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.
We recognise that the current proposal is limited in resolving the longer-term debt burden of developing countries. The stay of enforcement does not introduce any changes in the substantive obligations contracted by the parties. Thus, the standstill will only temporarily suspend the execution and enforcement of eligible financial obligations during the designated period. Meanwhile, interest on the principal will continue to accrue. The proposal is also meant to be used as a ‘shield’ rather than a ‘sword’, i.e. the stay will only be triggered as a defence by the sovereign debtor in the event of a claim against it by a private creditor.
In this post, I will reflect on the logics that have obscured innovation namely, international intellectual property law and formal organization of innovation through ‘national innovation systems’. These two combine under the banner of legal modernization and economic growth, and have collectively undermined innovation that does not fit into their premises.
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights seeks a Program Officer in the International Advocacy & Litigation program to coordinate and execute the organization’s work throughout North and sub-Saharan Africa partnering with human rights defenders to protect civic space through advocacy, strategic litigation, and technical assistance.
Fox and Bakhoum’s fairly broad analysis focusing on West, East, and Southern African countries brings to fore the real challenges at play in Africa. It is a fragmented, stratified yet at times vertically united legal and policy landscape. While they observe the need for convergence of competition law at the continental or regional level, they note the different states of developmental progress among sub-Saharan African countries hence concede the need for the fragmented approach
Fox and Bakhoum contextualize competition law by describing (in chapters 2 and 3) the structure and other key characteristic of markets in numerous African countries, including the economic and political history of those countries and their markets, as well as the legacies of colonization and decolonization – and by highlighting more broadly the economic challenges and needs of the people of Africa.