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Contribution to Book
Dispute Settlement under the African Continental Free Trade Area
Articles, Book Chapters, & Popular Press
  • Olabisi D Akinkugbe, Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law
Document Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
  • AfCFTA,
  • Dispute Settlement,
  • Africa

Article 20 AfCFTA establishes a Dispute Settlement Mechanism, the Protocol on Rules and Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes (‘the AfCFTA DSM Protocol’; ‘Protocol’) and a Dispute Settlement Body (‘DSB’) for resolving disputes between State Parties. The AfCFTA dispute settlement mechanism is a central element of the AfCFTA as it provides security and predictability to the regional trading system (Art 4 AfCFTA-DSM Protocol). The AfCFTA dispute settlement mechanism will ‘preserve the rights and obligations of State Parties under the Agreement and clarify the existing provisions of the Agreement in accordance with customary rules of interpretation of public international law’ (Art 4(1) AfCFTA-DSM Protocol). Accordingly, the AfCFTA dispute settlement mechanism has the potential to enhance the integrity and efficiency of the whole AfCFTA trading system.

This entry focuses on the AfCFTA dispute settlement mechanism. In the ensuing sections, this submission reflects on that mechanism from a historical, procedural, comparative, and critical perspective. Where necessary, it highlights areas of improvement that may better position the dispute settlement mechanism to facilitate the objectives of the AfCFTA.


This is a draft of an article that has been accepted for publication by Oxford University Press in the MAX PLANCK ENCYCLOPEDIA OF INTERNATIONAL PROCEDURAL LAW edited by HÉLÈNE RUIZ FABRI due for publication in 2021.

Citation Information
Olabisi D. Akinkugbe, "Dispute Settlement under the African Continental Free Trade Area" in Hélène Ruiz Fabri, ed, Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law (Oxford University Press, 2021) [forthcoming].