United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

NEWS: 10.15.2021

The News and Events published every week include conferences, major developments in the field of International Economic Law in Africa at the national, sub-regional and regional levels as well as relevant case law.

Tenth Sovereign Debt News Update: IMF Fund Disbursement and Monitoring

The African Sovereign Debt Justice Network brings to you an update of African sovereign debt news and updates on events and happenings on and about Africa that reveal how sovereign debt issues are engaged by the various stakeholders.

Low Levels of Customs Officials’ Awareness: A Recipe for Underutilization of AfCFTA

There is need for Customs administrations in Africa to evolve from gate-keeping role and enforcement of policies on behalf of other government departments, to being active contributors in the policy-making initiatives. Customs officials involved in manning ports of entry should be involved in assessing the practicality of certain trade measures like Rules of Origin as well as making contribution on how best to enforce the regional trade arrangements. This could involve the relevant trade Ministers involved in the regional negotiations consulting with Customs administrations on the best approach to design the measures that would directly require Customs enforcement.

Commodity Dependency, GVC development and Industrial Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa

The brief discussions in this blog post highlight critical aspects of the contemporary dynamics of commodity dependence that challenge the optimism of the GVCD approach as espoused by multilateral development agencies and the WTO. Moreover, it raises further questions on the political economy of commodity dependency and industrial policy in SSA that deserve attention.

Compulsory Licensing: The Key to Accessing the Future COVID-19 Vaccine?

Following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the surge in global demand for essential COVID-19 products has resulted in a boom in trade in medical goods. With over 14 million infections and over 600,000 fatalities and counting across the globe, many governments have introduced restrictions and bans on the export of medical products. These measures have affected the supply chains of medical goods across the globe. This pandemic has been a vivid reminder of how intricately linked all our destinies are. There must be a coordinated global response – no one country can afford to adopt beggar-thy-neighbour policies. Thus, to contain this virus, every global citizen must be able to access relevant treatment and preventative medication.

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.

Towards an African Approach to Free Trade in the Post-COVID-19 Era

The Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA is far more than just a trade agreement. It embodies long-held aspirations for an integrated Africa which, in the words of Ghana’s first Prime Minister and President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, would be better equipped to “tackle hopefully every emergency, every enemy and every complexity.” As one of the flagship projects of the AU’s Agenda 2063, the free trade initiative is envisioned as a pathway to an African renaissance in both economic and cultural terms. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the AfCFTA could integrate 55 African Union (AU) member states in a market of about 1.2 billion people with an estimated gross domestic product of US $ 2.5 trillion. Moreover, the area is expected to reflect the continent’s “common identity by celebrating our history and our vibrant culture.”