In this presentation, I have argued that the current national conflict of laws regimes to resolve intra-African private cross-border commercial disputes are not fit for purpose. They must be reformed to enable them to deliver on the goals of the AfCFTA. One can expect an increase in private cross-border commercial disputes arising from increased intra-African trade with the implementation of the AfCFTA. It would be unfortunate if all the efforts of member states and the AfCFTA Secretariate are devoted to developing AfCFTA’s inter-state dispute resolution mechanism, and little or nothing is done about the legal framework for resolving cross-border private commercial disputes. This is because most of the trade transactions under AfCFTA would involve private business entities. Their rights need to be protected to ensure certainty and predictability for them.
The book traces the evolution of regionalism and regional integration on the continent, from the Organization of African Unity through to the African Union but, unlike earlier treatises on regionalism, Bashi Rudahindwa rightly places emphasis on the role of the legal framework. He draws comparisons with other regional economic integration projects: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Common Market of the Southern Cone (MERCOSUR), the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the European Union (EU), to argue for greater emphasis in the AU on capacity building, and the need to utilize law to support regulatory and institutional frameworks to facilitate trade and industrialization, and interventionist measures aimed at promoting structural transformation.