Sustainable development hinges upon effective governance, as it plays a vital role in fostering equitable economic growth and overall progress.
National Treasury and Economic Planning Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u emphasised this point during a recent event in Nairobi.
He spoke through James Muhati, the Principal Secretary for National Treasury and Economic Planning, at the launch of the Kenya National Governance Report and the introduction of the County Peer Review Mechanism (CPRM) panel of distinguished individuals in Nairobi on Friday.
Prof Ndung’u highlighted that good governance is especially crucial in African nations due to their ethnic diversity and the multitude of competing interests within them.
“The national governance reports, therefore would serve as a national barometer of governance status in all AU member States, based primarily on national realities, country innovation, and homegrown solutions,” he said.
“The absence of objectivity and real data by external institutions which have been assessing governance on the African Continent has arguably been a major challenge in evaluating the state of governance for many African countries.”
In many instances, a lack of good governance can lead to unnecessary conflicts. To address these challenges, the African Union expanded the mandate of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in 2017.
This expansion included monitoring and reporting on various aspects of governance, aligning with the African Union Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
APRM released the inaugural continental governance report, Africa Governance Report 2019, in February 2019, encouraging member states to produce their own national governance reports.
These reports serve as a reflection of governance status based on national realities and innovations, providing a more objective assessment compared to external institutions that might lack real data.
“Africa has the capacity and means to perform her own assessment by utilising locally generated data and information,” Ndung’u said.
He expressed Kenya’s pride in being chosen to pilot the implementation of the national governance reports framework.
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“This selection reflects the continent’s confidence in Kenya’s governance reforms and practices, as well as the appreciation of Kenya’s continued commitment to implementing the Agenda 2063 in the area of governance,” he said.
Kenya’s adoption of a new constitution in August 2010 marked a significant milestone in improving governance. The constitution, developed through a citizen-centric and participatory process, is recognised as one of the most progressive globally.
It established independent governance institutions to address key challenges affecting social, economic, and political progress, such as land issues, gender equality, administrative justice, cohesion, integration, and corruption.
These institutions, alongside an independent judiciary and legislature at national and county levels, form the foundation of a stable democracy that allows for a focus on economic development and the enhancement of livelihoods.
Ndung’u mentioned that Kenya’s commitment to promoting national values and principles of good governance aligns with those of the African Union.
He also applauded the CPRM Panel of Eminent Persons, chosen for their exemplary service to Kenya.
The panel is expected to enhance the credibility and objectivity of county peer reviews, providing valuable insights for policy decisions and improved service delivery.
Kenya stands as the first country to extend the peer-reviewed governance approach to the sub-national level. The panel’s work is anticipated to culminate in the CPRM National Summit, which should take place before the year’s end.
The summit will enable the Kenyan President to report to his peers at the AU Summit early next year, fostering a culture of transparent and effective governance at all levels.
Samori Okwiya, the CEO of the NEPAD/APRM Kenya Secretariat, echoed the significance of the report and underscored the governance initiatives that led to the findings presented in the review report.