African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA)

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.

Technological Innovation and COVID-19: Lessons for the AfCFTA

To ensure that innovative capacity is developed on the continent, it is pertinent to promote regional innovation. As a starting point, negotiators of the AfCFTA may consider including in the text appropriate provisions that will allow the collaboration and nurturing of innovative capacity in Africa. Open innovation is an approach that meets the needs of Africa and is worth considering.

AfCFTA: An emergent concept of ‘Lex Mercatoria Africana’?

This blog post focuses on the Agreement for the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the implications for the evolution of lex mercatoria in Africa. This blog post is primarily based on a recent paper by Chisa Onyejekwe and Eghosa Ekhator titled ‘AfCFTA and Lex Mercatoria: Reconceptualizing International Trade Law in Africa’. The paper argues that some of the major innovations embedded in the AfCFTA (such as variable geometry and dispute settlement amongst others) form the crux of an emerging African practice of lex mercatoria. Consequently, the creation of AfCFTA has engendered what can be termed as an emerging concept of ‘Lex Mercatoria Africana’. In the context of the AfCFTA, this is exemplified by the notion that the AfCFTA explicitly promotes African trade principles.

A Tale of the Tended Garden: AfCFTA’s Nudge to Look Inward

On March 9 2018, the African Union Ministers of Trade approved the Declaration establishing the Agreement establishing African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA); a move that marked the creation of the largest Free Trade Area in the World. The Agreement seeks to create a single market for goods, services and movement of persons and investment among African countries thereby fostering intra-African trade, facilitating structural transformation of African economies and promoting sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development across the African continent. Whether this would turn out to be a significant positive development within the continent may largely depend on whether the broader issue is addressed- The continuous inclination of African States to explore the forest rather than tend the garden.

The ‘Fourth Way’? WTO Dual Notification of the AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Goods

August 2008. [8] See Committee on Regional Trade Agreements, Gulf Cooperation Council Customs Union – Notification from Saudi Arabia, WTO Doc. WT/REG222/N/1, 20 November 2006. See also WTO Doc. WT/REG276/N/1 (8 October 2009) and WTO Doc. WT/REG276/N/1/Rev.1 (17 November 2009). [9] See Committee on Regional Trade Agreements, WTO Doc. WT/REG286/N/1, 1 July 2010; and Committee on Trade and Development, WTO Doc.

Full Agreement or Interim Agreement? In Search of a Pathway for WTO Notification for the AfCFTA

Considering the ambition of the AfCFTA for deep integration, aiming at liberalizing trade in goods, services, investment, intellectual property, competition and e-commerce, and to guarantee that compliance schedules are absolute results of negotiated arrangements among African countries as opposed to the superintendence and policing of the WTO, this essay suggests that a Full Agreement pathway to notification should be considered.

Technology, Innovation, Solidarity, COVID-19 and Lessons for the AfCFTA: A Brief Outline

Halting the rapid transmission of COVID-19 and reversing the trend of consequential global distress is a global concern and goal. As the WHO has rightly pointed out, this goal is only achievable when everyone, everywhere can access the health technologies they need for COVID-19 detection, prevention, treatment and response. This highlights the importance of international cooperation and solidarity for restoring global health security, now and for the future.

The IEL Collective Symposium III: Reimagining International Economic Law for Sustainable Development

Currently, the world finds itself at a crisis point. The global health pandemic caused by COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we live, how we run our economies and even, how we teach and research IEL. In the post-COVID world, old rules and games may not apply any more. The scholarly interventions presented in the IEL Collective symposia offers tools for a new, pragmatic internationalism – one based on critical reflection, methodological diversity and contributes towards the development of a more holistic landscape of scholarship on law and the governance of the global economy.

Oded Besserglik v. Republic of Mozambique, or when a victory is ‘pyrrhic’

The Award in Oded Besserglik v. Republic of Mozambique, one of the very few publicly known intra African treaty-based investment arbitration cases, was issued 29th October 2019. The case started when in March 2014, a South African national (Mr. Besserglik) filed an application, before the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), against the Mozambique (the Respondent) on the grounds that his shares and interests in a joint fishing venture with some Mozambican State-owned enterprises, as well as his vessels, were unlawfully and fraudulently appropriated by the Respondent.

Human Rights Compatibility of Trade in WASH Services in the African Continental Free Trade Area

The main goal of the international HRWS is to prioritise universal access to safe, affordable, accessible, adequate water and sanitation, including hygiene services. The human rights framework also has procedural requirements to ensure non-discrimination, public participation, transparency and accountability and the extraterritorial obligation to do no harm in the governance of WASH services. Water is understood as having diverse characteristics being simultaneously an economic, social, cultural, political and ecological good. This multiplicity of framings complicates the localization and mainstreaming of the HRWS in relevant institutions at various levels of governance, from the international to the local.