Exploring the Possibilities of Legal Harmonisation of Non-Tariff Barriers of RECs for the Achievement of the AfCFTA





legal harmonisation, non-tariff barriers, African Continental Free Trade Area, AU, RECs


African Union (AU) countries are expected to pursue more effective, responsive and non-discriminatory regulations to build a more productive regional economy. This article interrogates the prospects of implementing legal harmonisation of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The article adopts a qualitative review of the literature with reference to the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). Analysing instruments of legal harmonisation of the AU and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) reveals lapses in the harmonisation agenda, which impedes intra-regional trade. Furthermore, the article examines the methods of legal harmonisation, benefits, setbacks and efforts RECs make to harmonise NTBs. Also, examining attempts at legal harmonisation by RECs reveals that the harmonisation objectives of the AU’s legal frameworks have not been effective. On the other hand, RECs have progressed unequally in meeting their treaty goals and essential programmes. This article establishes that the legal harmonisation model, political will and states’ inability to supranationalise community rules are the major reasons for the lack of harmonisation. In addition, overambitious targets with limited resources account for the failure of the AU and its RECs to achieve their stated objectives. Finally, the article proposes a legal harmonisation model that will directly affect domestic regulations.


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How to Cite

Achancho, Elisabeth Etagha. 2023. “Exploring the Possibilities of Legal Harmonisation of Non-Tariff Barriers of RECs for the Achievement of the AfCFTA”. Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa 56 (2&amp;3):31 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2522-3062/11234.



Received 2022-05-03
Accepted 2023-08-29
Published 2023-11-22