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,
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
Although COVID-19 is currently making IAT difficult due to restrictions placed on the movement of people and goods, the pandemic justifies enhanced IAT. The situation helps Africa realize the benefits of IAT due to the trade restrictions put in place by our major trading partners who are mainly outside Africa. Most of all, it will help Africa appreciate the good in initiatives put in place to enhance IAT.
As this article focuses on comparative legal research, before choosing to employ it, it is critical to understand what it constitutes. Hoecke notes that, ‘researchers get easily lost when embarking on a comparative legal research. The main reason being that there is no agreement on the kind of methodology to be followed, nor even on the methodologies that could be followed’. According to Paris the lack of definition of what comparative law is, or what the method of comparative law is has exacerbated the situation.
Colonial powers reshaped the economies to extract resources for export to the metropole while creating an import dependency for consumables. This legacy transformed these economies and their indigenous institutions and power. Locals were brutalized and deprived of meaningful economic opportunities.
Intra Africa trade remains at its lowest ebb and perhaps this sad state of affairs can only be remedied by the actualization of the envisaged Africa Economic Community (AEC). To this extent RIAs, such as those under study in this paper, offer viable building blocks and learning curves for negotiating in the much larger multilateral trade system.
Even setting aside funding issues, the failure to creatively blend the dispute settlement mechanisms that already exist at the sub-regional level with what has worked with disputes in the global trading system is perhaps the biggest handicap the new dispute settlement system established by the AfCFTA is likely to suffer. There is certainly no harm in trying to out this system, but because most of the experience and expertise in handling trade disputes and matters has been at the sub-regional level, the new AfCFTA Dispute Resolution Mechanism has a lot to learn from the sub-regional level.