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“If you are an entity interested in understanding matters of trade in Africa, you will require a magnifying glass called a tralac,” ~ Afrilenstories.

Is there such a magnifying glass in trade jargon? No.

Then who are they?

Tralac stands for Trade Law Centre:

  • an independent, capacity building think tank

  • established in 2001

  • a non-profit organization, registered in South Africa

  • tralac builds trade-related capacity in Africa: assisting countries to improve trade governance and inclusive policy processes to ensure that trade contributes to sustainable development outcomes

Tralac has the mission to:

“To build trade governance capacity in Africa, supporting trade and regional integration for just and sustainable development outcomes, at national, regional, continental, and multilateral levels.”

They are funded by international donors through core or program funding. From time to time tralac is requested to undertake specialist small projects by, for example, government departments or regional secretariats. These are usually also donor funded.

What they do

  1. Publications

Writing in both English and French (hopefully in Swahili someday), tralac produces publications (books, working papers, trade briefs, policy briefs, question and answers, and general news) relating to African trade. 

The publications highlight topics around African markets, AfCFTA trade initiatives, trade laws and trade agreements, trade relations, regional integration, agriculture, country resources,  gender in the context of business, value chains, regional trade blocs, climate and sustainability, and much more.

You, as an interested person in Africa’s progress, will find these publications insightful. Other recipients of the publications include senior policy makers, non-state actors, trade analysts and advisors.

“Tralac promotes active debate on trade law and policy issues in Africa and engages in applied trade law and policy analysis with the aim of addressing the most pressing trade matters for countries in the region. In brief, tralac develops trade law and policy intellectual capital: this involves monitoring trade negotiations, interpretation of agreements, contribution to debates and discussions on trade developments”

Value Chain Database

As an example of a trade brief, John Stuart’s Value Chain Database illustrates the trade benefits that can be accrued by African countries, especially in the manufacturing sector.

Find the entire trade brief here.

2. Resources

"tralac maintains a collection of regional and national trade-related resources including copies of the texts and annexes of regional and bilateral trade agreements, copies of various regional protocols, memoranda of understanding and tariff offers, and copies of national legislation and trade-related policy documents."

They also monitor some of Africa’s key international trading relationships, including the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa); and the European Union’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), among others.

Tralac also undertakes periodic trade data analyses as well as preparing factsheets on current trade-related topics relevant to trade in Africa.

See screen-grabs highlighting the resources, below.

“tralac has compiled a selection of web resources related to regional, continental, and global trade and integration, including data and statistics platforms and analysis tools, major trade-related publications, and organizations involved in trade-related development in Africa.”

3. Training

“tralac’s training focuses on current and emerging applied trade law and policy matters, with emphasis on sound policy practice, embedding training in an institutional context and following up to ensure application and transfer of knowledge within institutions”

Tralac offers short courses and certificate courses on trade expertise. They also offer internship programmes to young African graduates with a background in trade-related disciplines, an opportunity to gain a better understanding of international trade matters. 

4. Events

On events, tralac hosts and participates in webinars, forums, roundtables, conferences, dialogues, meetings and workshops to promote Africa’s trade matters.


Thanks for reading Tribute To Tralac (alliteration?). We hope you find tralac’s work as useful as we do.

Written by afrilenstories. (Not a sponsored article).

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