On nearly all accounts, Africa is slated as the next frontier for development. This is an exciting time for the continent. We have seen the birth of South Sudan-- the world’s newest nation, the return to peace in various nations after decades of conflict; a coherent regional front against terrorism; the return to power of the Somali government after 20 years of anarchy; and a series of democratic elections following cries from an increasingly empowered public. With seven of the ten fastest-growing economies in Africa, the time for the continent is now.
Towards investing in Africa as the next frontier in development, ILI-ACLE has established partnerships to extend its reach across sub-Saharan Africa. This year, ILI-ACLE announced its collaboration with the Zanzibar Law Resource Centre in an effort to strengthen capacity of public and private sector professionals in Tanzania and the greater SADC region. Additionally, ILI-ACLE successfully completed an American Bar Association-approved Law and Development Practicum in collaboration with the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (Sacramento, USA) and the Judiciary of Uganda that placed U.S. law students at various divisions of the High Court of Uganda, while providing a platform for cross-cultural exchange between U.S. and Ugandan law students through classroom training on justice systems. This year also marked the successful completion of a three year Civil Legal Reform Technical Assistance Project in Lesotho, which involved large-scale restructuring of the country’s Judiciary. These partnerships and projects pave the way forward towards Africa’s development.
We cannot talk about this past year without highlighting ILI-ACLE’s many programmes designed to give professionals from all across sub-Saharan Africa a voice and help them to drive change in their own communities and spheres of influence. In addition to ILI-ACLE’s programmes in Legislative Drafting; Effective Leadership and Management; Oil and Gas Contracting; and Negotiation, Drafting and Management of Contracts, numerous institutions have reached out to ILI-ACLE in 2013 for its ability to deliver customised programmes with thoughtful and challenging contemporary perspectives. Amongst these institutions are the East African Court of Justice and the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities.
But amidst these accomplishments, there is still work to be done. Building legal infrastructure requires responsibly drafted laws, effective mechanisms for dispute resolution, a framework for good governance and anti-corruption, effective systems for law enforcement, the private financing of infrastructure, and an appreciation for human rights and environmental conservation. These areas are at the heart of the work of the Institute. In realizing Africa’s full potential, we are energized by our successes in 2013 and are committed to exploring Africa as the next frontier in 2014.