 member states of the African Union, 35 countries are part of the APRM. Among 35, 17 countries have been peer reviewed. These countries have developed a National Programmes of Action (NPoA), and are currently at various levels of implementation (SAnews, 2016). The aim of the APRM is to construct a transformative leadership, productive dialogue through a broad national-level self-assessment process and encourage governance practices.

The success of the APRM’s overarching strategy is embedded in five inter-related elements (Herbert & Gruzd, 2008):

  • Participatory methodology is considered distinctive in terms of its process, scope and extent of the review across different levels of government, legislative bodies, judicial system as well as civil societies and the private sector. It is inclusive, based on broader stakeholder engagement and has strengthened citizen participation and ownership of policies.
  • Broader conceptualisation of governance which integrates four pillars of governance used as key areas for analysis with the aim of harnessing interlinks to maximise results – democracy, political tolerance; economic well-being and administration; corporate governance and socioeconomic development.
  • A platform for African peer learning and sharing of experiences and best practices which is demonstrated in its diagnostic strength and early warning capacity for emerging issues and potential crisis. 
  • Results-based approach to reviews where concrete recommendations are developed through the NPoA, to be taken up in country policies.
  • Knowledge produced through data gathering and through reviewing, tracking and monitoring and knowledge sharing.

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