Congratulations to Timothy Masiko on winning the 2020 SIEL/Hart Prize in International Economic Law for his innovative manuscript entitled Flexible Economic Integration in Africa: Lessons and Implications for the Multilateral Trading System. 

Masiko’s manuscript provides a novel analysis of the complexities of flexible regional economic integration in Africa against the backdrop of pan-Africanism and with a specific focus on how the East African Community and its application of variable geometry paved the way for the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Masiko’s work starts with a thorough analysis of the theories and practices of PTA-formation, using African PTAs as examples, to develop a discussion on “flexibility” and “variable geometry” as forms of standards or principles or tools for the African PTAs discussed. This flexibility, typical for many African PTAs and today for the AfCFTA, offers a way of reaching consensus, while inviting signatories to continue to join, with the addition of more rules over time. Masiko’s book helps understand the African diversity and the tools chosen by African countries to finally reach a fully continental FTA – the AfCFTA. In sum, this manuscript offers a much-needed analysis of the historical, political, legal, economic peculiarities of regional integration in East Africa. This unique and novel work is a wonderful introduction to understanding the context, but also the roots of, the challenges faced by the AfCFTA and its potential for changing the future of the African continent and the world.

We are sorry that we won’t be able to have an official award ceremony this year but offer our huge congratulations to the winner.