On the 22nd day of May 2021, AfronomicsLaw Academic Forum held a Guest Lecture titled 'Trade Facilitation: The Key to a Borderless Africa'. The esteemed speakers were Dr Tsotang Tsietsi and Mr Craig Merito, who addressed the role of trade facilitation as a mechanism to enhance intra-African trade. Dr Tsietsi, the first speaker, is a Senior Lecturer at the National University of Lesotho. She holds an LLM from the University of Cambridge and a PhD from the University of Cape Town. Mr. Craig Merito is an international trade expert and consultant with over 25 years of experience. This piece will reflect on the issues raised by Dr Tsietsi before proceeding to those encompassed by Mr. Merito.
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On 21 December 2019, the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Ivoirian President Alassane Ouattara announced a “reform” of the monetary cooperation relations between France and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). This reform comes with a transformation of the CFA Franc and takes place in the context of a single currency project of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The CFA Franc zone currently comprises of 14 sub-Saharan African countries belonging to two currency unions.  Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo are members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), established in 1994 on the foundations of the West African Monetary Union, itself created in 1973. The other six countries - Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad - are members of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). These two unions use the same currency, the CFA Franc, which stands for Communauté Financière Africaine (“African Financial Community”) in UEMOA and Coopération financière en Afrique centrale (“Financial Cooperation in Central Africa”) in CEMAC. Apart from Equatorial Guinea (Spanish) and Guinea Bissau (Portuguese), the other 12 countries have been French colonies (de facto or de jure). The CFA Franc is issued by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) (for West Africa) and the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) (for Central Africa). Each of these currencies is legal tender only within its own region, thus not directly interchangeable.
This work assumes a benchmark position naturally when it comes to insightful discussion on energy access challenges in SSA. The readers will not only enjoy the reading but also aggregate value to their vision on the pivotal role of the regionalism as a tool through which SSA countries may gradually invert the status quo of energy access challenges.
In summary, it is vital to place this case in the broader context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Regional financial integration of the sort discussed above, (such as an integrated banking market or a banking union), would significantly benefit the AfCFTA in the light of the bigger regional markets in trade that is now in operation.
In fulfilling this 'global' role, I highlight a growing propensity of sub-national governments to challenge the status quo. More importantly, I argue that as the intermestic nature of trade and investment norms are becoming more evident, the COVID-19 Pandemic offers us an opportunity to reflect on the changing role of sub-national governments as activists and sites of resistance against inequalities in international trade and investment rules.
Now that the commencement of AFCTA has been postponed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need for a clear conceptualisation of flexibility in relation to the commitments and obligations created in African RTAs including the AFCTA. There is also a need to identify how some narratives that are subsumed in the flexibility paradigm may end up doing more harm than good to informal trade engagements in the continent.
The best ways to tackle any disease are often scientific, whether based on modern, Western-style medicine, or the traditional methods of our forefathers. In both cases, an ailment was observed, a treatment proposed, and if successful, adopted, with the less effective ones being relegated to the realm of pseudoscience at best. The African continent-wide economic integration project has been in motion in one form or other since the 1950s (some might argue earlier). Now, more than ever, is the time to take an honest look at our history and consider whether, based on the depth of integration of our economies, we are on the right track, or whether we need to consider a different approach. We should use the postponed operationalisation of the AfCFTA to consider how best to implement the ideals that have been negotiated the last couple of years, and not serve as a harbinger of another shelved idea.
There is a new struggle for Africa’s market. The contestants include the European Union (EU), United States (US), Russia, India and China. In this blog, I reflect on the new European Union -Africa Comprehensive Strategy proposals. The blog pushes against the Strategy’s revision of the historical relationship between the two regions which is built on embedded inequality. This is because, to be a true partnership, the unequal nature of the relationship between the EU and Africa must be centered. In the contest for its market, Africa has a unique opportunity to harness the competition tactically.
Harmonisation of private international law in the African Union is currently remarkably underdeveloped. Since harmonisation is indispensable for the planned economic integration, it is essential to pursue further developments. To conclude, harmonisation of private international law in the African Union is an affair to be closely followed.