Agenda for Intra-African Economic Development: Business-Legal Frameworks, Enablers and Impediments
Authors Olawale Ajai
Affiliations: Professor of Legal, Social and Political Environment of Business, Lagos Business School, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 3 Issue 1, p. 1 – 47
Africa, once described as the ‘Dark Continent’, is now regarded as the next frontier for the internationalisation of developed and emerging market multinational corporations (MNCs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Although viewed as a continent with burnished democracies, there is no doubt that a resurgent Africa, with a combined middle class of 600 million people and a raft of the fastest growing economies in the world, presents immense economic opportunities. In recent times there has been a noticeable trend in the internationalisation of African firms into Africa. With the repositioning of African political and economic cooperation, and emphasis on economic cooperation, intra-African-led economic development seems more plausible. Conversely, there are still xenophobic tendencies and trade barriers that bedevil intra-African trade and commerce. The differences in laws, legal culture and other institutional voids, in addition to constrained political and country business environmental factors, appear to be serious impediments. This paper undertakes a fairly extensive cross-disciplinary literature review and investigates the scope of the existing legal and business environments for intra-African business, with a view to identifying the key enabling and constraining factors and institutions. It highlights key areas and strategies for legal and institutional reforms and for further business-legal research.