African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement

FREE TRADE: A PIPE DREAM FOR AFRICA?

The AfCFTA seeks to change the manner in which African states trade with each other. The existence of the AfCFTA is what Roscoe Pound termed using the law as a tool of social engineering. The African Union in creating the AfCFTA intended to promote, facilitate and eventually experience free intra-African trade. This review appreciates the AfCFTA but seeks to criticize a loophole it has created

Book Review of Fox and Bakhoum: Making Markets Work for Africa (OUP, 2019)

Arguably, Fox and Bakhoum’s Making Markets Work for Africa does more than take part in this literature, it helps bring it into focus, crystallizing its insights and articulating a number of its internal debates.  Perhaps this assessment should be nuanced a bit.  Despite their extensive footnotes and their admirable collaborative scholarship and drive to work from and with African sources (for instance with the Quarterly Competition Review produced by CCRED), the book is focused more on the policy problem than on the existing literature about the problem.  This is not a book about books; it is a book about identifying a complex economic situation with challenges and opportunities and charting and driving a particular line in favour of a better life for Africa’s population.

Devising Most Favored Nation (MFN) Clauses for the implementation of the AfCFTA in Economic Partnership Agreements

The effective implementation of the AfCFTA can only be achieved where state parties are assured of the stability of their local markets. This article notes that one of the key ways to safeguard these markets is through the development of a coordinated response to MFN clauses which can only be effectively attained through the Council of Ministers.

The Importance of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions in the AfCFTA

September 9, 2019

With the launching of the operational phase or phase 2 of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), debates and negotiations have started on different instruments that will govern this agreement. One of the main subjects would be intellectual property and particularly issues related to the protection of tradition knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs). The intellectual property (IP) Annex or chapter of the AfCFTA will give Africans countries a unique occasion to deal with these issues.

An African Response to WTO Reform Proposals

The lack of participation of African states in the WTO dispute settlement system is indicative to a certain extent of the discomfort that most African states feel vis-à-vis the said system. A future reform of the DSU must necessarily include procedural and substantive aspects to render dispute settlement more flexible for African countries.

Evaluating the Conciliation Dispute Settlement Mechanism of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement through the lens of Timor-Leste Australia

The Agreement establishes a Dispute Settlement Mechanism that seeks to settle state-level disputes. Such mechanism is to be administered in tandem with the provisions of the Protocol on Rules and Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes (the Protocol). The Protocol aims at providing a ‘transparent, accountable, fair, predictable, and consistent dispute settlement process.’ Article 8 of the Protocol permits disputing state parties to voluntarily undertake conciliatory measures in a bid to amicably resolve the dispute in the event consultations, which are not strictly compulsory according to the language of Article 6(6), fail.

A Future Court without Cases? On the Question of Standing in the AfCFTA Dispute Settlement Mechanism

One would be justified in thinking that AU member states have intentionally created a court which they consciously know they would hardly use given the inertia identified above. If the reforms that would extend standing to private parties are not undertaken, there is little guarantee that Member States will suddenly change their habits. Assuming for once that they trigger the mechanism, it is also very likely that, consistent with their practice for political solutions to legal problems, they would not proceed beyond the consultation and good offices stages provided in Articles 7 and 8 of the Dispute Settlement Protocol.

The Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community and the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area: Some Relational Aspects and Concerns

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.