Building capacity to help Africa trade better


Services Are the New Economy

26 Oct 2019 ~ John Stuart
As the digitalisation of the global economy progresses, the value size of the services economy relative to the ‘real’ economy is steadily rising. Before computers and the internet, ser...read more

Africa’s Digital Connectivity Dividend in Waiting

26 Oct 2019 ~ John Stuart
“We have to be able to provide infrastructure and digital connectivity to the lowest common denominator at the most affordable price if we really want digital transformation to transform...read more

Creating a Single African Market on Trade in Services: Negotiating the Schedules of Specific Commitments under the Protocol on Trade in Services

26 Oct 2019 ~ Beatrice Chaytor
Introduction The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an economic game-changer for Africa. A major aim of this ambitious effort is the expansion of intra-African trade by lower...read more

AfCFTA Trade in Services – A general guide and issues for negotiations on Mutual Recognition Agreements

26 Oct 2019 ~ Viola Sawere
Business services sector, which include professional services, has been prioritised under the ongoing negotiations on schedules of specific commitments in the context of the African Contin...read more

The AfCFTA Approach to Mutual Recognition

26 Oct 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
For the liberalization of trade service to materialize to the extent that service suppliers can reap the associated benefits in the sectors recognized under the AfCFTA, there should be arr...read more

Cooperation on financial regulation under the AfCFTA: Where should member-states focus their efforts?

26 Oct 2019 ~ Ashly Hope (Volunteer)
The Modalities and Guidelines adopted for services sector negotiations under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are unlikely to lead to significant increases in financial ser...read more

What is the AfCFTA Approach to the Regulation of Trade in Services?

26 Oct 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Services is a first endeavour to liberalize intra-African trade in services. For several States the task at hand is a novel one.  It involves deeper go...read more

How Similar are Africa’s Exporters? Implications for the AfCFTA

16 Oct 2019 ~ John Stuart
Africa is a continent of great diversity, perhaps more so than any other of the continents. It is a continent richly endowed with resources and these endowments have long formed the basis ...read more

How Similar are Africa’s Trade Regimes? Implications for the AfCFTA

16 Oct 2019 ~ John Stuart
The regional grouping of Africa – both its continental and island states – is a large and diversified bloc of countries. Within this region are multiple regional economic communities (...read more

South Africa’s submission on UNCITRAL ISDS reforms: Comments and implications

16 Oct 2019 ~ Talkmore Chidede
Introduction Investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) has in recent years been criticised for its systematic imbalances, as well as inconsistent, flawed and excessive arbitral awards, amo...read more

The United Kingdom Supreme Court annuls the suspension of Parliament: What are the implications for Brexit?

07 Oct 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Brexit has rewritten many of the rules of the game for British politics and constitutional law. It has just added another chapter of major importance to this saga. On 24 September 2019, th...read more

The Institutions of the African Continental Free Trade Area

13 Sep 2019 ~
Free Trade Areas (FTAs) need institutions to oversee, promote and monitor the implementation of obligations by the State Parties. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) esta...read more

Implementing Trade Agreements: The Role of National Institutions and Administrative Law

13 Sep 2019 ~
Trade and regional integration agreements must be implemented by the State Parties in order to make a difference. Who performs this function and what is the legal basis for the domestic im...read more

South Africa withdraws its Signature from the Decision to abolish the SADC Tribunal

13 Sep 2019 ~
Changes to institutional arrangements can happen in unexpected ways and as a result of governments’ new policies. The correct procedure is to follow the formal procedures for adopting am...read more

The Bretton Woods System at 75

13 Sep 2019 ~
Seventy five years ago, in July 1944, while World War II was still raging, delegates from all 44 Allied nations gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in the United States, for the Unit...read more

The Institutional Implications of Article 19 of the AfCFTA – where do the Regional Economic Communities fit in?

13 Sep 2019 ~
Article 19(2) of the AfCFTA Agreement provides that “State Parties that are members of other regional economic communities, regional trading arrangements and custom unions, which have at...read more

The SACU Institutions that never were

13 Sep 2019 ~
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is a customs union (CU) and is in operation since 1910. It has a single customs territory and a Common External Tariff (CET). SACU is also an Inte...read more

What is happening to the WTO?

13 Sep 2019 ~
Freedom of trade and equal market access were central to the plans for reconstructing the post World War II international order. International peace had to be secured through, amongst othe...read more

The Institutional Arrangements of the Tripartite Free Trade Area

13 Sep 2019 ~
To a large extent, the launch of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) in June 2015 ushered in a new institutional approach towards intra-African trade and integration.[1] ...read more

AGOA Forum 2019: Reflections and new developments

12 Sep 2019 ~ Eckart Naumann
The 2019 AGOA Forum took place early August in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, under the banner of “AGOA and the Future: Developing a new trade paradigm to guide US-Africa trade and investmen...read more

An update on the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement by African countries as of July 2019

01 Aug 2019 ~ Talkmore Chidede
This blog provides an update of the ratification and implementation status of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) by African countries as of July 2019.[1]...read more

Leveraging the Trade Information Dividend for Africa

01 Aug 2019 ~ John Stuart
In the world of economics and trade, information is key. Economists refer to the ‘making’ of markets, which means the way in which market players come together to create a market for a...read more

tralac’s Message on Mandela Day 2019: Good Governance and the State

18 Jul 2019 ~ Trudi Hartzenberg, Gerhard Erasmus
Mandela Day serves to remind and inspire us to strive for social justice. This is the complex and multi-faceted challenge to adopt policies and strategies for addressing poverty and inequa...read more

Does the African Continental Free Trade Area mean business?

12 Jul 2019 ~ Trudi Hartzenberg, Gerhard Erasmus
When a large number of sovereign states launch an ambitious new free trade project and conclude binding treaties to signal their resolve, we should pay attention. If these are African stat...read more

Dispute Settlement in the African Continental Free Trade Area

11 Jul 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
When national Parliaments received reports from the Executive about the outcomes of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) negotiations and why this Agreement should be ratified,...read more

What does the National Security Exception in GATT mean?

11 Jul 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The World Trade Organization (WTO) regime is rules-based. One of the implications is that the Member States can only invoke exceptions that are expressly provided for; national measures ba...read more

When is a levy not a tax? A guideline from Namibia

11 Jul 2019 ~ Dawid van Wyk
In the electronic communications industry the stakes are high. It is a lucrative world, complex and indispensable. If unregulated, things could easily get out of hand. Since it knows few b...read more

An important Comesa Court qualifier for natural and legal persons approaching the Court

11 Jul 2019 ~ Dawid van Wyk
The Treaty that underpins the 27-member Community of Eastern and Southern African States (Comesa) contains an appealing provision for ordinary persons, natural or legal, who are involved i...read more

Another Ruling against the Dismantling of the SADC Tribunal

11 Jul 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
In December 2018, the South African Constitutional Court ruled that the participation of the South African President in the decision to abolish the Southern African Development Community (...read more

Huawei: Trade War is escalating into a Tech War

11 Jun 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The inter-connected nature (and vulnerability) of the global trading system was dramatically demonstrated with the announcement on 15 May 2019 by the US Commerce Department that companies ...read more


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