ATPC supporting empowerment of Africa’s future trade negotiators

Nairobi, 24 April 2019 (ECA) - The African Regional Round of the global John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition, formerly known as the ELSA Moot Court Competition on the Law of the World Trade Organization (WTO), is underway Nairobi where it is being hosted by the Kenya School of Law (KSL).

Twenty university teams representing nine African countries; Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, are participating in the Sixth African Regional Round of the competition.

The students argue a fictitious problem before the judges who will constitute a fictitious panel.

The top four winning teams of this round go through to Geneva, Switzerland, in June, where they will face teams from every continent at the WTO.

Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre at the Economic Commission for Africa African (ECA), David Luke, says; “The ATPC and the ECA are happy to support this very important project which seeks to empower future African trade negotiators. The students get to test their wits against law students from around the world and I hope at the end of it all that this competition will inspire them to do even more.”

Many African countries face major challenges in utilizing international trade law to their advantage. This is not only in the context of the WTO but also at bilateral and regional levels. At the WTO in particular, lack of legal expertise in WTO law, constrained financial resources and fear of political and economic pressure from developed countries inhibit African member states from active participation in the Dispute Settlement Body.

The John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition is instrumental in fostering awareness and provides invaluable learning as well as networking experience for participants and the universities involved. It is a powerful capacity building activity which seeks to contribute to legal education, foster mutual understanding, enhance the professionalism of African law students and create, in the long term, experts in trade law.

International trade agreements are complex, covering interrelated economic, technical and legal issues. Many universities in Africa do not have courses in international law in their curriculum hence the competition is timely for African law students.

It is against this background that the ATPC, in its efforts to help increase Africa’s capacity in the area of international trade law, is sponsoring the 20 university teams representing the nine African countries.

For further information on ATPC, please visit our website or contact:

Ms. Senait Afework

Associate Communication/Programme Management Officer

African Trade Policy Centre, Regional Integration Division

United Nations Economic Commission (ECA)

Addis Ababa,



Twitter: @atpc2