Jean-Jacques Cornish

African leaders drafted in to boost peer review mechansim

Africa’s cash-strapped governance self-assessment instrument is calling in former leaders to revive its popularity and get more of the 53 members of the continental body to sign up for it.
A meeting in Gaborone this week was unable to attract the founding fathers of the 12-year-old African Peer Review Mechanism.
But the will be called to attend meeting in Senegal in October and in North
Africa next year.
Former president Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria are being drafted to breathe new life into the APRM along with former Ghanaian leader John Kufuor and Joschim Chissano of Mozambique.
The mechanism was launched with fanfare in 2003.
Since then 35 African countries have acceded to it.
Half of them have undergone the process like of looking at their democracy, transparency and good governance and then reporting to African heads of state for their comment and analysis.
The APRM falls under the African Union umbrella but it not funded by it.
Jeggan Grey-Johnson of the Open Society Foundation sees this was a serious drawback.
APRM members are required to pay 80 000 euros a year to keep the system going.
Because a number of them have failed to do this, the mechanism is struggling to finance even its downsized budget.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.