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Deepening African Regional Governance: An Assessment of the Pan African Parliament’s Capacity to Attract and Grow Legislative Competence

02 June 2010
12:15 - 13:30

Date :

02 June 2010

Time :

12:15 – 13:30

Presenters :

Dr Ogochukwu Iruoma Nzewi


At the 2009 Speakers Conference organised by the Pan African Parliament (PAP), the Parliament indicated that it aims to acquire legislative competency in some regional policy areas by 2011. This paper investigates whether the PAP is in a position to successfully pull it off. Since the introduction of Regional Parliamentary Assemblies (RPAs) in the African regionalism space, especially with the establishment of the Pan African Parliament in 2004, there have been efforts from the parliaments and calls from regional experts to confer legislative powers on the parliaments. The push for legislative powers for PAP and other regional assemblies is reasonable as far as parliamentary functions go. However, there are political and institutional challenges.

Politically, Regional Parliamentary Assemblies (RPAs) have to find and consolidate their own space in an environment of competition with member state parliaments as well as surmount the complication of sovereignty concerns of heads of states of government. It seems that member states are not yet prepared to delegate powers of legislation which currently rests solely in at the level of the executive council and heads of states and governments. Also, the legal implications of a regional legislative assembly on member states’ laws need to be fully understood. 

Institutionally, while there are arguments for or against legislative transformation, one major issue that needs attention is the level of preparedness by regional parliaments to take up the complicated task of law making and the responsibilities required in terms of specialisation, research and knowledge competencies, resource and capacity generation. Moreover, these institutional and political dimensions should also be taken into a broader consideration of the composite character of Trans National Regional Organisations (TNRO) in general and the African regionalism environment in particular. For instance, the AU is an equally new development with huge capacity and competency challenges, also state systems in Africa is very diverse and as such collective initiatives are very difficult to manage. Thus, while the paper focuses on the PAP, it is hoped that this presentation will show some of the greater issues facing regional governance and regional integration in Africa.

The presentation from the seminar is now available for download

The audio presentation from the seminar is available for download

To reserve a seat, kindly RSVP by 28 May 2010


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