I am delighted to introduce the book symposium on my new monograph titled Sovereign Debt Restructuring: The Role and Limits of Public International Law. Unfortunately, the time could not be riper to discuss the role played by international law in sovereign debt restructuring. In fact, as a consequence of the ongoing economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is facing a new systemic sovereign debt crisis.
This new Continental Free Trade bloc is now entrusted with the competence to engage other FTA Blocs such as the European Union (EU), North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) and Association of South Eastern Nations (ASEAN), on trade policy from an Afri-Centric perspective - the essence of Afri-Multilateralism. Hitherto, the various national governments across the Continent had engaged global trade from the prism of nationalistic interests but this new paradigm affords Africa, for the first time, an opportunity to engage on trans-Sahara, trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific negotiations on an equal footing, and not under the auspices of 'emerging countries' or LDCs.
Noting the challenges in implementation of commitments under this Agreement by developing and least developed countries, I argue that there is potential for Customs administrations to act as conduits for WTO TFA implementation through their reform and modernisation initiatives. To demonstrate the feasibility of this approach, I highlight the achievements realised through Customs reforms and modernisation by Lesotho in the area of trade facilitation.
It has become increasingly clear with the unfolding of the EPA events that the failure of the Community to achieve basic set out objectives lies deeper than the merits of the projects embarked on. As it has not proved efficient to hold each Partner State to their commitments to the Community at all times, it is necessary to address the systemic weaknesses that allow unconstructive concerns to permeate well-intended goals.
The AfCFTA will continue to face a number of risks that threaten to impede continental integration in favour of fragmentation. Of interest to this post are bilateral trade agreements between African countries, individually or in smaller groups, on the one hand, and non-African countries or regions, on the other.
February 4, 2019
Africa is currently at a risk of reaching the zenith of bilateralism/regionalism in terms of the number of regional trade agreements (RTAs) present in the continent. Yet the advantages of close economic integration have not yet been adequately witnessed in African Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs). Moreover, it is generally the case that each African state is a member to at least two or more RTAs. This has created the quintessential spaghetti bowl on the continent.