Some reflections on the harmonisation of business law in Francophone Africa and constitutionalism

Author: Balingene Kahombo
Professor of Public Law and African International Relations, Faculty of Law, University of Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Author: Trésor M. Makunya
Doctoral Candidate & Academic Associate, Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (South Africa)

Context

The Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) is a supranational organisation established by the Treaty of Port-Louis of 17 October 1993 to standardise business legislation and regulation in Africa. It was believed that the creation of OHADA will attract foreign investors because its norms increase legal and judicial security and certainty. The imperfection, disparity and inaccessibility of existing business-related legal rules and judicial institutions were identified as major problems to address. The OHADA sought to combat the ‘backwardness’ of African business law by adopting legislation regulating different aspects of business, such as company law, simplified recovery procedures and enforcement measures, and labour law. These laws are known as uniform acts.

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An intra-african dialogue in the new era of constitutionalism

Author: Prof Charles Fombad
Professor, Centre for Human Rights; Head, Unit on Comparative African Constitutional Law at the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa

For perhaps too long, the conventional wisdom has been that the best can come only from abroad; meaning Europe and America. From the perspective of constitutional law, the South African Constitution did more than just provide a clean break with the past. It provided a modern constitution which successfully borrowed and adapted many of the best principles from some of the major modern European constitutional models to fit with the realities of the country. Whilst not perfect, and there shall never be a perfect constitution, it shows how Africans can creatively find solutions to their problems.But it is perhaps the South African Constitutional Court, through the voluminous amount of jurisprudence that it has produced since 1995,that has attracted the most attention from constitutional experts all over the world and given rise to the feeling that the centre of modern constitutionalism might well be moving to Africa. For a continent that has been obsessed with blindly copying from the former colonial powers, there are many reasons to start looking at itself.Even the 1990s constitutional reforms in other African countries were still influenced by the inherited colonial constitutional models.

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