The limit of cross border flow of personal data is broadly referred to as data localisation and is often justified based on five main concerns. These include the protection of personal data, access to data by local law enforcement, ensuring national security, advancing local economic competitiveness and levelling the regulatory playing field. However, a closer look at these justifications reveal the impact of data localisation on free trade, increase in transaction costs and the efficiency of corporations, stifling of innovation, and hampering of economic growth. With global data flows raising global GDP, it is necessary to ask, what policy trade-offs are necessary to balance the legitimate concerns of countries against the unintended consequences that the impact of data localisation causes? There are four issues relating to the economic impacts of data localisation that emerging regulation in Africa needs to address. These are data ownership and its value, competition, trade, and foreign direct investment.
Cross Border Trade
This is an exciting book that develops a multi-disciplinary perspective on cross-border financial flows, grounded in Marxist political economy. While the book certainly speaks to a diverse set of literatures, in this brief review I’d like to relate this work to broader debates about dependency theory and decolonizing economics.
The heightened movement of financial capital across the globe, particularly since the 2008 financial crisis, has breathed new life into three long-standing, yet until recently side-lined, debates: the value of cross-border capital controls (increasingly discussed under the banner of ‘macroprudentialism’); dependency theory (key elements of which manifest in the emerging literature on ‘subordinate financialization’); and the role of the state in a capitalist system (discussed in various critical political economy literature, including the influential critical macro-finance scholarship). Alami’s book Money, Power, and Financial Capital in Emerging Markets: Facing the Liquidity Tsunami is a critical intervention into all three debates and serves as fertile ground for a critique of the capitalist state in a highly financialized global system.
The News and Events published every week include conferences, major developments in the field of International Economic Law in Africa at the national, sub-regional and regional levels as well as relevant case law.
How States proceed with building consensus to create a social contract that facilitates effective taxation, especially in the light of the massive disruptions caused by the pandemic will require continuous engagement by all parties. Success will perhaps depend on how proactively and quickly countries and the international taxation system unlearn old habits and begin to ascribe to the new normal way of doing things.
This symposium, comprising six contributions, presents case studies of the existing plant variety protection systems in Africa, complexities around introducing new systems as well as the interlinkages between plant variety protection, human rights and traditional knowledge.
The signing of the consolidated text of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in March 2018 by 47 African Union member States was a significant milestone. It was the first time since the Abuja Treaty of 1994 that a continental trade agreement had been negotiated. This symposium critically appraises the agenda of the AfCFTA. It kicks off with a post that boldly makes the case why this agreement promises to redress the comparatively low levels of intra-regional trade as well as the dearth of high value exports from Africa.