Global Trade and Regional Integration: African Economies, Producers, and Living Conditions

Programme Co-ordinator: Yenkong Ngangjoh Hodu

The programme started in 2006 and was completed in 2008

Promoting development in Africa through trade does not only require the elimination of barriers to trade between countries, but needs a focused Regional Integration (RI) strategy, trade facilitation support programmes, more effective and binding Special and Differential (S&D) treatments at the multilateral level, the extension of the “Everything But Arms” (EBA) initiative to other non-LDCs in Africa, and the building of capacities to implement trade agreements to take advantage of the new global system. The programme, conducted in different phases, embarked on multidisciplinary analyses and debates on these sets of issues raised in the new paradigm of trade/development discourse. It also revisited the impacts of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) regime and the new scramble for Africa led by China and other emerging economies on the livelihood of poor Sub-Saharan African citizens.

Phase One: Rethinking the EU/Africa EPAs debates
The programme aimed at exploring  concerns which are either directly or indirectly related to Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) debates.

 Phase Two: Challenges and prospects for Regional clustering
If regional integration remains a cornerstone in the developmental paradigm, with the declared aim of supporting the efforts to reduce detrimental dependencies in the South on the global market and its structural discrimination, the proclaimed notion of “trade as aid” might need to embark on a different set of strategies than those currently imposed or pursued. Some impacts of the legal structure provided by the multilateral system include at times the undermining of local production with lasting structural effects on the African economies. Similarly, effective and meaningful RI remains a challenge as much as the building of supply side capacity to take advantage of the different RI processes.

Phase three of the programme aimed at providing some insights into the development paradigm directed by the global trading regimes from interdisciplinary perspectives. It critically examines, in the context of the often conflicting notions of the international law of development and paragraph 4 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration, ways of altering the present development strategies in order to put poverty alleviation in Africa through fairer trade into the right context of the WTO development debates.

Yenkong Ngangjoh Hodu holds an LLD degree in International Trade Law from the University of Helsinki. His main focus has been on the law and economics of the World Trading System, especially its dispute settlement system and developing countries issues. He has been a part-time lecturer and senior researcher in International Economic Law at the University of Helsinki. He has also been a visiting Professor to many Chinese Academic Institutions, i.e. Wuhan University Law School, Fudan University Law School, University of Peking. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Manchester Journal of International Economic Law and European Law and Economics Association (ELEA). His subject areas are development, international trade law, global trade, economic partnership agreements, regional integration, Sino-African Trade, AGOA and WTO Doha Development debates.

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