Analysis

The Analysis Section of Afronomicslaw.org publishes two types of content on issues of international economic law and public international law, and related subject matter, relating to Africa and the Global South. First, individual blog submissions which readers are encouraged to submit for consideration. Second, feature symposia, on discrete themes and book reviews that fall within the scope of the subject matter focus of Afronomicslaw.org. 

The Land Question and Legal Pluralism in Africa: Recent Contributions and Future Work

The volume's contribution do well in facilitating the reader's understanding of the broad range of legal and practical intricacies of land reform and land rights, including chapters that examine commercial incentives for land vis-a-vis the security of rural land rights (Chapter 4 by Lorenzo Cotula), shifting policy paradigm (Chapter 7 by Howard Stein) property transfer taxes (Chapter 8 by Riel Franzsen), and the role of women in land reform (Chapter 11 by Eugene Chigbu) among other topics.

The Significance of Descent-Based 'Customary' Land Management for Land Reform and Agricultural Futures in Africa

Since the 1960s, land reform has been a key topic in Africa. Many land policies have been formulated and related programmes have been implemented - all in the name of improving agricultural investment and therefore, productivity, as well as bringing about general social and economic development. By doing so, many land policies and land reform interventions worked to do away with African landholding systems which were dubbed "static, rigid, insular, inflexible, incompatible, and insecure" due to the absence of clearly defined and enforceable property rights. It is these perceived weaknesses 'inherent' in African landholding system that prompted the need for land reform. Pauline E. Peters and many others have widely criticised these conventional premises of land policies and land reform interventions in Africa - and so she continues in the chapter The Significance of Descent- Based 'Customary' Land Management for Land Reform and Agricultural Futures in Africa of the edited volume Rethinking Land Reform in Africa: New Ideas, Opportunities and Challenges.

The Place of Communal Land Rights in Africa's Land Reform Discourse

Developing a policy framework with a view to improving the governance of land within the continent must prioritize tenure reform by recognizing and mainstreaming communal/indigenous/customary land rights. This departure from the initial obtaining policy approach that focused on titling and conversion of customary to modern tenure is critical for sustainable land reform in Africa as argued by Lorenzo Cotulla and Clarke. Rethinking land reform in Africa new ideas, opportunities and challenges assesses the progress that has been made in land policy reform in the continent within the decade that the Framework and Guidelines have been in place. It also explores opportunities and challenges as well as new frontiers in the land reform discourse. Importantly, one of the themes explored in the book is communal land tenure.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP): A Dilemma for People and Human Rights in the Global South?

The current century's threat to communities, including climate change and vast and deepening inequalities, may be aggravated by the Agreement. By limiting the power of governments to govern in the interests of the community and the environment, and bolstering a regulatory framework intended to advance the interest of multi-national corporations and only the wealthiest people, trade and investment agreements deepen issues of human rights. The RCEP may, as a consequence, advertently exclude marginalised groups, including women, indigenous peoples, migrants and essentially those without any capital or political power. 

The Geopolitical Impact of RCEP- Another Feather to the Chinese Crown?

Doubts have been raised whether RCEP can be a game changer for the region or not; due to many issues such as that, there already exists a good number of Free trade Agreements (FTAs) between these RCEP members (therefore RCEP is not adding something substantially new), some barriers and loopholes still remains, it does not offer any major breakthrough in new trade issues such as e-commerce. It will take some time to see the effects of RCEP, but surely the reduction of tariffs and non-tariffs will stimulate economic growth in the medium-long term. It will take some time to see how the member states benefit and reap the facilities of RCEP. But one impact is certainly visible if seen from the dynamics of geopolitics in the region, that at the moment, China has added an extra point in the game of strategic balance in Asia by clearly maintaining its dominance in the region. 

The Status Quo of RCEP: A Squandered Opportunity for Regional, Social and Environmental Cooperation

Regional trade agreements such as RCEP which include some of the major global palm oil producers including Malaysia and Indonesia could have been drafted to help sustainable palm oil production in both countries by eliminating markets for unsustainable palm oil. Despite all of the fanfare around RCEP, the RCEP treaty is a lost opportunity for using trade to advance human rights and environmental protection.

RCEP Investment Rules: Help or Hindrances to Asia's COVID-19 Recovery?

Without doubt, once in force, RCEP could stimulate COVID-19 recovery in the region by fostering greater investment among the fifteen Asia-Pacific countries. However, as the Agreement will be co-existing with other IIAs among the countries, it adds another noodle to the already growing spaghetti bowl of IIAs among the Asia-Pacific States.

Special and Differential Treatment of LDC Parties in RCEP's Dispute Settlement Mechanism: Mere Words or Effective Safeguards?

Although the S&DT provisions relating to disputes involving LDC parties and the current state-to-state dispute settlement mechanism provided by the Agreement may seem comparatively more balanced than the mechanism of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), nonetheless, the real extent of the effectiveness and advantages of the mechanism for the LDC parties cannot yet be inferred,

Systemic Implications of the RCEP for the International Economic Law Governance

To grasp an idea of the impacts of the RCEP for international economic law governance, this blog post looks at why the RCEP has been pursued, how it contrasts with the CPTPP, how it reshapes existing and future trade relations and lastly if and how it relates to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

RCEP: Nothing to See and Everything to See

For years UNCTAD has argued that hyperglobalisation, and the free trade agreements that promote it, has created unsustainable levels of instability, inequality, insecurity and ecological harm and called for a new paradigm of trade rules that is participatory and development-friendly, recognises the role of regulation and local political oversight, and can promote a level playing field and prosperity for all. The final RCEP argument is a symptom of that malaise - a step back from the excesses of the TPPA, but is a long way from a new paradigm.