Building capacity to help Africa trade better


Leveraging Technology and Innovation for Africa’s Growth

14 Jun 2021 ~ Monica Werimo
The rise of digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), 3D printing, and blockchain technology all stand to significantly impact trade costs an...read more

The proposed TRIPS Waiver to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic

07 Jun 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
In early October 2020, India and South Africa presented a proposal to the TRIPS Council requesting a temporary waiver from the implementation, application, and enforcement of the Agreement...read more

Making the AfCFTA and the RECs work

03 Jun 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are the official pillars of the African Economic Community (AEC). The AEC Treaty (the Abuja Treaty) came into force in May 1994. It provides for th...read more

Are FTAs making a Comeback? In what Guise and with what Rules?

03 Jun 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
In the 1990s there were major concerns about how preferential trade agreements with specific membership configurations would undermine the multilateral trading system embodied in the WTO. ...read more

Economic Integration is a Challenge: Can Variable Geometry help?

03 Jun 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Trade Liberalisation and economic integration are a process. When sovereign states embark on the road to form Free Trade Areas (FTAs) and customs unions (CUs) they must agree on the extent...read more

REC Integration Approaches and their Implications

03 Jun 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The traditional approach to economic integration in Africa has become increasingly complex. It lacks focus and feasibility. It might be time to take a hard look at the evidence and revisit...read more

Digital nomads – Remote work visas for SA?

31 May 2021 ~ David Christianson
The recent call by the Western Cape government for South Africa to introduce a one-year remote working visa to boost the tourism industry, has implications which go a long way beyond a sma...read more

Illicit Trade Patterns in East and Southern Africa

25 May 2021 ~ David Christianson
Illicit trading along Africa’s Indian Ocean coastline presents a seemingly intractable set of problems. The sheer range of products, the number of entry points and trade routes, and the ...read more

Commemorating Africa Day – 2021

25 May 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus, Trudi Hartzenberg
Today is Africa Day. How should it be commemorated in the year 2021 and how should this occasion be used to tackle the crises of our times? Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and Af...read more

Trade remedies and trade disputes: the case of the US-EU large aircraft dispute, and how these disputes can offer opportunities for South Africa’s wine exports to the United States

26 Apr 2021 ~ Eckart Naumann
One of the primary intentions of WTO laws is to create a more even and fair playing field with respect to trade between WTO member states, and to ensure that trade takes place on a general...read more

Regional Economic Communities and the AfCFTA Investment Protocol

16 Apr 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The legal regimes of the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs)[1] recognised by the AfCFTA Agreement as building blocks of the African Continental Free Trade Area will not disappear w...read more

How will the AfCFTA Investment Protocol work?

16 Apr 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
International investment agreements (IIAs) are international legal instruments that address issues relevant to cross-border investments, usually for the purpose of protecting, promoting, a...read more

The International Regulation of Investment is not a recent Phenomenon

16 Apr 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Investment matters have been on the international agenda for a long time but there is no multilateral investment treaty. Post-World War II discussions included investment issues. The propo...read more

Design and Architecture of the AfCFTA Investment Protocol

16 Apr 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The international legal instrument to be adopted as the AfCFTA Protocol on Investment will constitute a binding international agreement for the AU Member States that have ratified this ins...read more

Cameroon signs an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the United Kingdom

15 Apr 2021 ~ Cham Etienne Bama
On the 9 March 2021 in London, the High Commissioner of Cameroon to the United Kingdom (UK) His Excellency Albert Fotabong Njoteh and the UK International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena ...read more

Exploring Southern Africa’s battery mineral potential

15 Apr 2021 ~ David Christianson
Almost all of the emerging green economy’s high-demand minerals are found in abundance in Southern Africa. Indeed, the region dominates both current supply and known reserves for two of ...read more

The WTO Secretariat under new Leadership

23 Mar 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
On 1 March 2021, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria took office as the seventh Director-General (DG) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). She is the first woman and the first African to...read more

An Investment Protocol for the AfCFTA

23 Mar 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The negotiations for the adoption of the Phase II Protocols of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) have started. These legal instruments will cover investment, intellectual pr...read more

The Relationship between Investment and Mode Three of Trade in Services – implications for the AfCFTA negotiations

23 Mar 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus, Trudi Hartzenberg
The market for investors is an increasingly competitive one. Investors are better informed about conditions in host countries. Companies seeking to expand their global presence will assess...read more

Addressing a key bottleneck to broadband development in South Africa – spectrum auction falls at first hurdle

22 Mar 2021 ~ David Christianson
When the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) announced the spectrum auction in September 2020, it was widely hailed as a critical measure to eliminate the main bot...read more

Citrus Black Spot (CBS) after Brexit

17 Mar 2021 ~ Abrie du Plessis
Citrus black spot (CBS) is a fungal disease that affects the rind of a citrus fruit. This causes lesions but does not result in fruit decay. The causative agent is the fungal pathogen Phyl...read more

Gender-Responsiveness in Trade Agreements – how does the AfCFTA fare?

17 Mar 2021 ~ Lolita Laperle-Forget
Gender mainstreaming in free trade agreements is becoming an increasingly common practice.[1] This involves including provisions to address the specific needs of women and implementing agr...read more

How Should the AfCFTA Approach ICT Infrastructure Regulation?

17 Mar 2021 ~ John Stuart
The importance of the digital economy in the 21st Century cannot be overstated. From a means of improving information dissemination, to a vehicle for electronic commerce, to a facilitator ...read more

Blockchain-Driven Trade Technologies and the Potential Benefits for African Trade

21 Feb 2021 ~ John Stuart
Just over two years ago, tralac published a blog about the potential of blockchain (also referred to as distributed ledger technologies (DLT)) for trade in Africa[1]. This blog is an updat...read more

Trade under AfCFTA Rules started on 1 January 2021, but hard work lies ahead

10 Feb 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus, Trudi Hartzenberg
At its 13th Extra Ordinary Session held virtually in Johannesburg on 5 December 2020, the Assembly of the African Union (AU) announced that trade in goods under the AfCFTA will start from ...read more

Will 2021 see African Governments negotiating with External Partners?

10 Feb 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The conclusion of trade agreements between African States and third parties is an important matter. Only 16% of the goods produced in Africa are sold in Africa. This indicates that more th...read more

Speculating about Phase II of the AfCFTA Negotiations

10 Feb 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus, Trudi Hartzenberg
The negotiations to adopt the AfCFTA’s Phase II Protocols are being launched and Phase III negotiations should be concluded by 31 December 2021[1]. Phase II will cover investment, intell...read more

The AfCFTA Secretariat: Is the Action now in Accra?

10 Feb 2021 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The Assembly of the African Union (AU) met virtually in Johannesburg on 5 December 2020 and adopted several important decisions about interim trade arrangements, the completion of the AfCF...read more

AfCFTA Phase II and III Negotiations – Update

10 Feb 2021 ~ Talkmore Chidede
The scope of the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment, intellectual property rights (IPRs) and compe...read more

South Africa’s implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement: customs arrangements and technicalities

10 Feb 2021 ~ Willemien Viljoen
Trading under the AfCFTA was set to begin on 1 January 2021. South Africa with the rest of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU – Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Namibia) submitte...read more


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