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. 

Book Review Symposium: Advancing Business and Human Rights Scholarship in Africa

Dr Oyeniyi Abe’s book, Implementing Business and Human Rights Norms in Africa: Law and Policy Interventions is the foremost and authoritative text on the contentious question of the critical connections between business and human rights, and the implementation of socially responsible norms in Africa. The lucidity of the book derives significance from the clear and logical articulation of the various pathways developing countries can leverage huge abundance of natural and human resources for sustainable development. Abe’s book, therefore, serves as a critical expose of legal, institutional, and policy discourses established by states, and corporate entities to safeguard implementation of socially responsible norms. Abe’s systematic exploration of the global challenges confronting companies and how they are responding to those challenges provides a clear roadmap towards achieving the full implementation of the UN Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in Africa

Book Symposium Introduction: Implementing Business and Human Rights Norms in Africa: Law and Policy Intervention.

Businesses operate in a globally complex, yet uncertain environment with increasing risks in numerous domains. While it is important and necessary for businesses to be able to continue to operate in these challenging times, it is essential that companies understand human rights risks of their conducts, measures to prevent, address and mitigate such risks, as well as rules and regulations to manage corporate obligations to respect human rights risks in a consistent manner. Furthermore, as the world faces tremendous challenges, including intra and inter-state conflicts, living crisis, environmental disasters, climate change, and the debate on energy justice and transition, this book argues that African states must promote investment opportunities and safeguard trade regimes that do not create the space for corporate induced human rights violations. It considers that development approach must be anchored on indices that deliver economic growth, is environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive.

Recap of the Third Edition of the Washington Arbitration Week: Deep Seabed Mining, the Terra Incognita

The Third Edition of the Washington Arbitration Week gathered experienced practitioners to discuss the developments in international arbitration. The panelists addressed the intricate issues of “Jurisdiction, Merits, and Quantum in Seabed Mining”, in the context of the rapid technological developments that have broadened the options for exploring and exploiting natural resources in the depths of the Oceans.

Book Review: Populism and Antitrust: The Illiberal Influence of Populist Government on the Competition Law System By Maciej Bernatt (CUP: 2022)

This is a rich, well-structured and engaging monograph by an author who passionately yet systematically addresses the interrelationship between populism and competition law in the broader political and economic context. With this book, the author provides an informed take on the ‘back-sliding’ experience in two European ‘illiberal democracies’. The discussion of the most pertinent challenges as well as the proposed solutions are most illuminating not only for readers interested in East Europe but beyond. This book is a perfect companion in the universal quest for discovering the important role of competition law in the development of democratic societies founded on the rule of law and the challenges that may encounter along the way. Beyond informing the reader of the alarming back-and-forth quality of the competition system evolution, the author sets readers on the straight path of searching for solutions that ensure stability and resilience.

Loss, Damage and the Quest for Climate Reparations Beyond COP27

This piece contextualizes the quest for climate reparations in light of recent events to argue that it will likely keep gaining momentum. Indeed, the absence of any pledge to phase out/down fossil fuels in the Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan indicates that the historical quest for climate reparations through loss and damage is far from achieved. Other reasons for the interest in climate reparations include the increasing phenomenon of climate litigation and drawn connections between colonialism and climate.

Book Review: Africa in the New Trade Environment - Market Access in Troubled Times

The book 'Africa in the New Trade Environment; Market Access in Troubled Times' is a collection of articles edited by World Bank renowned economists; Souleymane Coulibaly, Woubet Kassa, and Albert G. Zeufack. The work builds on the expert panel discussions on the future of global trade and its impact on Africa, the theme explored at the World Bank Africa Knowledge Fest on February 22, 2017. The authors make it clear that their goal is ‘to present a strategy to bolster Sub-Saharan Africa’s market access in the current global environment’.

The Legacy of Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade: Interview with Leonardo Nemer Caldeira Brant

In the final post of the symposium on Judge Cançado Trindade, the guest editors interview judge Brant, from the International Court of Justice, to talk about the impact of Cançado’s scholarship in Brazil and in international law.

Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Non-Tariff Barriers in African Trade

Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) play a fundamental role in job creation and economic development in many countries. MSMEs account for about 90% of businesses and generate more than 50% of employment worldwide, with formal Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) contributing to about 40% of national income (gross domestic product (GDP)) in emerging economies. This article seeks to proffer action plans to be implemented at the national, regional and continental levels to assist MSMEs in realizing sustainable development and the underlying sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Manufacturing Inequality: Examining the Racial-Capitalist Logics behind Global Pandemic Vaccine Production

The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the stark inequities between the Global North and Global South in vaccine production and access. Such inequities are a continuation of asymmetrical power relations rooted in historical racialized processes such as slavery and colonialism and its post-colonial legacies, which led to the subordination of many countries in the Global South. This paper builds on racial capitalism scholarship within studies of the COVID-19 crisis, which critiqued the disproportionate mortality within populations and unequal labor relationships, presenting a novel contribution by thinking through the systemic impacts of racial capitalism on the production of essential medicines, and particularly COVID-19 vaccines, in global health. A deeper understanding of the systemic injustice in the international patent system enables us to center the experiences of the Global South through a re-examination of how international law sustains and encourages the geographic and racial stratification of vaccine manufacturing, which is now largely centralized in the Global North. The paper also calls for changing law and funding structures as mechanisms of reparative justice. While, on the one hand, law plays a role in sustaining racial-capitalist harms, it can also be used as a tool for facilitating reparative justice.

Of fissures and Reforms: Tracing Digital Transformation in Africa

This blog illustrates how excessive trust in and unaccountability of technological systems runs against digital transformation aims and argues that as an uncanny fixation on gains to be realised from technology becomes a mainstay, certain workings of technological development should not be overlooked.