This blog post largely derives from a recent study entitled Bank of Zambia’s Autonomy Amidst Political Turnovers in Zambia, which investigated whether BOZ could effectively deliver on its mandate given the context of political interferences arising out of Zambia’s competitive clientelist democracy. That study concluded that, over time, BOZ had enshrined its independence in the law and had been quite effective at delivering on its mandate to stabilize prices and develop the financial system as required in a market economy.
To support safe and stable market functioning, and to mitigate discordance and incompatibility risks, this paper proposes the establishment of a common set of Afro-market-centric foundational principles (“African Core Principles for Systemically Important Payment Systems”, or “Afro-SIPS Principles”) to provide a baseline framework of standards to which all African cross-border payment systems – including systemically important national payment systems – should adhere and incorporate into their applicable rulebooks and risk management frameworks.
It is proposed that South Africa as a developing country needs to have a central bank that has the semblance of a developmental central bank, and that takes care of consumers, different than the orthodox, neoliberal central bank that focuses on price stability and lowering of inflation and expect market forces to protect consumers. The Twin Peaks model of financial regulation where the central bank is explicitly appointed as the guardian of financial stability, could be a small step on the way of the SARB becoming such semblance of a developmental central bank.
This opinion piece aims to ascertain the extent to which the new Bank of Namibia Act 1 of 2020 (the Act) imports the neoliberal rules of central banking and it also assesses the level of departure, if any, from the conventional central bank mandates couched in law. The piece further highlights the domestication of the rules of the Central Bank Model Law adopted by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The ailing financial sector in Ghana necessitated an immediate pragmatic response to realign and reposition the financial sector back to its glory days. Depositors’ monies are mostly squandered or bolted with by directors and managers of financial institutions in Ghana. The recent clean-up in the financial sector has awakened uproars from some Ghanaians, notable amongst them are the customers of the affected financial institutions. While some vowed to boycott the 2020 elections, others instituted a civil action in court on the grounds of negligence against the central bank. It will be intriguing to know the legal principles for adjudicating this matter in the high court, whether private law principles under tort law (on the basis of which the customers have sued BoG), or public law principles under administrative law (which seems more appropriate for a public body). With the extent of insolvency, licensing irregularities and insufficient minimum capital requirements among financial institutions, the greatest fatherly role played by BoG was not to spare the rod to spoil the child in its quest to salvage the financial sector.
Africa’s regional central banks, and the projects of monetary coordination and monetary union they oversee, arise directly out of treaty frameworks. These frameworks provide vital opportunities for calibrating these policy objectives in the form of legal and institutional design. The goal must be to ascertain the components of a progressive, pro-development approach that will seek to balance the objective of financial stability with the objective of maintaining sufficient macroeconomic policy space, and the objective of central bank independence with the objective of accountability to the public interest.
The loan conditionalities are spelled out in the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP). Despite the talk about “ownership” of these memoranda and “active contribution of authorities” of the loan beneficiary, the drafting is done mostly by the IMF staff. It was reported in the media, the push towards a “structural and governance reform” of SOEs, too, came from the IMF.
I got very interested in Africa’s international courts more than a decade ago when I was writing a book on Africa’s trade regimes. I was surprised to learn that Africa’s international courts, although established as trade courts had ended up being human rights courts. I soon realized that the first generation of scholarship on Africa’s international courts had transplanted analytical tools for assessing their performance that did not showcase the entirety of their impacts. The moment between that realization and The Performance of Africa’s International Courts: Using International Litigation for Political, Legal, and Social Change, OUP, 2020 was a long five years. This book project has therefore come a long way from April 2016 when I hosted an authors’ workshop.
This contribution proposes that African governments consider adopting border reform concessions that cover a range of solutions besides infrastructure. Should a concession be limited to infrastructure provision alone, the net effect of infrastructure on trade efficiency needs to be determined in an endeavour to arrive at fair user charges.
Trade security is an important component of Customs work. Customs administration should adapt to the environment they operate and the commencement of the AfCFTA is a new development which calls for adaptation. The AfCFTA presents challenges to trade security due to the large volumes of cargo whose movement should be as unhindered as possible. Various international instruments seek to promote trade security through promoting collaboration, capacity building for Customs administrators, as well as simplification and harmonization of procedures. Interestingly, all trade instruments discussed have demonstrated that trade facilitation and trade security are intrinsically inter-linked. Even though Customs administrations in the AfCFTA have embraced digital technologies they continue to have implementation challenges.