The book provides a study of regionalism in the context of Africa and investigates the various ways in which law can be used to address the particular issues raised by regional schemes across the continent. Given the relatively slow pace and the apparent failure which seem to have characterised regional initiatives in Africa to date, this study is intended to contribute to the search for effective methods to ensure the success of those initiatives. This is conducted through the contemplation of the role that law can play to help achieve the various objectives assigned to regional schemes in the context of the Treaty of Abuja.
African Economic Community
The book is centered on the thesis that "Regional Developmentalism is the most suitable conceptual framework to support the effective establishment of an African Economic Community.” The African Economic Community is the continental trading system contemplated by the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Some have argued the African Continental Free Trade Agreement fulfills the free trade integration stage contemplated by the Abuja Treaty.
Africa boasts of at least eight RECs (or potential and existing FTAs) recognised by the AU, one emerging TFTA, and, a budding AfCFTA. All these efforts are meant to lead to the realisation of the AEC
In the specific context of the AfCFTA, (international economic) law is supposed to focus on producing rules designed to promote trade liberalisation by eliminating any constraints that are likely to prevent the flow of capital across the continent and to restrict the growth of business activities well as their expansion across national borders.
The first seeming obstacle to the emergence of a single African market is the contradictions between the stated aims of AfCFTA and some of the principles set out in the AfCFTA Agreement. As noted earlier, AfCFTA’s objectives include creating “a single market” and laying “the foundations for the establishment of a Continental Customs Union”. Yet, one of the principles under Article 5 is “variable geometry”, that is, differentiated integration. Of course, variable geometry was designed to recognise the heterogeneity and diversity in Africa’s economies. However, a single market is not consistent with an a la carte approach, where members integrate at different speeds.
February 4, 2019
The AU’s focus should be to design the AfCFTA investment protocol as an instrument that will treat all investors equally, and that will also foster harmonisation at continental level from the top down. My argument is still valid although my solution will not resolve questions such as divergent policies and views with regard to whether investor state disputes should be referred to arbitration or litigation. Central to this issue is that African states have different levels of the rule of law. This means that under circumstances where the rule of law is poor, obliging investors to refer disputes to the courts of a host state riks denial of justice.