Economic Community of West African States

Symposium on the Economic Impacts of Data Localisation in Africa: The Economic Impact of Data Localisation Policies on Nigeria's Regional Trade Obligations

The unrestricted movement of data is a key enabler of the digital economy. However, the development of data protection and data localisation policies is becoming one major area of concern for international trade and investment. Among the mechanisms for protecting individuals is data localisation. This requires that data or a copy thereof (both personal and non-personal) should only be stored and processed locally and should not be exported for processing. The import of this, for instance, is that all data generated within Nigeria must be confined to the boundaries of Nigeria, effectively restricting the flow of data. While localisation of data has significant economic and social benefits, it is also associated with several unintended (negative) consequences, especially from an economic perspective. This is especially true for developing countries like Nigeria that is moving towards greater data localisation with several policies skewed in that direction. This contribution briefly examines the implications of Nigeria’s increasing move towards data localisation on its regional obligations for the promotion of free trade in Africa.

Mali Defaults on Bond Payments amid Regional Sanctions

Marking the first African sovereign debt default in the year 2022, UMOA-Titres, the West African market for government securities announced that Mali reneged on its obligation to service treasury bonds that matured on January 2022 in the value of the 15.6 billion CFA francs ($26.6 million). This is only one of a number of treasury bonds default projected to be in the total sum of over $31 million.

A Reflection on African Trade and Investment Wars in Context

In this essay, we center some of the intra-African trade wars in context. First, these trade and investment wars reveal the ways in which investors maneuver and respond to the hostile regulatory actions of a hegemon state by moving their investments to a friendlier economy. Our first example between Uganda falls into this category. In response to the actions of the Kenyan government, the investors secured market access in Zambia. Zambia thus became a beneficiary of the trade war between Uganda and Kenya. Second, the trade and investment wars bode well for the future of trade liberalization in Africa under the AfCFTA because this probably points to rising trade volumes between African states. Third, as we show in the context of the examples we discuss, the citizens of States that have taken the more hardline posture on the regulatory measure at the heart of the trade and investment war appear to be worse off in their capacity to generate sustained economic development. Fourth, in some cases, African trade and investment wars are caused by socio-economic conflicts. The xenophobic attacks in South-Africa are illustrative of this example. The xenophobic attacks often escalate to trade wars and retaliatory economic backlashes. Fifth and finally, we loop in the AfCFTA and arguethat the trade wars remain a threat to the realization of the promise of the AfCFTA.

Symposium on the CFA Franc Reform in West Africa: What Options for the Transition from the CFA Franc to the Eco?

The newfound freedom of speech vis-à-vis currency in the African franc zone, following the announcement on 21st December 2019 in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) of the imminent end of the CFA franc and its replacement by the Eco, brings to mind the “resurgence of repressed instincts” in psychoanalysis, in other words it is giving rise to every possible or imaginable excess, especially from the “25th hour” combatants, who are only now discovering that the CFA franc is not compatible with the emergence of French-speaking Africa.

Symposium on the CFA Franc Reform in West Africa: Tales of a (Not So) Great Sea Serpent: The Reform of the West African CFA Franc in Context

On 21 December 2019, the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Ivoirian President Alassane Ouattara announced a “reform” of the monetary cooperation relations between France and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). This reform comes with a transformation of the CFA Franc and takes place in the context of a single currency project of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The CFA Franc zone currently comprises of 14 sub-Saharan African countries belonging to two currency unions. [1] Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo are members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA),[2] established in 1994 on the foundations of the West African Monetary Union, itself created in 1973. The other six countries - Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad - are members of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). These two unions use the same currency, the CFA Franc, which stands for Communauté Financière Africaine (“African Financial Community”) in UEMOA and Coopération financière en Afrique centrale (“Financial Cooperation in Central Africa”) in CEMAC. Apart from Equatorial Guinea (Spanish) and Guinea Bissau (Portuguese), the other 12 countries have been French colonies (de facto or de jure).[3] The CFA Franc is issued by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) (for West Africa) and the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) (for Central Africa). Each of these currencies is legal tender only within its own region, thus not directly interchangeable.

Ambiguities in the AfCFTA Text: Red Herrings or Problems with Bearing on the Implementation of the AfCFTA

Its prudent to address questions having to do with the sequencing of the two Phases of the protocol and whether this sequencing was opted for practical reasons or if the ratification of the first set of the protocols is a precondition for the ratification of the second. The answer to this question will inter alia have implications on which States can participate in phase II negotiations and whether or not leapfrogging of protocols is a possibility for member States. Moreover, in light of the great appetite to realize the objectives of the AfCFTA and fast track trading under this instrument, it might be worth considering what incentives (price of entry) can be set to encourage early adopters.

Insecurity in Nigeria – Whither International Law?

Nigeria continues to play a leadership role in its engagement with international law at the global, continental and regional levels. Having ratified and acceded to numerous international law treaties and instruments, and further domesticating many of them, the question to be asked is whether these instruments continue to have any tangible impact on the development of law in Nigeria? The purpose of this short commentary is not to rehash what has already been written but as indicated already, to comment on the current impact of international law on the Nigerian state and legal system. Against the backdrop of the ongoing war on terrorism, this contribution intends to assess if international law, and the principles emanating therefrom, are of any relevance in the current state of insecurity in Nigeria.

Investment Governance in Africa to Support Climate Resilience and Decarbonization

African nations have only marginally contributed to global warming relative to developed and emerging economies in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. However, the African continent will bear a disproportionate burden of the negative impacts of climate change. Climate-related challenges like flooding, drought, and intense heat waves will increasingly confront the continent at a worsening rate. African nations should not be expected to take the lead in addressing a climate emergency they did not create. The priority for Africa is to receive support and investment to build resilience and adapt to climate impacts.

Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change through Marine Renewable Energy Development in Nigeria: Law, Issues and Prospects

This blog focuses on the legal and institutional framework for Marine Renewable Energy development in Nigeria. The blog examines Nigeria’s MRE potentials and how their maximization will assist Nigeria meet her climate change mitigation obligation under international climate regime. It further examines the possible impacts of exploring MRE sources in Nigeria and how this venture may co-exist with already existing uses of the sea and natural oceanic environment so as not to entirely alter the bio-diversity of the marine environment. It also examines emerging issues with MRE development in Nigeria. Finally, it makes suggestions on how Nigeria can develop an MRE legal framework that can balance all the competing interests.