The paper seeks to explore the relationship between the Multilateral Trade System
(MTS) and the African Regional Integration System(s)(RIS). This is done through the
analysis of norm formation on trade-in Regional Integration Systems (RIS).
In this analysis, the manner in which the African Regional Integration Systems use the
soft and hard law strategies to reproduce themselves institutionally on trade issues is
carefully explored. This is done by looking at specific case studies of COMESA, SADC
and SACU. This approach will help to reveal the degree of policy awareness and
consistency or lack thereof in the processes that leads to institutional decision-making
and outcomes in these Regional Integration Systems. It is the contention of this paper
that the African RIS have not sufficiently and efficiently used their own internal
institutional processes to allow for a coherent interaction between them and the MTS. In
carrying the analysis forward the ‘landscape’ of tensions and contradictory interactions
between the MTS and the RIS is explored. The nexus between the Africa Continental
Integration programmes and the RIS programmes is carefully evaluated.
The evaluation of the MTS and its relationship with RIS is further explored to locate the
analysis in the historical context. Specific aspects that define the basis of legal regime in
the MTS on RIS is revisited in the study in order to ensure and appreciate the
continuities and discontinuities in the process of norm formation at the MTS level. The
conceptual tools of global legal pluralism are used in the analysis. These tools allow for
a multi-disciplinary and ‘multi-site’ approach to the analysis. In short, the tools allow for
an open intellectual space within which the analysis takes root. The rationales for the
adoption of the conceptual framework are briefly discussed in the paper.
The paper then concludes with the practical analysis with case studies on COMESA,
SADC and SACU. Thereafter, conclusions and observations on the relationship between
the African RIS and the MTS are offered. The conclusions reveal that the RIS have a
‘haphazard’ approach to norm formation and consolidation. The ‘haphazard’ process
does not sufficiently allow for policy consistency within the RIS. This situation in turn
weakens and compromises the RIS ability to meaningfully engage the MTS.
Consequently, the African RIS is disarticulated. It is finally recommended that the
African RIS take the institutional process of norm formation seriously. In this process a
sustainable balance between the soft law strategy and hard law strategy must be
Edu, F (2021). The Multilateral Trade System And The African Regional Integration Systems: The Use of Soft Law And Hard Law Strategies in The SADC, SACU And COMESA. Afribary.com: Retrieved May 13, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/the-multilateral-trade-system-and-the-african-regional-integration-systems-the-use-of-soft-law-and-hard-law-strategies-in-the-sadc-sacu-and-comesa
Frontiers, Edu. "The Multilateral Trade System And The African Regional Integration Systems: The Use of Soft Law And Hard Law Strategies in The SADC, SACU And COMESA" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 23 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/the-multilateral-trade-system-and-the-african-regional-integration-systems-the-use-of-soft-law-and-hard-law-strategies-in-the-sadc-sacu-and-comesa . Accessed 13 May. 2021.
Frontiers, Edu. "The Multilateral Trade System And The African Regional Integration Systems: The Use of Soft Law And Hard Law Strategies in The SADC, SACU And COMESA". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 23 Apr. 2021. Web. 13 May. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/the-multilateral-trade-system-and-the-african-regional-integration-systems-the-use-of-soft-law-and-hard-law-strategies-in-the-sadc-sacu-and-comesa >.
Frontiers, Edu. "The Multilateral Trade System And The African Regional Integration Systems: The Use of Soft Law And Hard Law Strategies in The SADC, SACU And COMESA" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed May 13, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/the-multilateral-trade-system-and-the-african-regional-integration-systems-the-use-of-soft-law-and-hard-law-strategies-in-the-sadc-sacu-and-comesa