Call for Papers: African International Economic Law Network Virtual Colloquium 2021 - COVID-19 and International Economic Law: Africa’s Experiences and Responses


October 9, 2020     

Following the World Health Organization’s characterization of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a pandemic on 11 March 2020, the world has experienced seismic changes across all areas of life. The pandemic has disrupted trade, sunk economies into recessions, widened inequalities, weakened health systems and driven over 40 million people into extreme poverty. As this unforeseen phenomenon has had devastating consequences on almost every aspect of human existence, it has also forced us to pause and rethink our ways. Although Africa has reported relatively few cases, it still has to grapple with the economic and social ramifications of the pandemic.

In light of this, this colloquium will examine Africa’s response to the pandemic, in particular, those relating to international economic law. This colloquium fills the gap left by the absence of our biennial conference in 2021 and will instead hold virtually in July 2021. We invite interested participants to submit papers on pertinent aspects of international economic law that relate to Africa, especially the following themes:

  1. COVID-19 and African regional integration
  2. Emerging trends in trade and investment agreements
  3. Sovereign Debt
  4. COVID 19, innovation and intellectual property
  5. COVID-19 and the rise of the digital economy
  6. COVID 19 and public health responses: what can the world learn from Africa?
  7. Agriculture, food sovereignty and food security

The Colloquium Planning Committee welcomes papers by graduate students, early career and established scholars as well as practitioners in private and public sectors whose work relates directly or indirectly to these themes. Submissions should include a research abstract of no more than 250 words and an author’s biography of no more than 200 words. These must be submitted by 31 December 2020 to Papers will be selected based on quality, originality, and capacity to provoke productive debates.

The Colloquium Planning Committee will announce its decision by 28 February 2021. Selected applicants will be expected to submit their complete paper (6,000 words) by 20 June 2021. Accepted papers will be published in a special issue of a leading international economic law journal. Enquiries can be submitted to

The African International Economic Law Network (AfIELN) is a regional network under the auspices of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL). AfIELN is an organization aimed at bringing together academics, industry practitioners and officials in the field of International Economic Law (IEL) in Africa.