A new economic wisdom seems to be informing the development agenda of international economic institutions, including the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO). The argument is that, although global value chains (GVCs) have existed for a long time, the pace and intensity of global interactions is rapidly changing, consisting of ever more functional ‘fractionalization’ and geographical ‘dispersion’ of production, and so is the nature of trade, with the unprecedented increase in the exchange of components and tasks originating in different parts of the world.
The Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA is far more than just a trade agreement. It embodies long-held aspirations for an integrated Africa which, in the words of Ghana’s first Prime Minister and President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, would be better equipped to “tackle hopefully every emergency, every enemy and every complexity.” As one of the flagship projects of the AU’s Agenda 2063, the free trade initiative is envisioned as a pathway to an African renaissance in both economic and cultural terms. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the AfCFTA could integrate 55 African Union (AU) member states in a market of about 1.2 billion people with an estimated gross domestic product of US $ 2.5 trillion. Moreover, the area is expected to reflect the continent’s “common identity by celebrating our history and our vibrant culture.”
Uncertainty looms for the Kenyan floriculture industry, as leaders of the East African Community Partner States – apart from Kenya - are stalling the ratification of the 2014 Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union (EAC-EU EPA). This analysis explains the deadlock in which this industry finds itself.
This essay highlights the traditional, hybrid and private regulation-inspired approaches through which the private sector arguably facilitates the achievement of the SDGs. Private regulation is not a silver bullet in the global quest for sustainable development, considering the inherent legal, administrative, institutional and political concerns. However, seeing the private sector as a partner in rule making and enforcement opens a realm of possibility in terms of possible collaborative models among stakeholders towards achieving the SDGs.
The Editorial Committee of the Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy invites submissions for a Special Issue on The Role of Multinational Corporations in the Actualization of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.
This paper aligns with Godwell Nhamo who states that ‘if the SDGs are to be a vehicle for poverty eradication in Africa, then the continent needs to do more for itself, including domestic mobilization of financial resources’. In essence, effective partnerships or collaborations (e.g. between government, academia, public sector, private sector, civic society and local communities amongst others) need to be developed in order to achieve sustainable SDGs outputs.
Sub-regional judiciaries and implementing bodies in Africa should endeavour to avoid what the Kagame Report termed ‘[t]he chronic failure to see through African Union decisions [which] has resulted in a crisis of implementation.’ Hence, ECOWAS and the ECCJ should apply political pressure on Member States to implement the ECCJ judgments. Also, dualist countries in the sub-region should domesticate the Revised Treaty and the Protocol on the ECCJ into their national laws. This will enhance the implementation of the ECCJ decisions in the sub-region.
While the establishment of a free trade area is categorically provided for as one of precursor stages to the AEC, it is appears to have been envisioned as being established primarily at the regional level (article 2 (d)), and not necessarily at the continental level. This was very much in line with the strategy to build the AEC through the RECs. The AEC Treaty did not get into the modalities of the establishment of the prospective free trade area, neither did it mention a further protocol in that regard. Whether this omission was deliberate, is subject to speculation, but perhaps it may have been based on the belief that RECs would be the drivers of free trade areas as opposed to a focused continental framework or mechanism.
Attracting foreign investment while holding transnational corporations to account for any human rights transgressions is by no means an easy feat. It will require that a careful balance be struck between the interests of the host State and its people, and that of private actors expecting good risk-return ratios in pursuit of the bottom line. Although international mechanisms such as the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have long endorsed accountability for transnational corporations, a zero draft international convention to regulate this issue has only recently been developed.