ESAMI-trapca Tradelab Network

The adoption of the legal clinic mode of study at the level of ESAMI-trapca’s advanced courses came in 2018 by recommendation of the Academic Advisory Council (AAC). The Centre had for the first time the legal clinic independently delivered in 2019. ESAMI-trapca realises that research is essential for decision-making and driving key operational tasks for all types of organizations. To enhance the research skills of our students, through these legal clinics students conduct qualitative and quantitative research using the tradelab clinic mechanism.  The legal clinics and practica are composed of small groups of highly qualified and carefully selected students who work on specific legal questions posed by beneficiaries. The students work in groups under the close supervision of one or more Professors (Academic Supervisors) and are also teamed up with experts (Mentors) from law firms, national or international organisations or academia, who lend their knowledge, time, and feedback to the students, pro bono. 

About The Tradelab

Tradelab is based in Geneva and is an Association under Swiss Law. Swiss Law. TradeLab brings together students, academics, and legal practitioners with the aim of empowering countries and smaller stakeholders to reap the full development benefits of institutions and rules that govern our global economy. Through pro bono legal clinics and practica, TradeLab connects students and experienced legal professionals to public officials, especially in developing countries, small and medium-sized enterprises and civil society to build lasting legal capacity. Through ‘learning by doing’, it aims to train and promote the next generation of trade and investment lawyers. By providing information and support on negotiations, compliance, and litigation, TradeLab strives to make global economic regulation work for everyone.
Tradelab clinics and practica are win-win for all involved: beneficiaries get expert work done for free helping them build capacity; students learn by doing, obtain academic credit, expand their network and get an opportunity to work on real-life legal issues; faculty and expert mentors share their knowledge on cutting-edge issues and are able to attract or hire top students with proven skills.

ESAMI-trapca tradelab projects

The centre conducts the tradelab projects under TRP 507 module, titled Regional Integration and Trade Facilitation and the project assignments contribute to 50% of the student’s coursework in the course. Given the fact that the advanced courses can only accommodate thirty students per class, every year five projects per class are carried out and so far they were for the EAC secretariat. Depending on the consent of the clients for the work done to be published there is an opportunity for students to develop either journal articles from their work or publish their work. Moreover, there is a further opportunity for students to carry out similar work covering other RECs as part of their academic work. This could provide an opportunity to create a flagship report on regional integration in Africa and this could be done in collaboration with RECs in the continent.
The tradelab project are based on needs of identified or requesting institutions in any of the following areas:

  • Information: Build legal capacity by researching, simplifying and making international economic law more accessible.
  • Negotiation: Offer background research, analysis and support in the negotiations of trade and investment agreements.
  • Compliance: Provide compliance assessment of proposed or existing legislation, drafting of model legislation or advocacy positions in the context of existing agreements on trade and investment.
  • Litigation: Assist in preparing litigation briefs (including amicus briefs), defence strategies, third-party submissions, and legal memoranda at the WTO, in investor-state arbitration and other fora.

Examples recently of completed projects

  • Cross border trade barriers and restrictions in the EAC
  • Regulatory audit in transport, telecommunication and financial sectors in the east African community specifically Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda to identify the restrictions as well as areas of further liberalization
  • Undertake a study on the harmonisation of mobile money transfer regulations and interbank operability in the EAC region
  • Private sectors position on Rules of Origin (RoO) and Trade Facilitation (TF) on the ongoing negotiations under the African Continental Free Trade Area
  • A review of the East African Community (EAC) industrialisation action plan to track the progress of implementation
  • Case Study on IP: Disciplines for Consideration in AfCFTA Negotiations;
  • Commercially Meaningful Market Access – A Case for Africa’s Agricultural Exports to the EU under EU-Africa EPAs;
  • Case Study on the relationship between FTA level services liberalization and domestic regulation in the context of AfCFTA;
  • Case study on the Fundamentals and Prerequisites of Breaking into Global Supply Chains: The case for Africa; and
  • Case Study on competition law: Disciplines for consideration in AfCFTA negotiations.

Tradelab Academic Supervisors

Thokozani James Ngwira

Trade Law Expert


All projects prepared and published under ESAMI-trapca, Tradelab law clinics and practice are done on a pro bono basis by students for research purposes only. The projects are pedagogical exercises to train students in the practice of international economic law, and they do not reflect the opinions of ESAMI-trapca, Tradelab and/or the academic institutions affiliated with Tradelab. The projects do not in any way constitute legal advice and do not, in any manner, create an attorney-client relationship. The project cannot, in any way, and at any time, bind, or lead to any form of liability or responsibility for the clinic participants, ESAMI-trapca, or Tradelab.