The African Continent Free Trade Area (‘AfCFTA’) Protocol on Digital Trade (AfCFTA DTP) presents a significant opportunity to strengthen African digital solidarity. It could also advance a cohesive and strong African consensus and voice on digital trade regulation. This is especially significant, as Africa is relatively silent in global digital trade dialogues today. Building on the international law concept of international community and its African philosophical equivalent, Ubuntu, we offer a framing device to anchor digital solidarity and develop robust and inclusive Africa-centred digital trade norms. We first explore the relevance of community values in developing a regulatory framework for cross-border data flows in trade agreements, and then examine how shared values and digital solidarity can facilitate the development of a cohesive privacy and data protection regulatory framework in Africa.
Solidarity is an important principle that spans many areas of international law and policy such as human rights, trade, peace and security, criminal justice and environmental protection. In a landmark resolution, the UN Human Rights Council acknowledged that ‘[t]he same rights that people have offline must also be protected online’. This establishes a ‘normative equivalency’ between online and offline rights. Thus, for instance, the right to freedom of expression, safeguarded by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), is equally valid for online expression. This normative equivalency applies to the enjoyment of other human rights, including solidarity rights.
The Academic Forum is an inclusive and accessible forum that brings together undergraduate and graduate students as well as early career researchers from across the world interested in international economic law issues as they relate to Africa and the Global South. Its goals are to encourage and build core research skills in teaching, research, theory, methods and writing; developing content for Afronomicslaw.org and where possible to encourage authors to submit to the African Journal of International Economic Law; holding workshops and masterclasses on core research skills in teaching, research, theory, methods and writing; and organizing annual poster/essay competitions on international economic law issues.
This blog illustrates how excessive trust in and unaccountability of technological systems runs against digital transformation aims and argues that as an uncanny fixation on gains to be realised from technology becomes a mainstay, certain workings of technological development should not be overlooked.
This piece considers how the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR) can serve as a model for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Protocol on Digital Trade with respect to Electronic Transferable Record (ETRs).
This article consider the concept of digital and data sovereignty in Africa. It focuses on how the development of the digital economy can be effectively established in the African context, in light of Africa’s reliance on partnerships with third countries for internet access, and reliance on multinational service providers for access to consumer services with the digital economy.
This piece argues that digital trade is an essential developmental tool in a fast-paced world. However, to get the full value of digital trade, AfCFTA member-states must embrace the use of digital trade. This may be achieved by strategic design of the AfCFTA Protocol on E-commerce.
The fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is marked by an intensive digitalisation process. Within the process, digital data (physical information converted into digital) and digital technologies restructure how things are done and values are created. Various initiatives and strategies from the very recent AU Data Policy Framework to the Africa Digital Transformation Strategy (ADTS), the Smart Africa Manifesto and the E-Commerce Protocol of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is still under discussion, are intended to galvanize such processes. The regulatory disparity, coupled with the path-dependent asymmetric relationship between actors shapes the degree of leverage they might have over the operation and outcome of such connectivity.
The organising committee invites the submission of abstracts (max. 300 words) or full papers (max.5000 words) from researchers and practitioners in the fields of international trade, development, finance and investment. All abstracts should be formatted to facilitate the review process.