EISA Participation in Policy Dialogue: CPS Seminar Series

EISA Senior Programme Officer Grant Masterson participated in seminar organised by the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) in Johannesburg, South Africa on 2 March 2009. The discussion was around the achievements of the APRM since its inception in 2002. Those present included civil society think tanks and representatives of the South African Department of Foreign Affairs.

A paper presented by Steven Gruzd of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), and inputs from Mr Masterson, were followed by an interrogation of the APRM process.

Gruzd argued that the APRM has achieved significant milestones in spite of the incoherent manner in which some of the early NEPAD and APRM structures and relationships were developed and managed. Attempting to locate the APRM within the historical governance discourse on Africa, he argued that the APRM is unique in its emphasis on governance since the turn of the century and that there are signs that the teething problems experienced during the early years of the APRM’s existence are beginning to show signs of maturity and resolution.

Grant Masterson, in commenting on the draft paper, noted

  • the importance of understanding the APRM as a political and not simply technical process
  • the importance of recognising the limitations of the APRM and not burdening the APRM with unrealistic expectations
  • the need for civil society to assess the real and perceived impacts of the APRM in modifying governance practices on the continent and
  • the relevance of the APRM in addressing the existing governance challenges facing Africa today.

The meeting was concluded with a request from those present for CPS, SAIIA and EISA to coordinate a more proactive and effective response from civil society in engaging in the APRM process.