These cases are usually brought by public-spirited individuals, human rights lawyers, NGO’s and civil society groups; all of whom have been variously accused of inviting the court to put its jurisdictional treaty limits. Karua’s case, therefore, also invites the court to resolve and settle the debate on its express versus implied jurisdiction and powers in matters regarding human rights, democracy and rule of law.
In July 2019, the African International Economic Law Network (AfIELN), held its Fourth Biennial Conference under the theme “Africa and International Economic Law in the 21st Century” at the Strathmore University Law School (Nairobi, Kenya). This symposium contains some of the papers presented at this conference in their abridged forms. Before introducing the authors’ views on this Conference’s broader theme, we provide the important context under which the Conference took place.
A coordinated African voice on FDI would likely enhance the continent’s global competitiveness, prevent destructive competition among countries, help strengthen Africa’s position in investment agreements, and ultimately result in increased FDI flows to the continent.
The book provides illuminating insights on the contrasting historical and economic imperatives that drove the development of competition law and policy in the US, post World War II Europe and in selected countries on the African continent. The authors explain that in the US, the development of antitrust law was a response to the industrial revolution and in its wake, large enterprises. For almost a century, the US courts, interpreted antitrust law “to protect the weak from the strong.” There was a significant shift in US antitrust law under the Reagan administration “away from economic democracy and towards efficiency” as the US focused on global competitiveness and economic power.
Ghana and its founding father, Kwame Nkrumah, have played a pivotal role in the Africa’s revolution, integration and the evolution of Pan Africanism in general. Besides his prolific writings, which cemented his place as a foremost proponent of Pan Africanism, Nkrumah was not only a freedom fighter, but also one of the recognisable organisers of the 1945 Manchester Pan Africa congress which primarily advocated for decolonisation of the continent and the supplanting of colonialism with African socialism.
While international trade has undergone significant structural changes recently, particularly with the proliferation of new generation of free trade agreements (FTAs), the debate on the consequences of IIAs for sustainable development continues to widen and intensify. In effect, while there has been fundamental changes in the international investment landscape in terms of players (now comprising state-owned enterprises and sovereign wealth funds) and FDI direction (with emerging economies now being, not only recipients, but increasingly home states), governments are also now adopting industrial policies and development strategies that contrast with their erstwhile hands-off approach to economic development.
Rudahindwa’s contribution lies in his articulation of the need for institutions and legal frameworks to reflect these multiple objectives of African RECs. In this regard, he ably demonstrates how the specific objectives of NAFTA, ASEAN, MERCOSUR and the EU have informed the nature of the institutions that manage their respective organisations and their legal frameworks, including how they address issues such as the relationship between the laws of the organisations and their member states, the bindingness of agreed commitments and laws, and dispute settlement.
With regards to the Southern African Trade Law subject, works of African scholars constitute the majority of the prescribed reading materials. The examination questions are also reflective of developments around regionalism in Southern Africa, with hypotheticals on how member states can navigate trade rules and obligations. In going forward, I intend to implement a number of approaches in enhancing the pedagogy of international economic law.
The AfCFTA-DSM will be nestled in a culture of African States that does no pursue formal settlement of trade disputes before judicial or quasi-judicial bodies. Given the dearth of core economic integration disputes before the African regional economic community courts; and, the failure of previous WTO-like DSM transplanted at the regional level, what potential if any, has the AfCFTA-DSM to chart a new course? Similarly, what can we garner about the culture of African States towards trade disputes?
The first seeming obstacle to the emergence of a single African market is the contradictions between the stated aims of AfCFTA and some of the principles set out in the AfCFTA Agreement. As noted earlier, AfCFTA’s objectives include creating “a single market” and laying “the foundations for the establishment of a Continental Customs Union”. Yet, one of the principles under Article 5 is “variable geometry”, that is, differentiated integration. Of course, variable geometry was designed to recognise the heterogeneity and diversity in Africa’s economies. However, a single market is not consistent with an a la carte approach, where members integrate at different speeds.