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Last Updated: Monday, 16 February, 2004, 16:56 GMT
Can peer review work in Africa?
African leaders now have a new mechanism for monitoring each other's progress towards political and economic reform but can it work?

Ghana's John Kufuor with President Bush
John Kufuor is allowing Ghana to be assessed first
The move launched last weekend in Rwanda is a step towards implementing the economic recovery plan, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, otherwise known as Nepad.

Seventeen African leaders have signed up to the peer review mechanism, saying it will improve governance and accountability.

Ghana and Rwanda will be the first countries to be assessed.

But is the peer review mechanism the best way of ensuring good governance? And if a country is deemed to be failing, will its peers be able to enforce reform?

A selection of your comments will be published broadcast on the BBC Focus on Africa programme at 1705 GMT on 21 February.

The peer review mechanism is a step in the right direction. I believe it will encourage African leaders to pursue established ideals on good governance, while being able to assess their performances relative to their peers. It will establish an avenue through which African leaders can openly sanction one anothers inclinations, while applauding actions and imperatives worthy of mention. It would permit and encourage the type of dialogue that would hopefully avoid Zimbabwe's current situation; where African leaders do not feel obliged to candidly assess President Mugabe's performance.
G. Mutaya Msisha, Malawi

Bob is peerless
Ian, UK/Libya
I think this new mechanism can work but it depends on whether the leaders take it serioursly. African leaders like paper work instead of action. So they might put this all down on paper but when it comes to the implementaion,that's a different story. So they should stick to whatever they have put on paper.
Dominic, Accra, Ghana.

It is like one hyena monitoring another one.
Alem M., Ottawa, Canada

We all know that part of the African countries failure record can be attributed to individual state sovereignity. It has been common practise for African leaders to use sovereignty as a shield against external and bona fide intervention. NEPAD as a framework can advance the lives of the majority people of this continent. This will only succeed if peer review is made effective not just an ambitious ideas with no teeth on those who do not conform.We are too slowly in finding obvious solutions. For instance in Sudan, Somalia, Ivory Coast and other part of Africa people are dying because of wars. I think President Mbeki, Obasanjo and other leaders are facing a huge task in their fellow counterparts. My dream is that other nations will assist by not pushing their interests on the expense of innocent people of this continent. No assistance to rebels, no assistance to dictators.My request to Arab brothers stop Arabising and killing our people in Sudan. Our people must not be forced to join any religion or killed if they refuse.
Eddie SIBIYA, Durban/South Africa

fedesco williams, buduburam camp,accra

This sounds wonderful because it means team work. Team work for all of Africa. I second that. Of course in every new move there will always be downs but Africa must push hard to get the UPS. In this world everything is possible. Every government likes paperwork but African leaders must make it work. I had a strong feeling Africa will change one day and I seriously feel that this is where it starts. And please for everyone reading this "NO BUTS". We have to start somewhere and this is certainly it.
Tawia Hansen Mensah-Fawzy, Geneva, Switzerland

Kleptocracies reviewing each other? Another outstanding idea!
M.Meadham, UK

We will accept the peer review mechanism as a step in the right direction, since these countries will open their doors for others to scrutinize their activities. Although one country cannot force the other to rigidly observe these peer review mechanism, the beauty of even accepting to open one"s door for the other to review its performance shows how Africa is gradually by surely embracing democracy on the continent.

I think that the Peer Review is excellent in theory but in practise it will only work when those governments that have a track record of human rights abuses, mismanaging the economy and poor leadership like the regimes of Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea and Sudan are forced to sign up. Far too many African governments are answerable to no one, act as though corruption is the norm and fail to implement even basic systems for the development of thier people while the African Union has little influence to make change happen.It is of no use if those governments that do sign up are those that are doing the right thing and providing stability and oppurtunities in thier countries.
Susan Marimo, Joburg, SA

The Review-machanism will work only as long as African Nations feel that they alone set the criteria for what constitutes 'Good Governance'. Mbeki in particular will not be content to take advice from Western Nations in order to keep any solution purely African. In the end, African accountability will probably not stand up to Western standards and we'll be back at square minus-1.
Anon, South Africa

The peer review system in NEPAD is only workable in really democratic countries of the continent. Its efficiency is limited however to identifying drawbacks to good governance in countries that submit to the mechanism. But it is up to each country to create the conditions for the advent and implementation of good rules for governance ,development and accountability as peers cannot subtitute country governments.
abdou seye, dakar

Unlikely in the case of Zimbabwe - Bob is peerless (for all the wrong reasons!)
Ian Summerfield, UK/Libya ex Zimbabwe

Peer review, with the applause and criticism it could potentially bring to the Afircan political setting, is a seemingly constructive means with which debates of common interest to all Africans, may be initiated in valid attempts to realise a common African good. It is disappointing that to date, no African leader has attempted to urge King Mswati to devolve power to elected government of his people. It is embarassing that flawed elections are hailed as free and fair accross the continent, when evidence suggests the contrary. It is unfortunate that the African politicians are more averse than ever to criticism; We have often stated that we would rather not have foreigners openly criticise the often flawed practices of our leaders, and yet we have not demonstrated the capacity to correct each other on matters pertaining our common well-being. We have managed, through dialogue to correct discrepancies in the DRC; let us now focus on Zimbabwe, Sudan, Somalia, Swaziland and a number of other countries whose inconsistencies are yet to be promulgated.
G. Mutaya Msisha, Blantyre, Malawi

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