In 2018, the African Union adopted the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with the aim of creating a common market for goods and services that would serve over 1.3 billion people in Africa. This is a paradigm shift towards a deeper continental integration in Africa whereby AfCFTA would be one of the biggest multilateral trading areas in the world. Although AfCFTA pursues sustainable development goals that embed reducing carbon dioxide emissions in line with international legal instruments on sustainability which applies to Member States of the WTO too, the legal provisions of AfCFTA and WTO that link trade and CET appear rather weak. This article provides a comparative analysis of AfCFTA and WTO legal frameworks with a focus on relationships, challenges and opportunities that incentivise clean energy transition (CET) as part of their sustainability agenda. The article contributes to the discourse on the interplay between regional trade and global trade laws in relation to climate change and sustainable development. As no previous study has compared the legal dynamics of the WTO and AfCFTA in relation to CET, the article provides a novel contribution to the efforts of unlocking the development potential of AfCFTA while enhancing global and regional multilateral trading systems.
- African Union
- clean energy transition
- regional trade agreement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)