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Is Africa Ready for Electronic Commerce?

A Critical Appraisal of the Legal Framework for Ecommerce in Africa

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2011
Authors Nnaemeka Ewelukwa
AbstractAuthor's information

    It remains a daunting but not insurmountable challenge to actualize broad-based long term economic development in Africa. Statistics indicate that the poverty level in the continent is very high and the continent’s contribution to global trade remains very low in terms of export outflows. While acknowledging the negative aspects of Africa’s development however, it is important to note that the future may yet become brighter if key steps are taken by law and policy makers in the continent to put in place laws and policies that can facilitate the development process. One of the ways in which economic development can be facilitated is to significantly boost Africa’s contribution to global trade. In this regard, it has been noted that ‘After falling by 2.5% in 2009, export volumes of African countries are expected to increase on average by 3.2% in 2010 and by 5% in 2011.


Nnaemeka Ewelukwa
Dr. iur. (Queen Mary, London), Senior Teaching Fellow, International Trade Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS).

    Conflicts of jurisdiction between a state court and an arbitral tribunal occur in two different scenarios: (a) claimant X institutes a court action and the defendant subsequently commences with arbitration or requests to be referred to arbitration (as envisaged by the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards – NYC); and (b) claimant X commences arbitration and the defendant subsequently challenges in a national court. X should be able to seek a stay of the parallel litigation on the ground of the existence of a valid agreement to arbitrate the dispute, but the duty on the part of South African courts to do so is not clearly legislated, nor is it as well-understood as it deserves to be. Various interests have fallen into disharmony in this area of the law.


Christa Roodt
Doctor of Laws (University of Orange Free State), LL.M (University of South Africa), LL.B. (University of Pretoria).
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