Building capacity to help Africa trade better


What is still required for a complete AfCFTA Deal?

17 May 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) Agreement promises an ambitious new continent-wide trade arrangement for Africa. The Preamble says there will be “clear, transparent, predicta...read more

What happens to the RECs once the AfCFTA is in force?

17 May 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Regional integration has been a prominent feature of inter-state cooperation in Africa for a long time. It is pursued for solidarity, historical, political and economic reasons. In additio...read more

The AfCFTA: What enters into force now and what does it mean?

17 May 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
On 29 April 2019, Sierra Leone and the Saharawi Republic deposited their instruments of ratification of the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This br...read more

Rules of origin, tariffs and the AfCFTA

17 May 2019 ~ Willemien Viljoen
Article XXIV of the GATT requires that ‘duties and other restrictive regulations’ on ‘substantially all trade in products originating in such territories’ of the contracting partie...read more

AfCFTA: What next for services trade?

17 May 2019 ~ Ashly Hope (Volunteer)
Now that the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has a firm date for entry into force, we must turn our minds to the operational phase of the AfCFTA. In...read more

How can the AfCFTA Investment Protocol advance the realisation of the AfCFTA objectives?

17 May 2019 ~ Talkmore Chidede
The AfCFTA Agreement will include a protocol on investment – to be negotiated in phase II. Meanwhile, the technical issues on investment are under consideration, and the draft legal text...read more

The proposed AfCFTA Protocol on Intellectual Property Rights

17 May 2019 ~ Abrie du Plessis
The AfCFTA Protocol on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) will be negotiated during Phase II. The draft legal text has to be submitted to the January 2021 Session of the AU Assembly for ad...read more

The proposed AfCFTA online non-tariff barrier reporting, monitoring and eliminating mechanism

17 May 2019 ~ Vonesai Hove
How will it work? What are stakeholders expecting from this mechanism? The AFCFTA enters into force on 30th May 2019 with high expectations from the continental stakeholders particularly ...read more

Cooperation on competition in the AfCFTA

17 May 2019 ~ Trudi Hartzenberg
Competition law is an essential component of market and, overall economic governance. Its aim is to promote competition, to enhance market outcomes for consumers and firms. Deeper integrat...read more

The Brexit Saga is far from over

07 May 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Brexit has become a political and constitutional fiasco. It may also have dire consequences for business. Firms must deal with lingering uncertainty and the possibility of forfeiting the b...read more

President Ramaphosa’s 2019 State of the Nation Address

01 Mar 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
A State of the Nation Address (SONA) is not like a formal contract, especially not in an election year. It cannot be “enforced”. But the one delivered by President Ramaphosa on 7 Febru...read more

How will South Africa engage the Region, the Continent and the World?

01 Mar 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
In the African context, South Africa is a trading nation. What does the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019 say about South Africa’s trade policy? President Ramaphosa emphasised the ...read more

Good Governance is vital… but is easier said than done once the State has been captured

01 Mar 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Those who observe South Africa from afar are often puzzled by the fact that despite all the evidence, not a single person has yet been prosecuted and convicted for a crime associated with ...read more

The Energy Crisis: How will Investors look at South Africa now?

01 Mar 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
South Africa has traditionally been associated with Africa’s best infrastructure, giving it an obvious advantage in terms of attracting investment and boosting further industrialization....read more

How Can Blockchain Support Intra-African Trade?

21 Feb 2019 ~ John Stuart
‘Blockchain’ – or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) – is a technology whereby a ledger of transactions, or other form or record, is maintained electronically by being distributed...read more

Constitutional Court condemns South Africa’s role in demise of SADC Tribunal

15 Feb 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

Prospects for reforming/strengthening the WTO

14 Feb 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
Media coverage of the discussions at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos (which combined globalization issues with the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”) sketched a mixed and at time...read more

Where does the AfCFTA Process stand and what happens next?

23 Jan 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
African leaders held an Extraordinary Summit on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) from 17-21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, during which the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA...read more

Updates from the 7th African Ministers of Trade Meeting (12-13 December 2018)

23 Jan 2019 ~ Talkmore Chidede
African Union Ministers of Trade (AMOT) held their 7th meeting in Egypt from 12-13 December 2018. The AMOT is a meeting African Union member states’ ministers responsible for trade. The ...read more

Brexit after the Prime Minister’s Defeat

18 Jan 2019 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
After a devastating defeat for Theresa May, the Brexit clock keeps ticking. On Tuesday 15 January, the House of Commons rejected her Bill on the Withdrawal Agreement with the European Unio...read more

SACU’s Trade Facilitation Programme: Talking Regional Customs Modernisation

14 Dec 2018 ~ Paulina M. Elago
Trade Facilitation in SACU Generally, the Trade Facilitation process intends to reduce impediments and bottlenecks in cross-border trade and thus promote a seamless movement of goods betw...read more

What is a Customs Union like SACU about?

14 Dec 2018 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
From a legal and technical point of view the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is a Customs Union (CU) and an international organization with legal personality. Since a CU is an except...read more

Southern African Customs Union (SACU)’s trade and tariff profile

14 Dec 2018 ~ Talkmore Chidede
The members of SACU are Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia and South Africa. SACU’s objectives include to, inter alia, facilitate cross-border movement of goods between member sta...read more

Revenue sharing in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU)

14 Dec 2018 ~ Talkmore Chidede
All customs, excise and additional duties (trade taxes) collected in the SACU Common Customs Area are paid into the Common Revenue Pool and shared among member states. Member states’ sha...read more

SACU’s operational Challenge

14 Dec 2018 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
What does the 2002 SACU Agreement promise in terms of how the Organization would function? What did the Member States subsequently do in order to ensure that the agreed formula would be im...read more

The Process for Amending or Reviewing the SACU Agreement

14 Dec 2018 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
There are strong indications that the SACU Agreement may be amended – or “reviewed” – during the next year.[1] Why has this become necessary and what would such a process entail? H...read more

Reflections on COP24

11 Dec 2018 ~ Gavin van der Nest
The 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (COP24) is currently taking place in Katowice, Poland from 2-14 December 2018. COP24 is hosted under th...read more

Investor-state dispute settlement in Africa and the AfCFTA Investment Protocol

11 Dec 2018 ~ Talkmore Chidede
African countries have frequently appeared as respondents before international arbitration tribunals for violating their investment treaty obligations, mostly provisions on expropriation. ...read more

The Buenos Aires G20 Meeting: Has Rules-based global Trade survived?

11 Dec 2018 ~ Gerhard Erasmus
The communiqué issued at the end of the Group of 20 meeting in Buenos Aires recently (30 November and 1 December 2018) reads like the to-do list for the world’s leading countries. It al...read more

Where to for Africa’s Silicon Valley?

27 Nov 2018 ~ John Stuart
Approximately a year ago, tralac published a working paper that overviewed South Africa’s software development industry cluster in the Western Cape Province[1]. The Western Cape Software...read more


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