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Howard Law Students Visit Ghana to Examine New African Trade Agreement

Howard Law students travel to Ghana as part of a capstone examining the African Continental Free Trade Area.

students at Africa Trade house

Howard Law professor John Woods recently led a team of Howard Law students to Accra, Ghana as part of a capstone project. This initiative, created by Woods, examines the legal and economic integration of Africa through the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement and AfCFTA’s potential impact on Africa’s development efforts. During its visit to Ghana, the team held high level meetings with dignitaries, including recently appointed U.S. ambassador to Ghana Virginia Palmer and African Union officials.

Woods views this trade agreement as a social justice initiative. “Raw materials from the continent are relied upon to produce almost all goods and products globally. Yet, Africa accounts for only 2% - 3% of world trade,” Woods said. “By effectively transitioning the general African economy from a heavy reliance on supplying natural resources to the world to that of: one, producing goods; and two, enhancing trade among African countries, can transform the economic condition of the Continent. As such, by strengthening the African economy, the AfCFTA can fuel development and anti-poverty efforts throughout Africa.”  

The law students who served on Woods’ legal team included Charkera Ervin, Rekya-Cordelia Anthony, Ylisha Ford, Oluwatoyin Rebecca Doherty, Sydney Hawkins, Renesha Cook, Sage Stewart, and Amir Muhammad.

To gain practical legal experience, the students served as interns for small and midsize African enterprises (SMEs) in legal, health care, cosmetics, real estate, and non-governmental organizations. Through field placement opportunities, they also provided legal assistance to SMEs, primarily women-owned businesses, that African officials have identified as an essential demographic regarding the future and sustained success of the AfCFTA. 

This story appears in the Fall 2022 issue.

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