Economic Development

AfCFTA, Technical Assistance and the Reproduction of Western-Style IP Norms in Africa

While WIPO’s technical assistance programme has been seen as less biased than much of the bilateral assistance on offer from the EU and the US, the history that Africa has with WIPO concerning cooperation in the provision of IP technical assistance can be said to have led to the introduction of Western-style IP norms across the continent. Our leaders and negotiators, therefore, need to proceed with caution in negotiating the AfCFTA IP protocol and the kind of technical assistance they receive. They must consult broadly and court the services of African scholars and experts on the matter.

Financial regulatory reform to mitigate against predatory lending practices in Africa

Africa's financial sector is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years; with projections, financial technology services, notably digital credit, are expected to expand to a USD 150 billion business by 2022. However, the rapid proliferation of financial services and products, notably micro-finance and digital credit, has led to a worrying trend of predatory lending practices over the past twenty years. This trend may negatively impact Africa's economic development objectives in the long run, while exploiting its most vulnerable.

Where are all the T-Shaped International Lawyers?: Thoughts on Critical Teaching from a Practitioner’s Perspective

Traditional international law (IL) teaching and research has reached an inflection point (TRILA Report, 24).  Content-wise it has long been monopolised by the usual suspects: sources of law, treaties, statehood, territory, jurisdiction and specific values such as universality and equality among states. The most conservative IL scholars will smirk at the thought of alternative ‘transnational’ or ‘Third World’ approaches to IL. To be fair to them, lawyers are fond of compartmentalising. We have those that do private law, public law, human rights, international economic law, law and development, business and human rights law, health law, dispute resolution law, to name a few. Yet as the current pandemic is showing this type of boxed thinking cannot provide the tools for meaningful teaching and research about today’s legal conundrums. We live in an uncertain world in which one issue can raise a myriad of legal problems that straddle multiple fields of law.

Flexibility and Innovation in International Economic Law: Enhancing Rule of Law, Inclusivity, and Resilience in the Time of COVID-19

This article will briefly examine this dynamic across three interconnected dimensions:  (1) flexibility and innovation in IEL agreement models, with a focus on trade agreements, that better integrate economic and social development goals and allow parties to adapt to new circumstances or phase in commitments on a more incremental basis; (2) flexibility in implementation of trade disciplines and agreements; and (3) legal and regulatory innovation that can both define and flow from IEL agreements.  These three dimensions take into account both treaties themselves and how they relate to changes in law and regulation in practice, drawing a link between international agreements and their operation that is particularly important in times of change or uncertainty.  In assessing dimension three, legal and regulatory innovation, which has been a focus of my work over the past decade,

Adopting a Universal Tax Regime for Outer Space Exploration

For decades, humans have been drawn to space exploration for scientific, security and commercial purposes. Private companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin have undertaken daring projects to commercialize outer space, including tourism, mining space resources and establishing installations and even extra-terrestrial habitats. The allocation of the benefits from outer space is a highly disputed issue, from the early days of space exploration to date. We believe that the issue of taxation, hardly discussed so far, is vital when considering the proper distribution of space benefits

Post-pandemic Opportunities for Strengthening The Fiscal Social Contract In Nigeria

The quality of public service delivery has been shown to affect tax non-compliance in an important way. Among other issues that have been attributed to low tax revenues in Nigeria, the State of the fiscal social contract can be said to be the single most important underlying cause. While there remains a depth of systemic issues to be resolved in order to rebuild the broken links in the fiscal social contract properly, the predicted post-pandemic impact on digital communication and business provides Nigeria with the opportunity to leverage on digital growth and engagement to bargain a stronger social contract, particularly with its largest demographic.

Digital Pathways for Fostering Post-COVID-19 Trade Outcomes

This blog aims to present some of the challenges being faced within Africa’s trade landscape and some of the workable policy instruments for overcoming these barriers in the digital post-COVID-19 age. In other words, the broad objective is to propose innovative solutions for enhancing post-COVID-19 economic resilience across businesses and households in a sustainable fashion.

The Role of International Financial Institutions in Law and Development During Pandemics: A Focus on the World Bank in Developing Economies

The importance of law in development discourse, especially in times of global crises as captured under Sustainable Development Goal 16 is a critical factor in establishing and maintaining the rule of law by empowering the most vulnerable persons and groups in society to exercise their fundamental human rights against unfettered legal regimes and political leadership.

Fighting the COVID-19 Today: A Reflection on Positioning the AfCFTA for the Future

The world of commerce after this pandemic will change significantly and controlled by those countries and blocs whose industries, research, trade and technology are robustly resourced and positioned to take advantage of the new market of knowledge, utilities and essential commodities of life. Access to trade finance is predicted to be the fundamental contrasting issue between developed and developing countries. Trade facilitation to move value-added products and services more efficiently across borders to other parts of the world must inform the thinking and planning of governments in the short and medium-term.