The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) and the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) of the University of Pretoria are organising the first of what is expected to be an annual series of seminars on African constitutionalism funded by the Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.
The Seminar will be held at the STIAS Wallenberg Research Centre from 4 to 6 September 2013.
The general focus of the seminar is on examining critical issues affecting the efforts being made to entrench and consolidate constitutionalism in Africa. Constitutional reforms that started in the early 1990s have either failed to address or addressed specific issues in a rather unsatisfactory manner.
With the overall objective of promoting constitutionalism in Africa, some of the issues that will be dealt with are
- To stimulate interest in the importance of comparative constitutional law research and studies in Africa, its diverse methodologies and the African context;
- To provide in-depth knowledge and understanding of African constitutional regimes and their evolution;
- To examine problems that arise and challenges faced in African constitution-making processes and to consider best practices;
- To review the problems of implementing African constitutions and ways of overcoming obstacles;
- To examine the theory and practice in Africa of selected aspects of constitutional law such as separation of powers and judicial independence; and to identify the gaps, consider best practices and see what lessons can be learnt.
For this first meeting, a carefully selected group of outstanding African and some non-African experts have been invited in the hope that they can lay the foundation for future seminars. It is also hoped that these seminars will help to establish a network of people who are actively engaged in the evolution of African constitutionalism and who can serve as a repository for the accumulation of knowledge, experience and expertise on the continent.
It is expected that these seminars will provide an opportunity for serious thinking and provoke ideas that could lead to ground-breaking work in constitutional law practice and theory in Africa. An important objective of this first seminar is to enable the experts that have been invited to suggest ways in which future seminars can be organised and run in a manner that will enable them to make a significant impact in promoting constitutionalism on the continent.
A draft programme is attached here.