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2021 Annual Conference

The African Society of International Law (AFSIL) is pleased to announce that the 10th Annual Conference of the Society will take place on 29 and 30 October 2021. The theme of this year’s conference is “Africa and International Trade Law”.


Africa’s external trade relations with the rest of the world has historically been defined by the export of commodities and natural resources and the import of finished products. The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) is a potential game-changer. Launched on the first of January this year, the AfCFTA creates the largest global free trade area since the World Trade Organization (WTO). It connects over 1.4 billion people across 55 countries with a combined GDP of over $3 trillion. It holds the promise of lifting 30 million out of extreme poverty.


Against this backdrop, AfSIL’s tenth annual conference will explore the trends, dynamics, opportunities and challenges of international trade law in Africa. The conference aims to bring together prominent academics, government representatives, private practitioners, jurists, and experts to address the critical issues of international law and policy pertaining to the AfCFTA and African trade from diverse perspectives.


The conference will be held virtually, via Zoom. 



Friday, 29 october 2021

opening Ceremony

Professor, University of Geneva, Sciences Po

Former Judge, International Court of Justice

Keynote Speech & Conversation: African Trade in the 21st Century


Director, Directorate of Trade in Services, Investment, Intellectual Property Rights & Digital Trade
AfCFTA Secretariat

Wing-Tat Lee Chair in International Law &Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Partner, Foley Hoag LLP (Co-Chair)

Professor, Dalhousie University, Founding Editor, Afronomicslaw (Co-Chair)

Dispute Resolution under the AfCFTA and Africa’s International Investment

Kabo Balkissou

Expert & Legal Counsel, AfCFTA Secretariat (Chair)

Professor, Naples Federico II and Rome Luiss Universities, (“The African Way to Investment Disputes Between Domestic/Regional Mechanisms and the “Humanization of International Law” Argument Taken Properly”)

Isaias Berhe

Assistant Lecturer, Xiamen University ( “Public Health Emergencies and Necessity Defense in International Investment Law: the African States Bilateral Investment Treaties Revisited”)

Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Faculty of Legal Studies, South Asian University (“Facilitating the Participation of African Countries in WTO Dispute Settlement: Exploring the Possibility of Litigation Costs”)

Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law, (“Reinventing the Wheel? The MFN Principle/Obligation(s) in the AfCFTA”) 

Questions of International Property & Competition Law in African Trade

Assistant Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization (Keynote)

Lecturer, University of Pretoria, (“Multi-territorial Digital Copyright licensing within the AfCFTA: considerations for appropriate guiding principles”)

Senior Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute (“Competition Authorities and Foreign Investors: Managing the Litigation Risk under the AfCFTA Investment Protocol”)

Partner, Clyde & Co. (Chair) 

Lecturer, Université Catholique de Bukavu (« Commerce africain, investissement, droit de la concurrence et propriété intellectuelle : quel apport pour la Zlecaf à l’ère de la globalisation économique »)

Regional Integration & Governance in African Trade

Lecturer, University of Lagos (Chair)

Founder & Managing Partner, Linda Kiguhi Advocates (“Implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement for AfCFTA – A Case Study on the East African Community”)

Lecturer, Université Paris-Nanterre (« Le Projet d’Acte Uniforme OHADA de droit international privé –une initiative bienvenue dans le contexte de la ZLECAf »)

Special Advisor to the President on Trade & Investments, Republic of Senegal

Professor of Law, University of Ilorin (“The AfCFTA and the Challenges of Economic Integration in West Africa: Issues & Options”)

Saturday, 30 october 2021

Keynote Speech & Conversation

Professor and Chair of International Economic Law, University of Manchester

Legal Counsel, African Union Commission

Professor, University of Geneva, Sciences Po (Chair)

Règlement des différends dans le cadre de ZLECAf et des accords internationaux d'investissement de l’Afrique

Partner, Asafo & Co. (Chair)

Doctoral StUniversité de Lomé & Université de Grenade (« Le protocole de la CEDEAO sur l’énergie : un instrument juridique à moderniser »)

Professor of Public International Law, Mohammed V de Rabat University, (« Quelques observations sur la multiplication des procédures contentieuses en matière d’investissements sous la ZLECAf ») 

Associate, Clyde & Co («La ZLECAf au défi des critiques du système de règlement des différends entre investisseurs et Etats »)

Lecturer, Yaounde University II, (« Commerce Africain et résolutions des conflits: Le régime de règlement des différends au sein de la ZLECAf »)

African Trade with other Global Regions

Associate, Foley Hoag (Chair)

Professor, West Virginia University ( “Africa: The  Belt  &  Road  Initiative: Trade  Facilitation,  Infrastructure Connectivity and Institutional Collaboration in the China-Africa Relations”)

Trade Lawyer, The Department for International Trade, UK ( “African trade relations with the rest of the world post-Covid; the aftershock”)

Associate, LALIVE, (“The Belt and Road Initiative in Africa: Disputes and their impact on China-Africa trade”)

Anjarwalla & Khanna (“Avenues for bilateral trade negotiations between state parties and third parties within the AfCFTA Framework”)

Aligning Socio-Economic Development & Human Rights with Trade

Professor, Dalhousie University, Founding Editor, Afronomicslaw (Chair)

(“Innovating with the African Continental Free Trade Area: the environmental challenge associated with free trade and approaches to resolving it”)

Regional Trade Advisor, African Union (“Corporate Social Responsibility provisions in African Regional Trade and Investment Agreements: Rebalancing investors’ rights to achieve inclusive and sustainable investment in Africa”)

Senior Associate, Zulficar & Partners (“The pursuit of a balanced investor-state relationship in times of armed conflicts”)

Doctoral Student, Strasbourg University (“Enforcement of Investors’ Environmental Obligations Under Domestic Investment Acts in West Africa: Normative and Jurisdictional Interactions with International Law”)

Norbert Elias Fellow, University of Bielefeld, (A Case for Better Integration of Human Rights within the African Continental Free Trade Area”)

Digital Economy, Technologies and Financial Integration

Partner, GBS Africa (chair)

Research Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (“Integrating African Financial Markets Through Cross-Listing Under the AfCFTA”)

Lecturer, Africa Nazarene University (“Uniting Africa through Trade: Crytocurrency usage and regulation as a tool of creating a common currency in Africa”)

Senior Lecturer, University of Nigeria (“SME under the AfCFTA: Will the future be a bane or Boon?”)

Closing Ceremony

Professor, University of Carthage, Member, African Union International Law Commission

Professor, University of Geneva, Sciences Po

Founder & Partner, ShiKana Law Group (Chair)

Thanks to our Sponsors

Previous Events


Natural Resources


Foreign Investment and International Investment Law


The Contribution of Regional Courts to the Development of International Law


International Criminal Law


Disputes Resolution in International Law


Creation of State in International Law


COVID-19, Solidarity, and International Law


International Environmental Law


Law of the Sea
5. Publications.jpg


The Society has had an annual conference every year over the past ten years. Each conference has led to the development of a publication of some of the papers presented at the annual conference. These include: