In Africa rule of law is very important, because it is a way for African citizens to make sure that they can access rights and enforce them and respect each other’s rights. If this is achieved, then societies will prosper, they will be successful, and they will be sustainable.
What is the state of the rule of law in Africa?
Africa is diverse, making it hard to give an answer that applies to the continent as a whole. On one hand, military coups and forced changes in government leadership have been witnessed. On the upside, however, positives such as the first female president in East Africa, Samia Suluhu, and countries such as Rwanda have robust female representation in government.
COVID-19 and the rule of law in Africa
COVID-19 posed challenges to the rule of law, specifically regarding access to justice. COVID-19 brought about national lockdowns; for many citizens, this meant they were unable to access basic services, and government services, the courts were shut down, and their ability to enjoy their normal freedoms was curtailed, for reasons of health and reasons of security. There were challenges to rule of law on a global scale such as protests in the developed world, in places like the United States and in Europe, where citizens felt that the measures that the governments were taking to protect them and to protect their health were too onerous.
The rule of law and foreign investments
Lenders are interested in knowing that when the money they invest in a country is protected, their interests remain protected and that in the event of a dispute, there will be fair treatment accorded to them. For governments who are trying to attract foreign direct investment, one of the measures that are used to compare them to other countries is whether or not that country is seen as doing well in terms of rule of law. It means that if it’s doing well then it is probably a more attractive destination.
The role of lawyers, in promoting the rule of law in Africa
Lawyers operate in a legal context. If they don’t work to improve the rule of law, they undermine their relevance. The responsibility, then, falls on legal practitioners to keep the government accountable concerning the promotion of the rule of law.
In a nutshell, sustainable solutions for Africa that advance the rule of law need to be explored. What works for first-world countries may not necessarily work for Africa.
This discussion took place as part of the ALN Academy Talks, an academic talk show to promote conversations on rule of law, governance and sustainability across Africa.
Interviewee: Aisha Abdallah, Board Director, ALN Academy and Partner at Anjarwalla & Khanna | ALN
Interviewer: Angelica Gutierrez, Head of the ALN Academy ALN ALN Academy Editors Zephyr Waithira Angélica Gutiérrez Galvis
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