Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
The first African Water Week opened on 26 March 2008 in Tunis with a call by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka, for more efforts to be made to ensure that water security is a reality on the continent at both the national and regional levels.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, he reminded more than 400 participants at the conference that only 4% of Africa’s annual renewable water resources had been developed for irrigation, water supply and hydropower use, compared to 70 to 90% in developed countries.
About 340 million Africans lack access to safe drinking water and almost 500 million lack access to acceptable sanitation facilities.
Although Africa contributes little to climate change, experts hold that the continent will be hit the hardest by climate change, especially in terms of increased water stress, Mr. Kaberuka said, adding that adaptation to climate change constituted a development priority. In recognition of this, the AfDB is developing a climate risk management and adaptation strategy to guide its efforts on the continent.
The AfDB has made water a core priority and established the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative, which aims to address the problem of low access to water supply and sanitation in rural areas, where the majority of the population lives.
Its overall objective is to accelerate access to water supply and sanitation services in rural Africa with a view to attaining 80% coverage by 2015, up from 47% for water and 44% for sanitation in 2000 since 2003.
Seventeen programmes worth US$1.8 billion have been approved since 2003. These programmes are expected to extend water supply and sanitation services to some 30- million rural people by 2010.
“Clearly, it is no longer acceptable that the African continent continues to utilise only 4% of its water resources, when a huge proportion of the people do not have access to safe water, and when large populations are faced with frequent floods and drought, in addition to food and energy shortages. Action is urgently needed,” Mr. Kaberuka added.
* The main objective of African Water Week is to create a forum for African water sector professionals, stakeholders and partners to discuss opportunities and challenges of achieving water security for the continent’s socio-economic development ; as well as formulate policies, strategies and actions to accelerate water-resources development and the provision of services taking into consideration the challenges and impacts of climate change and variability. Source : NEPAD, march 28, 2008
Professor Adebayo Adedeji is the Chairperson of the African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons and the leader of Uganda’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process. Professor Adedeji, who had a distinguished career in the United Nations, was in Uganda from 5-20 February 2008 to supervise Uganda’s Country Review Mission in preparation for Uganda’s peer review set for June this year at the African Union Summit in Egypt. The former Nigeria Minister for Economic Development and Reconstruction (1971-1975), talked to Alfred Wasike, a senior journalist with The New Vision about the unique peer review process that has so far covered six nations.
If families are autocratic, what are your chances of getting a democratic society ? Democracy is not a one-shot-in-the-arm affair. It is a culture. If a society does not have a democratic culture internalised, its political democracy will not be sustainable. To have a democratic culture internalised, it inevitably must start from home. If a family is not democratic, if there is a lot of autocracy running in the family, if the children have to be seen and not heard, if wives are not allowed to express their view points, then such a society is not likely to be sustainably democratic.
What is the Country Review Mission all about ? The African Peer Review Mechanism has five stages. The first stage is for the country concerned to indicate its interest in joining the APRM process. This is then followed by the signing a memorandum of understanding. The second stage is for that country to put up their own institutional structures, like the governing council or commission which is called the National APRM Commission, a secretariat, a focal point, somebody very close to the President and the Government so that things can be done very quickly. Then they appoint technical research institutions in each of the four thematic areas of democracy and political governance, economic governance and management, corporate governance and social economic development.
There is a questionnaire which we have prepared continentally but every country is free to domesticate it and distribute it to the people to complete through random sampling etc. On the basis of that questionare, self assessment of the country will be embarked upon. That is stage three. After a rough draft, you go ahead with the in-depth self assessment of the country. You put this together and make sure that it is validated by the people, the stakeholders. Then you move to stage four which is CRM…
What is the CRM ? The Country Review Mission. While you are doing this at the country level, the APRM Panel…
Your panel ? Yes, our panel are informing and educating ourselves about the country. We are preparing desk research. After that we wait for your self-assessment. Once that is set, we go through it and prepare an issues paper identifying the issues that have been raised and discussed exhaustively with appropriate recommendations ; the issues which were raised but have not been satisfactorily analysed ; and issues that have not been raised but that we judge are very important, based on our own independent work. With the self-assessment report in our left hand, and the issues paper in our right hand, we then put together a Country Review Mission that will come to a country for three to four weeks, depending if it’s a large country like Nigeria for four weeks, or Uganda for three weeks…
You have been here for three weeks ? We are now in our third week. We have discussions with stakeholders, public service, private sector, students, corporate sector, civil society. We have visited different parts of the country and had interactions with ordinary people. On the basis of the information that we gathered, we now prepare a country report. We, as a panel, incorporate the Ugandan self-assessment and what we have collected ourselves. Then the fifth stage, we submit the report to the Heads of State Forum for review. It depends on where the July
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda (right) hands over the country’s self-assessment report to Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, Chairperson of the African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons.
AU summit takes place. It rotates but every year in January it takes place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We are going to Egypt for the July summit. Because we want the maximum number of Heads of State, the 28 who are members, to attend, we hold the Forum a day before the African Union summit. That is why we follow the venue of AU summits. When they met in Khartoum and Accra, we were there.
The Country Self-Assessment Report is not complete unless with it has a draft national programme of action. Every recommendation requires an action. So we then put all this together. At the end of the review we must monitor the implementation of the national programme of action. It is not just about submitting the report and forgetting about it. Every six months a country must submit a progress report to the panel. Every year, the panel must submit a report to the Heads of States on the progress of the participating country.
What is the significance of this APRM process ? Behind development, progress, security, there is good governance. The citizens of any country demand and deserve good governance, not only politically, but even in terms of economics, management and a sustainable strategy for development. Each country could do this on its own but it is not the same as doing it on a basis that you can have peer advice and peer consultations.
When we submit the Ugandan report in June 2008, the other Heads of State will be in attendance. They will comment on it, they will identify themselves with Uganda, and share their experience with Uganda. That really leads to intensified intra-African cooperation.
Hitherto, whenever we wanted technical cooperation, we would look to the countries in the West and the USA. The situation in those countries, their cultures are totally different from ours. We don’t find out whether any other country in Africa has had similar experience and whether they have any facilities to share these experiences. Through this we can get into intra-African cooperation.
What is more, in the report, we identify the best practices. Take Uganda for example : the decentralisation is unique. Many countries tend to be over-centralised. So this we point out as best practice for others to learn from. Other leaders will engage Uganda’s President Museveni on how it is done and subsequently they would send someone to come and study this success story and see its relevancy and advantages to their respective countries.
So that would be the objective of the Country Review Mission ? Yes it will come from the CRM.
Which countries have undergone the peer review ? What have the experiences of these countries been ? What lessons can be drawn for Uganda ? The peer review is the first stage. The countries that have gone through it include Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, Algeria and Benin. Uganda, Nigeria and Burkina Faso are slated for June/July 2008. A number of other countries including Mozambique, Mauritius, Mali, and Lesotho are in the pipeline. I hope at least two or three of them will be ready for January next year.
What have been the experiences of the countries that have been reviewed ? We are in a learning process. There is no text book. We have had to develop these ourselves. Over the years we have kept on improving but the basic structure is there. What we have insisted on, is that whatever comes out must be of the highest quality. Secondly, integrity of the process must be protected and safeguarded. Thirdly, the national programme of action must address the challenges identified and finally that programme of action must be implemented over the period of years.
Are those the lessons that can be drawn for Uganda ? The lesson for Uganda is that, so far, self assessment has been done with a lot of integrity. There has been no attempt to influence the outcomes. People in Uganda have been very frank in some of the admissions on progress, challenges, recommendations and so on. When we finish our report, we will have to submit the draft to Uganda. They cannot ask us to change any word, not even punctuation…
Even grammar ? Not at all. But they have every right to comment, particularly on matters of fact, or disagree with us on matters of policy or analysis. When they do that we cannot reject it. We are obliged to publish it as part of our report so that readers will see where we agree, disagree and so on. So that protects the process. Nobody is deprived of saying what needs to be said. No Head of State has ever tried to influence us.
No phone calls urging you to play down national problems like disease, unemployment, crime etc ? Not at all. We have been asked that before. Of course it does not stop them from disagreeing. For example, I am going to present the Uganda report, immediately after which President Museveni will take the microphone and give his opinion on where he agrees or disagrees.
Tell us the benefits of the APRM process for Uganda ? First of all, it is unique. It has never been done before to externally assess a country as the country assesses itself at the same time. In our exercise, the Government of Uganda is one of the stakeholders. Others are civil society organisations, corporate people, the private sector, academia, universities, media etc. All these stakeholders are obliged to work together to carry out a self-assessment and in so doing they collectively determine the course their country should take. That you don’t get when you write a development plan.
It is a conditio sine qua non for us. It is an essential condition for us that the APRM national governing council or commission like in the case of Uganda, must be composed in recognition of the diversity of a cross-section of the stakeholders. This exercise must be done in a democratic and transparent manner. For example the Chairperson of Uganda’s Commission is from the university, and not a civil servant. Majority of the commission are not in the public domain.
What progress has Uganda and other African countries achieved ? What are the key challenges ? We wish that we could have peer reviewed at least 20 countries. But we are still at six ; hopefully we can get three more. The process is slow because of its consultative nature coupled with the national awareness, participation and ownership of the process by all stakeholders. Then at times the participating countries, due to certain circumstances, slow down the process.
Let me give you an example. I was here for the first time, three years ago. President Museveni was one of the first 10 leaders to commit their countries to be peer reviewed in 2003. But the question of national elections came in ; the amendment of the Constitution for the referendum came. When a country is facing elections we don’t go there because we don’t want our work to be politicised. Then we had the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM). That meant losing 18 months at least.
We have held a couple of workshops on how we can accelerate and fast-track the process. We are going to put a memorandum to the Forum of Heads of State and seek their approval on fast-tracking the APRM process. But every time we appeal to the countries the response has not been very positive, Mauritius signed in 2003 but up to now we have not made any progress. The Government in Mauritius has changed twice in five years. We would like to accelerate the process so that we could cover all the countries in three or four years and then we concentrate on monitoring the implementation of the programme of action. For instance we are coming back to Uganda to see what has been implemented after the peer review and do another self-assessment to see what progress has been made overall.
So who is being reviewed in Uganda ? All the sectors civil society inclusive, and all their activities. It is not just the Government. It is all the sectors. In fact if it’s done thoroughly, even the media should be peer reviewed (laughs). The Government is only one of the actors. If the other actors are not playing their roles, the rate of growth will drop and affect the whole society.
So what is next for Uganda ? First we must focus our attention between now and the end of June 2008 to finalising this report and getting the review done. We have to work towards a very tight timetable. We hope that by the beginning of April to be in position to send the report for comments…
Back to Kampala ? Yes for the comments. Once we have the comments, the panel will have to meet again for the second or third time to look at this. Then we have to send the report for translation. If we want this report to be seriously discussed, we will have to aim at sending copies around by the first week of June so that every state will have it for three to four weeks. It is a very tight schedule.
Will your recommendations be implemented ? The implementation depends on the Government. Once the pogramme of action is approved, adopted, in terms of costs, who does what, we then monitor that it is being implemented. When it is not being implemented, we shall raise a red flag to the Heads of State under the African Union who then will put gentle pressure on their colleague.
How do you assess Uganda’s peer review process, how are you collecting your information, the range of people you are talking to and what you are doing with the information ? Since we came here, we have talked to thousands of people. We have gone up country. We have met the stakeholders all over the country. There is no group that has been left out. We are very happy about that. Everybody has cooperated. The Secretariat of the Commission has helped in putting groups together. We have met the upper echelon. We have met the President, Ministers, permanent secretaries, private sector, judiciary, parliamentarians, civil society organisations and other groups.
What is your answer to cynics who claim that the APRM process is a just a white elephant or one of those things that come and go without any impact on Africa ? Cynicism is based on ignorance. When people don’t know, they shoot down any process. This is where the media in Africa has a major role in national or continental building. If you could educate the public, the cynics will not disappear, but they will be less noisy and their number will diminish. Secondly when they see the report.
For instance, I appeared on a radio phone-in programme recently, the people who were asking me questions had not even read anything. They had decided that it must have been written for me and the President must have given it to me to just sign. One of them actually said to me, “Prof. you have such a tremendous career, don’t let Museveni pull it down”. (Laughs). I said this is very silly. I said that in Africa, maybe because of our past experience, it is our history, we have learnt not to trust governments which I think we have to change. We have to be more proactive.
I did South Africa ; many people thought that President Mbeki gave me what to write. When they saw the report, they could not believe that we could be honest and frank, that the Government of South Africa raised their objections and we still published our findings. That is the most important thing. We reflect what societies say.
In your findings, have issues like insurgency, the bigger picture of terrorism, cropped up in Uganda’s scenario ? Oh yes, no sector has been left untouched. What I cannot tell you is what our conclusions are. Source : NEPAD, march 28, 2008