This blog post illustrates the role of national competition agencies (NCAs) in enforcing regional-level competition laws in Africa. Generally, the journey to regional integration starts with action at the national level. Then, as countries enter discussions and negotiations, treaties or agreements are signed containing articles that spell out common interests between States.
The objective of integrating the African economies is now continental. Hence, the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement for a Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) marks a new and more ambitious stage in the process of integrating African economies. Generally, regional integration projects and initiatives have a strong focus on the trade dimension. They aim at lowering and eliminating trade barriers by prohibiting participating members' restraints of trade in the internal market or by creating a common market. The trade dimension is important. However, its objectives would not be achieved without a competition policy dimension as a compliment. Hence, restrictions of competition on the regional level have both a trade and a competition component. To achieve the objective of creating regional markets free of trade barriers, it is crucial, in addition to the prohibiting restriction of trade, to police private and State initiated anti-competitive behaviors.
There are numerous regional agreements among developing countries. They aim to tear down the trade and investment barriers between and among their members. Moreover, they adopt competition policy and free movement policy to free their internal markets of private and state restraints to achieve market integration, efficiency, opportunity, competitiveness, and a higher standard of living. But most of these regional arrangements do not live up to their potential. Competition policy lags. Why? Reasons commonly given include asymmetry of the member states and their interests, lack of funding and sources for it, large informal markets, governance not sympathetic to competition, and corrupt leadership of nations set on retaining power and privilege. But two critical elements are virtually always overlooked, and unless they are recognized and prioritized, the hope of the regional agreements will never be realized.
This Symposium is jointly organized by AfronomicsLaw, the Chair of International Relations at the Hochshule für Politik, Technical University of Munich Germany, and the Mandela Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. It builds on a paper written by Prof Tim Büthe and Vellah Kedogo Kigwiru in the inaugural issue of African Journal of International Economic Law, titled 'The Spread of Competition Law and Policy in Africa: A Research Agenda'. The journal article set out a research agenda for better understanding the reality, promise, and limitations of competition law and policy in Africa at the n1ational and regional level. Consequently, this Symposium brings together competition law scholars, practitioners, and competition agencies' bureaucrats across the world to critically and comparatively discuss the reality, promises, and challenges facing the enforcement of specifically regional level competition policies in the Global South.
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).
This article examines the EAC’s competencies in trade negotiations as a transnational institution in light of this concern. Specifically, it aims to establish whether (or not) EAC Partner States are legally obligated to jointly negotiate with third countries.
There is a need to strip the teaching of PIL of its Eurocentric cognitive and civilisational conceits. ‘There is something profoundly wrong when syllabi designed to meet the ends of colonialism continue well into the [postcolonial] era’.
The Central Asian States should learn to rely on international law, more proactively and consistently, as a tool for advancing their lawful interests, and for maintaining regional and international peace and security. Kazakhstan’s recent membership in the UN Security Council (2017-2018) was an excellent occasion to promote respect for international law at the regional level. Other recent examples of such reliance include the adoption of a Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in 2018, or an ongoing reform of criminal law and procedure in Uzbekistan.
On March 9 2018, the African Union Ministers of Trade approved the Declaration establishing the Agreement establishing African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA); a move that marked the creation of the largest Free Trade Area in the World. The Agreement seeks to create a single market for goods, services and movement of persons and investment among African countries thereby fostering intra-African trade, facilitating structural transformation of African economies and promoting sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development across the African continent. Whether this would turn out to be a significant positive development within the continent may largely depend on whether the broader issue is addressed- The continuous inclination of African States to explore the forest rather than tend the garden.
Considering the ambition of the AfCFTA for deep integration, aiming at liberalizing trade in goods, services, investment, intellectual property, competition and e-commerce, and to guarantee that compliance schedules are absolute results of negotiated arrangements among African countries as opposed to the superintendence and policing of the WTO, this essay suggests that a Full Agreement pathway to notification should be considered.