Africa Law Institute :: Research Programme
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Globalization, Trade Policy and Law

As is the case for other developing regions of the world, the emphasis on international trade liberalization and the development of export markets in the past few decades has increased the importance of foreign trade to African countries. In this era during which we continue to witness the proliferation of international trade agreements and tribunals, the ascendancy of far-reaching multi-lateral institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the concomitant decline in Africa's share of world trade because of an export deficit, it is important that African governments and private businesses obtain advice and training on how best to maximize gains from the continent's participation in the processes of international economic integration. This aspect of the Institute's research program will identify the legal issues at stake for Africa and the policy postures in international fora most compatible with Africa's development objectives and interests.

In addition, under this research theme, the Institute’s researchers will examine how to strengthen Africa's capacity to deal with issues arising from multilateral institutions such as the WTO. It has been noted that many African countries do not have the requisite human capacity to fully participate in agenda setting (that is, treaty negotiations) at the international level. This has reduced most of African countries to what Edward Kwakwa calls 'paradigm-receiving states' as compared to the industrialized 'paradigm-setting states'. This situation needs to change if Africa's interests in multilateral institutions are to be adequately safeguarded.

Similarly, many African states lack the human and financial resources to take advantage of the dispute settlement systems fashionable in multilateral institutions. Hence, there is a strong need for a continent-wide capacity building program/training mechanism to address these deficiencies. The Institute will serve as a host for collaboration with other non-governmental organizations, sub-regional, regional and global institutions to enable the transfer to Africa of knowledge, expertise and experience available from other parts of the world.


Judicial Reform and Legal Training

2. Globalization, Trade Policy and Law

Women and the Law


Africa and Sustainable Development


Politics, Institutions and Civil Society


Africa and Private Sector Development