Concept Note and Program Outline

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been described as the most ambitious project for advancing economic integration on the African continent. The AfCFTA is the African Union’s framework to establish a single continental market for goods and services with the free movement of capital and business travelers. AfCFTA presents a chance to defragment the African market, thus enhancing competitiveness and serving as a vehicle to support the achievement of the SDGs.

The AfCFTA is expected to eliminate up to 90% of tariffs and allow free movement of labour, thus, advancing Africa’s industrialization and enhancing the overall economies of scale of the countries involved. However, it is evident that the objectives of the AfCFTA will not be achieved in the absence of structural and systemic assimilation of the goals and rules of the regime.

Additionally, the implementation of the AfCFTA will undoubtedly lead to cross-border disputes between states, businesses and service providers. It has been argued that given the significant divergence in the approaches to the subject of international commercial law in Africa coupled with the complex political economy surrounding it, the idea of a common market can only materialize if certain concrete interventions are made in response to the new framework of the AfCFTA.

It is against this backdrop that the Centre for African Legal Studies (CALS) at the UPSA Law School in collaboration with the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat is organizing the maiden Africa Trade Roundtable under the theme – “Advancing a Continental Market through the AfCFTA”. The event is scheduled for Wednesday May 26, 2021 from 10:00AM to 1:30PM GMT.

The Roundtable will bring together intra-African trade experts, government officials, international trade and commercial law experts, policy makers, scholars, etc. from across the continent to discuss the pertinent issues arising out of the implementation of the AfCFTA.

Program Outline


• Opening Ceremony – (10:00 AM to 10:30 AM GMT)

• Introduction of event by MC

• Welcome Statement – Prof. Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey, Vice Chancellor, University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) 10:00 am – 10:05 am

• Statement of Purpose – Prof. Kofi Abotsi (Dean, UPSA Law School) 10:05 am – 10:10 am

• Introduction of Special guest of honour and Keynote Speakers by MC

• Speech by Keynote Speaker, H.E Wamkele Mene (Secretary General, AfCFTA Secretariat) 10:10 am – 10:20 am

• Keynote address by Special Guest of Honour and Lead Keynote Speaker, H.E Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia (Vice President, Republic of Ghana) 10:20 am – 10:30 am


Panel I Discussion – 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM GMT

Topic: “Trade and Investment facilitation under AfCFTA: Opportunities and Challenges”

Moderator: Prof. Paolo Galizzi, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Sustainable Development Legal Initiative and the Corporate Social Responsibility Program at the Leitner Centre for International Law and Justice at Fordham law School, USA.


– Mr. Yusuf Daya – Director, AU/AfCFTA Relations and Trade Policy, African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank)

– Mr. Youssouf Moussa Dawaleh – President, Executive Council – Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI)

– Emily Mburu-Ndoria – Director Trade in Services, Investment, Intellectual Property and Digital Trade, AfCFTA Secretariat


Panel II Discussion – 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM GMT

Topic: “Africa Trade Law and Governance: The Implications of AfCFTA on International Commercial Dispute Resolution in Africa”

Moderator: Dr. Dominic Ayine, Former Attorney-General, Republic of Ghana and MP, Bolga-East.


– Prof. Richard Frimpong Oppong, FGA – International Commercial Law Expert and Associate Professor, University of Bradford

– Rian Geldenhuys – Director, International Trade Law Chambers

– Prof. Olabisi D. Akinkugbe – African Economics Law Expert and Professor of Law, Dalhousie University

– Petina Gappah – Principal Legal Advisor, AfCFTA Secretariat

• Closing remarks-Dr. Francisca Kusi-Appiah (Head of Department, Public Law, UPSA LAW SCHOOL)

• Vote of thanks

Expected Participants

International trade, legal and policy experts from the following institutions are expected to participate in the event:

– Ministries of Trade and Industry across the Continent

– National Private Sector Organizations and Associations

– Financial Institutions and Investment firms

– African Policy and Law Makers from AfCFTA State Parties

– Regional Economic Communities (RECs)

– Associations of Industries and Chambers of Commerce

– Bar Associations and Law Firms

– Business Leaders and Captains of Industry

– UN and other Development Agencies

– Academic and Research Institutions

– Civil Society Organisations

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