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The Year in Review

International Legal Developments Year in Review: 2022

Africa - International Legal Developments Year in Review: 2022

Joseph Arop, Yerro Bah, Anne Pauline Bodley, Michela Cocchi, D Porpoise Evans, Sara Frazao, Angela Gallerizzo, Laverne Lewis Gaskins, Tyler Holmes, Mowbray Jones-Nelson, Ines Martins, Andrew Matakala, Luis Miranda, Tupalishe Mulwafu, Beverly Mumbo, Emenyo Afi Nutakor, Ricardo A Silva, Tania Tossa, and Andrew Gift Umali


  • This article highlights significant legal developments relevant to Africa that took place in 2022.
  • It includes highlights from Alergia; Western Sahara; Benin; Burkina Faso; Cape Verde; Cote d'Ivoire; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Mauritania; Mali; Niger; Nigeria; Sao Tome and Principe; Senegal; Sierra Leone; and Togo in North and West Africa.
  • It also includes highlights from Cameroon; Central Africa Republic; Chad; Congo (Democratic Republic); Congo (Republic); Equatorial Guinea; and Gabon in Central Africa; Burundi; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Kenya; Rwanda; Seychelles; Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan (Republic); Tanzania; and Uganda in East Africa; and Angola, Comoros; Botswana; Lesotho; Madagascar; Malawi; Mauritius; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa; Swaziland (Eswatini); Zambia; and Zimbabwe in South Africa.
Africa  - International Legal Developments Year in Review: 2022
Manoj Shah via Getty Images

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I. North Africa

A. Algeria

1. Human Rights Campaign

In May, Amnesty International promoted a campaign led by Algerian and other organizations against increasing government repression of human rights in the country. The groups claimed that since authorities shut down ‘Hirak’ pro-democracy protests, unfounded terrorism prosecutions had soared, legal actions were launched against civil society organizations and opposition political parties, and governmental authorities continued to obstruct independent unions. The campaign calls on Algerian authorities to release those detained for peaceful exercise of their human rights and asks for fair trials with effective remedies for victims.

2. Foreign Investment Law

In July, the Algerian government published law no. 22-18 to boost the economy and attract foreign investment. The new law, inter alia, permits foreign entities to own shares in their Algerian subsidiaries in certain sectors.

B. Western Sahara

1. Morocco, Spain Near Western Sahara Resolution

In March, Spain recognized the importance of the Sahara issue for Morocco in a letter to Moroccan King Mohammed VI, holding that an autonomous region under Rabat control is the “most serious, realistic and credible” solution, having previously viewed Morocco’s hold as an occupation. Morocco, which controls nearly 80 percent of the territory, has battled the Sahrawi Polisario Front since Spain left the territory in 1975. The Algeria-backed independence movement has long called for a referendum on becoming sovereign. In October, the UN Security Council repeated its call for the parties to “resume negotiations,” again renewing the UN mission for another year.

II. West Africa

A. Benin

1. World Bank Provides $200 Million for Flooding

In September, the World Bank approved $200 million in International Development Association (IDA) financing to support Benin with climate-resilient infrastructure and urban services to reduce flooding risks. The program will improve drainage infrastructure and develop contingency plans for natural disasters. Experts predict that climate-induced floods in Nigeria, Chad, Benin, Cameroon, and elsewhere, will displace half of Africa’s 1.4 billion population by 2030.

B. Burkina Faso

1. Second Coup This Year

On September 30, newly-installed military leader President Paul-Henri Damiba was deposed in the country’s second coup this year as army Captain Ibrahim Traore took charge, dissolving the transitional government and suspending the country’s constitution. The new leader said a group of officers had decided to remove Damiba for his inability to deal with a worsening uprising in the country. Damiba, who had led the army to depose six-year President Roch Kabore in January, following unrest in the capital city of Ouagadougou and citing the Kabore administration’s failure to control the deteriorating security situation, resigned his post and fled to Togo.

C. Cape Verde

1. Investment and Labor Treaties

In July, Cape Verde and Angola signed a bilateral investment treaty to strengthen economic relations between them by creating favorable conditions for private investment between the countries. Cape Verde and Portugal agreed upon an MOU in October to protect Cape Verdean workers in Portugal. Unions welcomed the move in reducing illegal immigration, unemployment, and poverty.

D. Côte d’Ivoire

1. Measures Fighting Inflation

In October, Côte d’Ivoire increased its 2023 budget by 18.1 percent to XOF 11,494 billion ($16.9 billion). With a projected increase in spending along with a tightened budget deficit, the country aims to boost economic resilience and purchasing power amid rising inflation that has affected the region.

E. Gambia

1. Former Intelligence Director Death Sentence

In July, the High Court sentenced former director general of the National Intelligence Agency, Yankuba Badjie, and four others to death for killing United Democratic Party opposition leader Ebrima Solo Sandeng during Yahya Jammeh’s regime. While usually commuted to life imprisonment, Gambian law nonetheless retains the death penalty. Since his fall from power in January 2017, a state inquiry under Jammeh’s successor Adama Barrow found the former ruler responsible for the killings; at least five members of Jammeh’s hit-squad, the Junglers, have confessed to executions with an undisclosed state deal for their freedom; and a former minister is serving life for killing finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay.

F. Ghana

1. IMF Talks Following Protests

In July, Ghana announced it would begin talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following protests against the country’s deteriorating economy despite earlier pledges not to seek IMF assistance. Blaming its woes on recent events including Covid-19, the Ukraine crisis, and U.S. and Chinese economic slumps, inflation hit an 18-year high of 27.6 percent in May 2022 after growth slowed to 3.3 percent and the value of the cedi declined 23.5 percent against the dollar. Authorities hope an IMF program will relieve Ghana’s nearly $1 billion balance-of-payments deficit.

G. Guinea

1. Ex-President Prosecuted for Corruption

In November, Guinea’s ruling junta ordered the prosecution for alleged corruption of overthrown ex-President Alpha Condé and others from a list of 188 senior executives or ex-ministers. Implicated in May for assassinations, kidnappings, and rape in repressing political demonstrations, Condé has had previous actions brought against him. Colonel Doumbouya was sworn in as president in September 2021, pledging to hand over power to elected civilians within two years.

H. Guinea-Bissau

1. President Survives Attempted Coup

In February, President Umaro Sissoco Embaló, winner of a contested December 2019 run-off vote, reportedly survived an attempted coup. Regional bloc ECOWAS sent troops to stabilize the country after the five-hour attack in which eleven people died. Guinea-Bissau has seen four military coups and sixteen attempted military takeovers since independence from Portugal in 1974.

I. Liberia

1. Third Female Chief Justice Appointed

In September, the Liberian senate confirmed Justice Sie-A-Nyene Gyapay Yuoh as the new chief justice, the third female chief justice in the country’s 175 years. Justice Yuoh replaced retiring Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor.

2. French Court Sentences Rebel Commander

In November, a Paris court sentenced former Liberian rebel commander Kunti Kamara to life imprisonment for complicity in crimes against humanity during Liberia’s 1990s civil war. Kamara was arrested in France in 2018 under a French law that permitted prosecution for serious crimes, even if committed abroad. Kamara was a senior officer in the Ulimo armed militia which oversaw a reign of terror in north-west Liberia over a ten-year period. Witnesses testified, inter alia, that he had publicly murdered a school teacher and eaten her heart, and allowed soldiers under his command to repeatedly rape two teenage girls. Liberia’s courts have yet to try any accused national for war crimes, despite a truth commission calling for the establishment of a special tribunal.

J. Mauritania

1. Former President Faces Corruption Charges

Former Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was referred to court in June on corruption charges, along with eleven others from his former regime. The ex-President was first charged with “corruption, money laundering, illicit enrichment and abuse of influence.” Abdel Aziz came to power in a coup in 2008, stepping down in 2019 after two presidential terms and succeeded by former General Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.

K. Mali

1. Raid by Mali Army and Russian Mercenaries

On October 30, at least thirteen people, including a woman and child, were killed following a raid by the Malian army and mercenaries, who were identified by locals as members of Russia’s Wagner group. Long accused of abuses, including by the country’s UN mission (MINUSMA), the Malian army is reported to have hired Wagner, which is denied by Bamako and was previously denied by Russia. Mali has faced security, political, and humanitarian crisis since 2012, following the outbreak of independence and jihadist insurgencies.

L. Niger

1. Prison Abolished for Cybercrime Insults

In June, the Niger government amended law no. 2019-33 on the repression of cybercrime, removing prison sentences for defamation and insults, replacing them with lesser penalties. The government explained that the decision was to align the law with Ordinance No 2010-35 of June 4, 2010, on freedom of the press. The move was widely welcomed as media, political, and civil activists had previously been jailed for expressing their opinions on social networks.

M. Nigeria

1. Start-up Act, Data Protection Bill

In October, then-President Buhari signed the Start-up Bill into law, giving investors employee income tax relief and tax credits to encourage Nigerian start-ups. The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau also issued the Data Protection Bill 2022 to establish an independent regulatory commission to govern data protection and privacy issues and monitor data controllers and processors in Nigeria.

2. Shell Judgment Implies Ministerial Powers over Contracts

In August 2022, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria handed down a decision with far-reaching effects implying that the Minister of Petroleum Resources had regulatory powers over the employment contracts of petroleum industry operators. Prior to the decision, employers were not required to obtain ministerial approval before dismissing an employee in the petroleum industry.

N. São Tomé and Príncipe

1. Registry on Movable Asset Guarantees

In August, the São Tomé and Príncipe parliament approved Law 08/2022 on Movable Asset Guarantees to improve access to credit. The statute comprises a new legal framework for movable asset guarantees and creates an electronic central registry of movable assets and credit assignments.

2. New Laws Regulate Oil and Gas Providers

Two important statutes on oil and gas passed in 2022: (i) Decree-Law 22/2022 that adopted a new legal regime for petroleum sector services, inter alia, requiring service providers to be registered with the National Petroleum Agency (ANP-STP) and petroleum operations entities to submit to ANP-STP quarterly procurement plans; and (ii) Decree 47/2022 amending the production-sharing contract (PSC) model, notably in respect of fees payable by contractors under a PSC. Contracts in breach of Decree-Law 22/2022 are considered invalid and costs incurred are neither recoverable nor deductible.

O. Senegal

1. Casamance Military Operation

In March, Senegal launched a military offensive against fighters allied with the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), a separatist group in the south of the country. The mission came after the death of four Senegalese soldiers and the capture of seven others by MFDC fighters, following skirmishes near the Gambia border that caused more than 6,000 people to flee their homes. The MFDC rebellion dates back to 1982.

2. Highest Proportion of Female MPs in West Africa Elected

Senegal’s July elections saw seventy-three out of 165 parliamentary seats go to women, the highest proportion of female MPs in West Africa. A 2010 law requiring “absolute gender parity” in elective institutions is behind the country’s high share of women in office.

P. Sierra Leone

1. Protests Over Cost-of-Living Crisis

At least twenty-one protesters and six officers were killed in August when police and security officials cracked down on protests erupting out of inflation and cost-of-living increases caused, in part, by the Ukraine war. Anger also rose over authorities’ refusal to permit protests. Under the terms of a 1965 public order act, organizers usually have to ask police for permission to protest, which is rarely granted.

Q. Togo

1. Togo Increases Budget

In October, the Togo parliament increased the 2022 budget by 5.4 percent since adopting the 2021 budget to CFA 1,779.2 billion ($2.68 billion) for increased security issues, terrorist threats, and global inflation. Togo planned to dedicate CFA 518 billion ($780 million) to public investment projects in 2022, about 40 percent of total budget expenditures, in support of its five-year “Togo 2025” government-initiated roadmap, focusing on growth, employment, and social inclusion.

III. Central Africa

A. Cameroon

1. President Reaches 40 Years in Power

In power since 1982, President Paul Biya reached 40 years of rule in November, the second longest-ruling head of state still in office behind the forty-three-year rule of Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. The threshold came at a time when inflation and a cost-of-living crisis were impacting many countries.

B. Central African Republic

1. War Crimes Judgements Delivered

In October, the UN-supported Special Criminal Court issued its first judgments, convicting Issa Sallet Adoum, Ousman Yaouba, and Tahir Mahamat of the 3R rebel group for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in 2019. About forty-six civilians were killed, and the communities pillaged in attacks three months after 3R and thirteen other armed groups signed a peace accord. The hybrid national and international court, relying on the UN and international donors, became operational in 2018 to try grave crimes committed during armed conflicts in the country since 2003.

C. Chad

1. Democratic Rule Protests Repressed

In October, security forces in the N’Djamena capital left at least fifty dead and dozens injured as they dispersed banned protests calling for a quicker transition to democratic rule. Chad has been on edge since the death of President Idriss Déby while visiting troops in April 2021. A transitional military council headed by Mahamat Idriss Déby, who took power after his father’s death, has been resisted, with elections pushed back to October 2024.

D. Congo (Democratic Republic)

1. Land Rights Policy Adopted

In April 2022, the country’s Council of Ministers approved a UN-supported National Land Policy. The policy will improve tenure security of customary lands; recognize land rights of marginalized people, particularly women and the indigenous; decentralize land administration; and resolve land conflicts. In 2022, the DRC recognized the customary rights of the indigenous Pygmy people, which law could become the cornerstone of a new approach.

2. UN says Torture “Widespread”

Torture is “widespread” and under-reported, according to UN investigators in a 2019-2022 report on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading forms of treatment or punishment in the country, and the abuse “involves armed groups and State forces.”

E. Congo (Republic)

1. Rwanda Agreements

In April, Congolese President Sassou Nguesso and Rwandan President Paul Kagame presided over signing eight agreements to develop bilateral cooperation between their countries. The agreements related to agriculture, mining, skills, culture, sport, the protection of investments, and the management of economic entities. Agreements in 2021 removed double taxation and visa requirements to facilitate trade, and agreements were passed relating to military, education, and land management.

F. Equatorial Guinea

1. Equatorial Guinea to Privatize State Assets

In a year electing the republic’s president for the next seven years, the government agreed with the IMF to open an international bid to privatize certain State assets including GETESA (telecommunications), SEGESA (electricity) and GECOTEL (post and telecommunications), as well as other state assets (including hotels, schools, and airport infrastructures).

G. Gabon

1. Environmental Protection Rules Revised

In February, Gabon published a wide-reaching decree to regulate industrial, petroleum, mining, forestry, agricultural, and other facilities for environmental protection purposes. The statute mandates Ministry of Environment impact study filings along with risk-assessments and emergency plans and penalties for breach of its provisions. In 2019 Gabon appointed British conservationist Professor Lee White CBE as its new Forestry Minister in a move hailed for the commitment to protecting ecosystems and wildlife.

2. Special Economic Zone Established

Passed in 2022, Decree 0122/PR/MPIPPPAEA established the 2,000-hectare Mpassa-Lezombi Special Economic Zone in the southeastern province of Haut-Ogooué to promote industrial, commercial, and service activities related to wood and agricultural industries, as well as the processing of natural resources and the production of electricity.

IV. East Africa

A. Burundi

1. U.S./EU Sanctions Lifted

In February, the European Union and United States lifted sanctions and resumed aid to Burundi, citing political progress under President Évariste Ndayishimiye. Both had imposed sanctions over the 2015 violence that claimed 1,200 lives and sent 400,000 fleeing during then-president Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office. The United States reportedly has agreed to a $400 million five-year aid deal for “sustainable development” in the country.

B. Djibouti

1. Grain Shipments from Ukraine Resume

In August, the first shipment of grain from Ukraine to Africa since the war began docked in Djibouti. The war in neighboring Ethiopia, for which the wheat aid was bound, has impacted the country’s economy, reducing trade to about twenty percent of what it was with losses at $1.7 billion. The United States has expressed concerns that the conflict could spill over and impact neighbors, including Djibouti.

C. Eritrea

1. Eritrea Reportedly Mobilizes to Send Troops to Tigray

Eritrean authorities reportedly intensified military mobilization and were hunting down draft dodgers, sending troops to help the Ethiopian government against forces from the Tigray region. Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said in July that a “tiny number” of reservists had been called up, denying the entire population had been mobilized. Contrary reports, however, indicated that women had not been spared with the elderly detained to force their children to surrender, or cattle confiscated and relatives harassed. The call-ups followed the collapse of a five-month truce in August.

D. Ethiopia

1. Peace Agreement Ends Two-Year War

In November, following AU-led peace talks, the Ethiopian government and Tigray regional forces agreed to cease hostilities after two years of war that has killed thousands, displaced millions, and left hundreds of thousands facing famine. The war stemmed from a breakdown in relations between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a guerilla movement turned political party that dominated Ethiopia for twenty-seven years, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, once part of their ruling coalition, but whose appointment in 2018 ended TPLF dominance.

E. Kenya

1. High Court Affirms Abortion Rights

In March, the High Court affirmed the right to abortion as a constitutional right following a case brought on behalf of a young girl and a doctor charged respectively under Penal Code Sections 159 (for procuring an abortion) and 158 (for administering an abortion). In upholding the complaint, the High Court held that criminalizing abortion under the penal code was an impairment to women’s enjoyment of their reproductive rights.

F. Rwanda

1. EAC Commodities Tax

A new thirty-five percent tax rate came into effect in Rwanda in July 2022 as an East African Community (EAC) Directive came into force. Applicable to commodities, the new rate is the fourth band of the EAC’s Common External Tariff, a uniform external tariff adopted by the region’s customs union and common market and applied on goods coming from outside the EAC, thus supporting local manufacturers.

G. Seychelles

1. Seychelles Calls for Revamp in Climate Change Financing

In May, President Wavel Ramkalawan decried climate-aid pledges as “worthless” with promises unmet from UN climate change conference COP26. COP27 (2022) was expected to focus on Africa’s needs, although an old pledge to give $100 billion in funding annually was not met. Ramkalawan, whose Indian Ocean archipelago is threatened by rising sea levels, called for a revamp of the way the need for grants and concessional finance—currently focused on wealth—is assessed.

H. Somalia

1. Attacks Increase Since New President Installed

In November, a suicide bomber killed at least five people and wounded eleven others near a military training camp, a week after explosions in the capital of Mogadishu left at least 116 dead. The AU drove al Qaeda-allied al Shabab fighters out of Mogadishu in 2011, but it still controls parts of the countryside and has increased attacks since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud came back to power in May 2022, pledging “all-out war” against the group which has been fighting for over ten years to install its own Islamic rule.

I. South Sudan

1. South Sudan Most Dangerous for Aid Workers

Care International said at least eleven aid workers were killed in South Sudan in 2022, one-quarter of the forty-four killed worldwide, making it the world’s deadliest place to be a humanitarian worker. South Sudan is facing its worst hunger crisis since independence with steep increases in food and fuel costs, exacerbated by the Ukraine war that has left humanitarian appeals under-funded. In October, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights called for urgent action on the 2018 peace agreement that has seen slow progress. A hybrid court, a Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, and a reparations process should have been established over two years ago.

J. Sudan (Republic)

1. New Political Framework Talks

Sudan leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan confirmed in November that talks on a new political framework were underway. Al-Burhan led a coup last year that stopped the transition to elections following the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir after thirty years of rule. A draft constitution paves the way for agreement among the country’s political parties and members of Bashir’s banned National Congress Party, which has seen a resurgence in public life.

K. Tanzania

1. Decision Finds Violation of Young Mothers’ Rights

In September, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) upheld a complaint brought on behalf of Tanzanian girls that the country’s policies of mandatory pregnancy testing, expulsion of pregnant and married girls from school, denial of education post-childbirth, and a lack of access to information and reproductive health services in schools violated the girls’ rights under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The Committee called for Tanzania to review its education regulations and ensure that girls are supported in continuing their educations. The Committee asked Tanzania for a report on implementation within 180 days.

L. Uganda

1. Computer Law Threatens Freedom of Expression

In October, President Museveni signed the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Act into law, which barred those convicted from holding public office for ten years and reinforced state control over online freedom of expression. Violations can result in fines of up to 15 million Ugandan shillings (about $3,940) with imprisonment terms up to seven years, with public leaders forced to leave office if convicted. The law defines “hate speech” broadly and prohibits sharing “unsolicited information” via computer.

V. Southern Africa

A. Angola

1. Statutes on State Responsibility

Three important statutes passed in 2022: (i) a legal regime establishing extra-contractual civil liability for administrative, legislative, or jurisdictional functions; (ii) a new Code of Administrative Procedure; and (iii) the new Code of Administrative Litigation Procedure to protect the fundamental rights of interested persons with administrative procedural law.

B. Comoros

1. Ex-President to be Tried for High Treason

After more than four years of detention, counsel for former President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi announced in 2022 that he would be tried for high treason in a case originally prosecuted for embezzlement of public funds, corruption, and forgery in the sale of Comorian passports. Comorian law has not defined high treason or fixed the penalties or procedure.

C. Botswana

1. Ruling Decriminalizes Homosexuality

In January, President Mokgweetsi Masisi promised to implement a ruling decriminalizing homosexuality after losing an appeal to overturn the decision. Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (Legabibo) had challenged a government ban on its existence which led to a 2019 court order that laws punishing same-sex relationships be amended. While homosexuality remains illegal in over half of the sub-Saharan countries, it has been decriminalized in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola and the Seychelles.

D. Lesotho

1. High Court Overrules King

In September, the High Court found in favor of applicants Boloetse and Tuke who challenged the constitutionality of the Prime Minister’s declaration of a state of emergency following parliament’s failure to pass two August bills before its dissolution and its recall by the king to pass the bills. The High Court ruled that parliament’s failure to pass the two bills was not a state of emergency and that as such the king’s recalling of parliament was unconstitutional.

E. Madagascar

1. Nineteen Killed Following Reported Albino Kidnapping

At least nineteen people were killed, and twenty-one injured in August 2022 when police opened fire on a group angered by the kidnapping of an albino child. Some 500 people armed with machetes allegedly tried to force their way into a police station where four kidnapping suspects were held. Albinos are targeted in some African countries due to the belief that their body parts can bring luck and wealth.

F. Malawi

1. Land Transfers Limited to Citizens or Investors

Effective July, amendments to laws enacted in the last five years now limit land sales and grants to Malawi citizens or investors.

2. Malawi Decriminalizes Sex between Children

In July, the Malawi parliament passed the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2022 that will decriminalize sex acts between children under eighteen years whose age difference is two years or less. The current Act criminalizes intercourse with girls under sixteen which will be expanded to include sex with a male child (under age eighteen), with the defense if the perpetrator is within two years of the age of the other and the victim consented.

G. Mauritius

1. Finance Act

In August, the President assented to the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022, which amended the Workers’ Rights Act 2019 to protect workers from being terminated for failing to carry out their duties where they have been injured in the course of their employment, and they provide the employer with a medical certificate showing they had not recovered from the injuries sustained.

H. Mozambique

1. Anti-Terrorism Framework Updated

In line with UN Security Council resolutions, in July, Mozambique’s parliament approved Law 13/2022 which set out the Specific Legal Regime Applicable to the Prevention, Repression and Fights against Terrorism and Related Actions and Law 11/2022 which revised the Law on the Prevention and Fight against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism from 2013. NGOs and opposition parties criticized the laws as violating freedom of the press and expression principles.

I. Namibia

1. Ruling Protects the Press

In July, the Supreme Court reversed a High Court decision that a newspaper had defamed the game farmer plaintiffs and applied the deference test of reasonable or responsible publication in Trustco, finding the “reporting on allegations of ill-treatment of . . . protected game [was] a matter of compelling public interest.” The ruling strengthened press protection, finding that the journalist had acted reasonably in reporting allegations made by the political and executive heads of the ministry.

J. South Africa

1. Visa-free Deal with Kenya

In November, South Africa and Kenya agreed to a reciprocal visa-free deal to give up to ninety days’ stay in the other, following years in which visa issues had been a thorny issue between the countries. Kenyans currently pay up to $40 for a ninety-day South African visa and have to show proof of “sufficient” funds along with waiting three weeks for processing. South Africans, by contrast, do not require pre-departure visas to Kenya. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Kenyan President William Ruto announced the deal agreeing on a return policy when immigration laws are breached.

K. Swaziland (Eswatini)

1. King Reportedly Receiving Taiwan Bribes

In October, it was reported that King Mswati had been receiving about R 40 million ($2.25 million) each year from Taiwan as a bribe to urge UN recognition of its independence from China (PRC). Taiwan has sought UN review of the 1971 resolution that endorsed the One-China principle and recognized the PRC as a UN member. Mswati and Taiwan had been using the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development to “launder” the payments, with some of the payments disguised as donations for social projects. Eswatini is the only country in Africa with diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

L. Zambia

1. World Bank Loan post-Default

In October, the World Bank approved a $270 million loan to Zambia to help it recover from the Coronavirus pandemic, the economic impact of the Ukraine war and to manage its debt crisis after 2020 when it became the first African country since the onset of the pandemic to default on its debt. In August, the IMF approved a $1.3 billion loan to help the country restructure its debts.

M. Zimbabwe

1. Reserve Bank Charging up to 200 Percent on Loans

In June, the Government’s Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) started charging up to 200 percent interest on loans, a move decried as “suicidal” by economists as it is likely to result in bank failures and bankruptcies. RBZ’s interest rates are the highest of any central bank in the world. The IMF had projected that Zimbabwe’s GDP growth would decline in 2022 by about half of its 2021 levels to around 3.5 percent. The decline was attributed to a slowdown in agriculture and energy outputs owing to erratic rains and rising macroeconomic instability amidst a recover in mining and tourism.

VI. African Institutions

A. African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights

1. AU Members Should Resolve Western Sahara

In September, the Court delivered judgment on an action by Ghanian national Bernard Mornah against States party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Protocol arguing that eight states had abrogated their international obligations by admitting Morocco to the AU without requiring an end to its occupation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) (Western Sahara). The Court held that the states had not violated SADR’s right to self-determination under the Charter as how the individual states had voted on admitting Morocco was not shown. Its decision notwithstanding, the Court pronounced that all AU States Parties had responsibilities under international law to resolve Morocco’s occupation of the region, ensuring Western Sahara’s enjoyment of its right to self-determination.

B. African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

1. Ethiopia Human Rights Case

In October, the Commission announced its decision to seize itself of a case against Ethiopia alleging human rights violations against Tigrayan civilians in the two-year civil war and issued provisional measures to cease violations and ensure humanitarian access ahead of the peace agreement concluded in November. The Commission was the first regional human rights body to consider claims arising out of the conflict in Ethiopia, the decision marking the first time in over a decade that the Commission has seized itself of widespread violations in a large-scale armed conflict.

C. African Union

1. Second Continental Progress Report, Migration Forum

In February, the AU Commission issued the Second Continental Report on the Implementation of Agenda 2063, “Africa’s development blueprint to achieve inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development over a fifty-year period.” In October 2022, the seventh Pan-African Forum on Migration (PAFoM-7) was held in Kigali, bringing together AU Member States and other parties to consider the effects of climate change on migration and displacement on the continent.

D. Economic Community of West African States

1. ECOWAS Visa Moves Forward

Supporting the free movement of peoples in the West African region, the ECOWAS Commission held meetings October 11-13 in Abuja, agreeing to the launch of the ECOVISA across the region. ECOWAS’ Directorate of Trade also organized the second virtual meeting for ECOWAS Institutions and Specialized Agencies on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to update ECOWAS institutions about the agreement and to encourage Member States to ratify it.

E. East African Community

1. DRC Joins EAC

In April, the DRC became the East African Community’s seventh member which includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The DRC’s admission means the bloc counts for about 300 million people and a GDP of around $250 billion.

F. African Development Bank

1. Bank Approves Landmark Pharmaceutical Institution

In June, the Bank approved establishment of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, boosting the Bank’s commitment to spend at least $3 billion over the next ten years to support the pharmaceutical and vaccine-manufacturing sector under its Vision 2030 Pharmaceutical Action Plan. The Rwanda-based Foundation will work with the AU, EU, WHO, and philanthropic organizations to foster public-private sector collaboration in developed and developing countries.

G. African Export-Import Bank

1. $1.5 Billion Financing to Botswana

In November, the Bank announced a net $1.5 billion three-year lending arrangement to Botswana with funding for up to seven years for eligible transactions. The financing supports key projects in Botswana’s Economic Transformation and Diversification Plan, with funding for multiple sectors, which will support the country’s goal to become an export-led high-income economy by 2036.

H. UN Economic Commission for Africa

1. UNECA Cancels Flagship Energy Initiative

In November, the UNECA cancelled its Team Energy Africa initiative to mobilize $500 billion of private sector investment into “clean” energy after discovering that coalition partner African Energy Chamber was led by convicted fraudster NJ Ayuk. Ayuk pleaded guilty in 2007 to fraud in the United States after impersonating a congressman to obtain visas for fellow Cameroonians. In 2015, he was investigated by Ghana’s central bank on suspicion of laundering $2.5 million.

I. Southern African Development Community

1. Election Observers Bless Lesotho Elections

In October 2022, the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) issued a statement confirming the orderly conduct of the October Lesotho National Assembly elections. SEOM had deployed observers to 171 voting stations in the Kingdom’s ten districts and will issue its Final Report within thirty days of the electoral cycle concluding.

J. Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa

1. Moves Toward a Single Air Transport Market

On March 8-10, African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) experts and COMESA met in Rwanda to work toward an AU Agenda 2063 project, a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). The workshop agreed to strategies on the Yamoussoukro Decision, a treaty adopted by most AU members to liberalize air transport services between African countries. The parties also signed grant project agreements with the African Development Bank and AFCAC on support for SAATM, with EU support for air transport sector development in the region.

K. Intergovernmental Authority on Development

1. Regional Trade Policy Launch

In September, IGAD issued its 2022-2026 regional trade policy as an initiative to promote greater regional integration in the East African countries of its operation. Identical to African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) measures, the policy aims to facilitate regional trade integration and the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers.

L. Economic Community of Central African States

1. DRC Meeting to Resolve Conflict

In July, heads of state and government met with ECCAS in Kinshasa to discuss the conflict between the DRC and the March 23 Movement (M23), of which the DRC accuses Rwanda of being part. The meeting in its final communiqué agreed to “adhere to the Luanda (Angola) roadmap pertaining to the cessation of hostilities by the M23 rebel group and its immediate withdrawal from occupied positions” on Congolese territory.

M. Union du Maghreb Arabe

1. UMA Excluded from Summit

Algeria excluded recent UMA Secretary-General Taieb Baccouche from November’s Arab League Summit with suggestions that the decision was due to his “hostile positions against the Tunisian regime.” Baccouche had planned to revive talks to reconcile UMA countries over tensions notably concerning Western Sahara.

N. Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa

1. Accounting System Aims at Regional Harmonization

In July, Cameroon hosted an OHADA National Commissions plenary with member states’ professional accounting bodies to examine a draft accounting system for non-profit entities such as cooperative societies, associations, and foundations. The draft will be submitted to the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (CCJA) before it is put for the OHADA Council of Ministers’ approval and adopted within the framework of the Project for the Improvement of the Business Climate within the OHADA region.

O. African Continental Free Trade Area

1. Afreximbank Agreement on the Base Fund

In February, the AfCFTA Secretariat and Afreximbank signed an agreement governing the AfCFTA Adjustment Fund. The Base Fund (the subject of the agreement) comprises contributions from States Parties, grants, and technical assistance funds. The Base Fund will support African countries to participate in the AfCFTA-established trading area implementing the AfCFTA Agreement.

Committee Co-editors (Holmes, Bodley); Algeria (Ed., Tossa); Angola (Silva; Frazao, Martins); Benin (Ed.); Botswana (Ed.); Burkina Faso (Ed.); Burundi (Ed.); Cameroon (Ed.); Cape Verde (Silva, Frazao, Martins, Ed.); CAR (Ed.); Chad (Ed.); Comoros (Ed.); DRC (Cocchi); Congo (Ed.); Cote d’Ivoire (Ed.); Djibouti (Ed.); Equatorial Guinea (Silva, Frazao, Martins); Eritrea (Ed.); Ethiopia (Jones-Nelson); Gabon (Silva, Frazao, Martins, Ed.); Gambia (Bah); Ghana (Ed.); Guinea (Ed.); Guinea-Bissau (Ed.); Kenya (Mumbo); Lesotho (Matakala); Liberia (Ed.); Madagascar (Ed.); Malawi (Umali; Mulwafu); Mali (Ed.); Mauritania (Ed.); Mauritius (Matakala); Mozambique (Silva; Frazao, Martins, Ed.); Namibia (Gaskins); Niger (Tossa); Nigeria (Arop); Rwanda (Gallerizzo); Sao Tome and Prıncipe (Silva; Frazao, Martins; Ed.); Senegal (Ed.); Seychelles (Ed.); Sierra Leone (Ed.); Somalia (Ed.); South Africa (Ed.); South Sudan (Ed.); Sudan (Ed.); Swaziland (Eswatini) (Ed.); Tanzania (Mumbo); Togo (Nutakor); Uganda (Cocchi); Western Sahara (Ed.); Zambia (Ed.); Zimbabwe (Ed.); AfCHPR (Ed.); AfComm. (Gaskins; Bah); AU (Gaskins; Jones-Nelson); ECOWAS (Jones-Nelson, Ed.); EAC (Ed.); AfDB (Bah); Afreximbank (Ed.); ECA (Ed.); SADC (Ed.); COMESA (Umali); IGAD (Matakala; Gallerizzo); ECCAS (Ed.); UMA (Ed.); OHADA (Cocchi); and AFCFTA (Umali, Cocchi).