Re-Strategising the Position of International Economic Law within the Legal Education Curriculum in Africa
Re-Strategising the Position of International Economic Law within the Legal Education Curriculum in Africa
Suzzie Onyeka Oyakhire
ABSTRACT: The paper considers that re-strategising the position of international economic law within the legal education curriculum in individual African countries is central to improving their participation in the world trade system in the 21st century. The paper proceeds from the perspective of a teacher of International Economic Law (IEL) in a Nigerian university. Using Nigeria as an example, the paper links the poor participation of African countries in the world trade system to the legal education curriculum which relegates IEL to the status of an optional course for many undergraduate law students. It has been acknowledged for example that China’s successes in its international trade are linked to amongst other factors, its endeavour to build legal capacity to handle World Trade Organization (WTO) issues and to make the study of the WTO a priority on its international trade agenda. The paper argues that the absence of early training in IEL affects the capacity of African countries to participate effectively in international trade negotiations and to promote and protect their interests in technical aspects of the international trading system such as disputes resolution and intellectual property rights. The paper thus recommends that internalising capacity building through early legal education is central to improving participation and expertise in the international trading system. The focus, however, is on the undergraduate curriculum.

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