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security crisis in the Great Lake Region has not yet been fully resolved. This growing instability and violence has been festering and resulting in many other countries too being engulfed by it. All these factors acted as the fertile ground for galvanising new efforts and actions to promote peace and stability and sustainable development. New ideas were explored and experimented with, and the absence of external powers and their disinclination helped sprout new thinking and fresh ideas. The emergence of Asian economic powers too had an impact. On the one hand, it was a psychological boost that former colonial countries too could create niche areas of opportunities and prosper, while on the other hand it gave Africans an alternative to balance the European monopoly.
dance. All that was needed was to mobilise these resources and to use them effectively. But more essentially, it also declared that Africans will determine their own destiny and called on the rest of the world to complement their efforts. A vicious cycle of economic decline, reduced capacity and poor governance reinforced each other and confined Africa to the periphery and made it a marginal continent. Peace, security, democracy, good governance, human rights and sound economic management are essential conditions for sustainable development. Thus to promote these principles various actions are envisaged; one amongst them is the creation of African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa originally developed the APRM19 in response to a request by the NEPAD. The APRM’s mandate is to ensure that the policies and practices of participating states conform to the politNew Initiatives in Africa ical, economic and corporate governance codes and standards Amongst the new ideas that have their genesis in this peri- contained in the Declaration on Democracy, Political, od of crisis is the formation of the African Union as the suc- Economic and Corporate Governance that was approved by the African Union in July 2002. cessor institution to Organisation of A vicious cycle of economic The APRM is a voluntary and African Unity (OAU). Unlike the mutually agreed instrument for selfOAU, the African Union undertook decline and poor governance monitoring by member-states of the upon itself a far larger and broader confined Africa to the periphery African Union. The APRM has four mandate. It envisages that it is essenand made it a marginal distinct components and five stages. tial for sustainable peace and develThe first component is the opment to embark on far more continent. Peace, security, Committee of Participating Heads of proactive actions. democracy, human rights and State and Government or the APR The Heads of State and sound economic management Heads of State Forum. The next Government of the African Union component is the Panel of Eminent have stated that the “continued are essential conditions for Persons (APR Panel). This is an prevalence of armed conflicts in sustainable development. Thus independent body that would overAfrica and the fact that no single to promote these principles see the day-to-day functioning of the internal factor has contributed more to socio-economic decline of the various actions are envisaged; peer review process. The other components are the APR Secretariat and Continent and the suffering of the one amongst them is the APR Teams. Currently, about half of civilian population than the scourge creation of African Peer Review the continent’s countries are particiof conflicts within and between pating members. states.”18 Mechanism (APRM). This was followed by the enactAlong with this, there are many ment of Protocol Relating to the other experiments with different Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African forms of democratic governance taking place within the conUnion in July 2002. African Union is envisaged to play a cen- tinent. Proponents of African-style democracy argue that the tral role in bringing peace, security and stability on the conti- core democratic principles are accepted by most such experinent and to establish an operational structure for the effective mentation. Popular participation, consent and accountability implementation of conflict prevention, peace-making, peace are not alien to African historical experience. Furthermore, support operations and intervention, and peace-building and they “point to an ongoing system of broad-based, inclusive and post-conflict reconstruction. nonpartisan frameworks that occur without competing politWhile these efforts are underway, the continent is also try- ical parties. That is, competing candidates seek votes as indiing to engage the rest of the world to become a partner in its viduals, not as party-label candidates”.20 However, Ake’s comments are insightful. He says: efforts to attain sustainable peace and development. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which was “Democratisation in Africa can only occur if the economic announced at Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2001, was the cul- dependency of African economies is taken seriously by African mination of a long process towards this end. It is a vision state- and world leaders. In effect, the main characteristics of the ment by the African leaders that they want to extricate them- colonial state in Africa, absolutism and arbitrariness, have carselves from the malaise of underdevelopment and exclusion. ried over into the postcolonial state and encouraged a develThey considered that an historic opportunity was there to opment paradigm based on modernisation theory. But there end the scourge and that resources were available in abun- are at least two major limitations to modernisation theory: It