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By Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

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At implementation level, significant progress may now be expected concerning the APRM, which is at the heart of the initiative. The APRM envisages four types of review, which can be classified as the base review, periodic review, country-requested review and crisis-induced review (see Box 2). The APRM concept is starting to gain ground, and a dozen of African countries have now volunteered for being subject to review in the initial stage. The fifth summit of the Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee convened in Abuja in November 2002 has placed the political responsibility for the APRM with the African Union, which is vital to the political viability of the mechanism, especially concerning its sensitive political governance dimension.

Counter examples, or at least less successful stories, exist however12. In Burkina Faso, the 14 per cent rise in the value added that privatised companies generated in 1996-99 mask great discrepancies. There is also a large number of loss-making firms. The choice of divestiture has also an impact on future performance. World Bank data show that as at end 2000, the most commonly used methods of privatisation in Africa were: competitive sales of shares (971), liquidation (676), and competitive sales of assets (536), and concession and lease contracts (142).

Political reasons largely explain the absence of a privatisation programme in Liberia, Somalia, Swaziland, Algeria and Libya (although the Algerian government is now planning to privatise some of its parastatals). The privatisation process has principally aimed at opening strategic SOEs to private participation, with focus on national transportation systems (airlines, shipping and railway companies), public utilities (electricity, water) and telecommunications. Privatisation in the telecommunications sector has been particularly dynamic.

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