Why legal Certainty and Remedies matter for African Trade and Integration
Uncertainty is the enemy of endeavours to promote effective regional integration and trade. Business enterprises must can count on predictable outcomes when making investments and pursuing commercial ventures within national jurisdictions and across state borders. The ability of the private sector to deal with risk factors requires, amongst other things, reliable legal environments. This includes transparent laws and regulations and the availability of legal remedies when rights are infringed or threatened. These should exist at national, regional, and continental levels, especially now that the first steps are being taken to start trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). As has often been observed of the AfCFTA; it has tremendous potential for boosting intra-African trade “if properly implemented”. Ultimately, regional integration efforts should be underpinned by inter-state arrangements consisting of appropriate and enabling legal frameworks.
Effective and legitimate dispute resolution mechanisms should also be part and parcel of regional integration efforts. When differences arise about whether the right procedures have been followed or obligations in trade agreements have been respected by officials operating at borders or within national jurisdictions, they should be resolved through the objective and impartial application of mutually agreed norms. The parties to such disputes must accept the results of adjudication or other dispute settlement processes as fair, final, and binding. These basic practices are an integral part of good governance and the rule of law.
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