Régis SIMO


Régis SIMO

International Law, Witwatersrand University, South Africa

Fellowship : October 2021 to June 2022

Discipline(s) : Law

Area(s) of expertise : Droit international

Pays : South Africa

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Research project: Cracks in the Fortress Wall? The Emerging (Common) External Trade Policy of African Countries

This research project aims to contribute to the understanding of the evolving “common” external trade policy of African Union (AU) Member States in the context of the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). When signing this Agreement in 2018, the AU Executive Council also approved a “common position”, first to negotiate a new cooperation agreement with the European Union after the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020, and to guide their future economic deal(s) with third parties. This move was in line with prior continental treaties’ aspirations, which contemplate the adoption of a common trade policy regarding the outside world in order to promote the realization of the African Economic Community.

Starting as a Free Trade Area (with the purpose to lay the foundations for the establishment of a continental Customs Union at a later stage), the AfCFTA does not intend to create a “fortress Africa”. The conclusion of several trade agreements between AfCFTA State Parties and third states after the entry into force of the AfCFTA Agreement is sufficiently illustrative of a continental market creating opportunities for international trade and foreign investment. However, those side deals may also constitute a threat to AfCFTA’s objective to boost intra-Africa trade. Against this backdrop, this research project elaborates on the role of the AfCFTA Agreement’s legal provisions in the shaping of the AU Members’ common external trade policy while preserving the integrity of the continental internal market.



Regis Simo is a Senior Researcher at Mandela Institute, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Before joining Wits University, obtained a PhD in International Law and Economics from Bocconi University (Milan, Italy) where he also held teaching and research fellowships. He is a former Marie Curie Fellow (DISSETTLE) at the University Of St. Gallen Switzerland (2015) and has undertaken research stays at the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law (Lausanne, Switzerland) (2010). His academic interests include international economic law, world trade law, law and development, and African regional integration. His works also explore non-economic concerns such as labour standards, environment, and sustainable development issues. His recent research focus on legal and policy issues emerging from the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Regis is a Contributing Editor of, a blog that focuses on international (economic) law issues as they relate to Africa and the Global South, and Member of the Editorial Board of the African Journal of International Economic Law (AfJIEL) and the International Journal of Public Law and Policy (IJPLAP). 



(a) Book chapters

1. “Regional Integration in Africa through the Harmonization of Laws”, in A. Elhiraika, A. Mukungu and W. Nyoike (eds.) REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND POLICY CHALLENGES IN AFRICA (Palgrave MacMillan, 2014), pp. 109-123.

2. “Developing Countries and Special and Differential Treatment”, in F. Sucker, K. Kugler and E. Schlemmer (eds.) INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW FROM AN AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE (Juta Law, forthcoming).

3. “The (Domestic) Enforcement of African Union International Economic Law Instruments: Exploring the Suitability of Direct Effect”, in F. Amao, M. Olivier and K. Magliveras (eds.) THE EMERGENT AFRICAN UNION LAW: CONCEPTUALIZATION, DELIMITATION AND APPLICATION (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) [under peer-review]

4. “Trade in Environmental Services”, in P. Delimatsis and L. Reins (eds.) TRADE AND ENVIRONMENTAL LAW – VOLUME X: ELGAR ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW (Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming)
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(b) Articles & Case Notes

1. “Trade in Services in the African Continental Free Trade Area: Prospects, Challenges and WTO Compatibility”, JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW Vol. 23, No. 1 (2020), pp. 65-95.

2. “The African Continental Free Trade Area in a Decaying Multilateral Trading System: Questioning the Relevance of the Enabling Clause”, ITALIAN YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, Vol. 29 (forthcoming, 2020).

3. “Of Sustainable Development in Africa: Addressing the (In)Congruence of Plastic Bag Regulations with International Trade Rules”, BROOKLYN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, Vol. 45, No. 1 (2019), pp. 242-299.

4. “Trade and Morality: Balancing between the Pursuit of Non-Trade Concerns and the Fear of Opening the Floodgates”, GEORGE WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL LAW REVIEW, Vol. 51, No. 3 (2019), pp. 407-460.

5. “Once Upon a Time: The Origins of the Public Morals Defence in World Trade Law”, MANCHESTER JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW, Vol. 16, No. 2 (2019), pp. 254-273.

6. “Georgetown Agreement on the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States 1975”, OXFORD INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS (OXIO) HEADNOTE (2019),

7. “The AGOA as Stepping Stone for USA-Africa Free Trade Agreements”, JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE LAW AND POLICY, Vol. 17, No. 3 (2018), pp. 115-131.

8. “Law and Development à l’Africaine: Evidence from the OHADA’s Harmonization Process”, AFRICAN YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, Vol. 20 (2015), pp. 323-357.

9. “United States – Measures Affecting the Cross-Border Supply of Gambling and Betting Services, Panel Report, WT/DS285/R”, OXFORD REPORTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE LAW DECISIONS, ITL 027 (WTO 2004) (2015).

10. “Mounting Uncertainty and Power Shifting in Global Economic Governance: Addressing Multilateral Stability in the Context of Rising Regionalism”, JOURNAL OF WORLD INVESTMENT AND TRADE, Vol. 16, No.1 (2015), pp. 173-194.

11. “Panel Report, China – Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duty Measures on Broiler Products from the United States (WT/DS401)”, ITALIAN YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, Vol. 23 (2014), pp. 408-418.

12. “The Law of International Responsibility: The Case of the WTO as a Lex Specialis or the Fallacy of a ‘Self-contained’ Regime”, AFRICAN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW, Vol. 22, No.2 (2014), pp. 184-207.

13. “Integrating African Markets into the Global Exchange of Services: A Central African Perspective”, LAW AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2013), pp. 255-297.

(c) Working Papers

1. Brexit as a Fundamental Change of Circumstances in the EU Trade Relationship with ACP Countries [under peer review]

2. Comme deux navires qui se croisent dans la nuit? A propos des normes sociales dans les accords commerciaux [working paper]

3. Decision creating the ‘Specific Concerns’ Procedure on TBT Issues [OXIO Headnote] [under review]

4. The Relevance of International Trade Rules in the Management of Natural Resources in Africa [presented at 7th Forum of the African Union Commission on International Law (AUCIL) on Natural Resources Management in Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 10-11 December 2018 [under peer-review].

5. Standards, (Eco-)Labelling and PPMs in Modern International Trade Regulation (November 2017) [paper presented at the Conference on “Les normes dans le commerce international” at the University of Bordeaux, France, 27 November 2017].

6. (With Matilde Recanati), “Case Note: China – Certain Measures Affecting Electronic Payment Services, WT/DS413”, in Giorgio Sacerdoti (ed.), Review – WTO Case Law in 2012, Bocconi Legal Studies Research Papers No. 2346678 (2013). Available at SSRN:

(d) Other articles

1. “OHADA or Legal Certainty at the Service of Economic Integration”, Finis Terrae Magazine, Year 2, N°6, June‐July 2009, p. 24 (Turin, Italy)

2. “L’Afrique Doit‐Elle Rembourser La Dette?”, Finis Terrae Magazine, Year 3, N°1, March 2010, p. 58 (Turin, Italy)
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3. “Is it Cameroon’s turn to be suspended from the US trade pact with Africa?”, The Conversation (6 Dec. 2017) available online at:

4. “The Movement of People to Provide Services in the AfCFTA: Taking Stock of the Progress and Tackling Some Challenges Ahead”, Afronomics Law (22 Jan. 2019); available online at:

5. “The Tunisia/Morocco Scuffle at the WTO: A Missed Opportunity to Establish a Record of Regional Interstate Trade Disputes or a Chance to Contribute to Shaping WTO Jurisprudence?”, Afronomics Law (4 April 2019); available online at:

6. “International Investment Law and Policy in Africa in the Context of the Pan-African Investment Code”, Afronomics Law (1 July 2019); available online at

7. “The Fourth AfIELN Biennial Conference – Addressing Africa’s Voice in Global Economic Governance”, Afronomics Law (15 July 2019); available online at

8. “Chronique d’une mort annoncée ? A propos du mécanisme de règlement des différends commerciaux de la Zone de libre-échange continentale africaine (ZLECAf)”, Afronomics Law (19 August 2019), available online at

9. “A Future Court without Cases? On the AfCFTA Dispute Settlement Mechanism”, Afronomics Law (19 August 2019), available online at

10. (with Luwam Dirar, Ohio Omiunu and Olabisi Akinkugbe) “Fourth African International Economic Law Network Biennial Conference Symposium: Introduction”, Afronomics Law (27 October 2019), available online at