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.
This blog post focuses on the Agreement for the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the implications for the evolution of lex mercatoria in Africa. This blog post is primarily based on a recent paper by Chisa Onyejekwe and Eghosa Ekhator titled ‘AfCFTA and Lex Mercatoria: Reconceptualizing International Trade Law in Africa’. The paper argues that some of the major innovations embedded in the AfCFTA (such as variable geometry and dispute settlement amongst others) form the crux of an emerging African practice of lex mercatoria. Consequently, the creation of AfCFTA has engendered what can be termed as an emerging concept of ‘Lex Mercatoria Africana’. In the context of the AfCFTA, this is exemplified by the notion that the AfCFTA explicitly promotes African trade principles.
For the AfCFTA to succeed will require more than its regulatory framework; a supporting framework is also required and this is found in what Douglass North has termed “mental models”. Mental models are the necessary norms and beliefs of policy makers - their perceptions of the world around them.