Africa Law Institute :: Research Programme
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Africa and the Sustainable Development Challenge

The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa brought together over 21,000 delegates from governmental and non-governmental entities all over the world to discuss strategies for the further implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda agreed upon in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

The Johannesburg Summit was an important milestone in the systematic integration of environment and development concerns given that since 1972 when protection of the environment became an issue of international concern, there has been a deep divide between developed and developing countries regarding the appropriate allocation of responsibility for environmental problems, and the way forward in their resolution. In Johannesburg, economic development, environmental protection and social development were agreed by all to be coequal objectives of sustainable development. Significantly, this represents the first time that the international community has adopted a meaning of sustainable development that bridged the North/South divide. Africa is certainly faced with major sustainable development challenges arising from the abject poverty of her people, the scourge of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, desertification, deforestation, irresponsible and unaccountable governments, etc.

Under this aspect of our research program, we will study how the continent’s legal systems and legal norms could contribute to the realization of sustainable economic development in Africa, that is to say, development that is not confined to the pursuit of economic growth, but that also pays equal regard to the distributional consequences of growth while safeguarding and enhancing the environmental base upon which all growth depends.


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