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1.1 Context

A legal system is by definition a network of norms that together define rights and obligations of citizens, institutions and companies, providing the normative environment in which they can cooperate. In Africa, legal systems are growing more and more complex while they are continuously evolving to adapt to the ever-changing political, social and economic conditions.

Under these conditions, ensuring the quality of legislation and providing widespread access to updated legal information requires efficient legal information management. In particular, an efficient management of legal sources can highly contribute to timely and fair administration of justice, to inform citizens of their rights and duties, and to increase the accountability of public institutions in the delivery of public services. Thus, legal information management is at the basis of the rule of law and good democratic governance, and provides the basis for accountability and effective public management of resources. It is also critical for the promotion of human rights (civil, social, and political liberties, health, education, and security) and the support of anti-corruption strategies.

At the International Conference “African Legal Resources: Challenges and Opportunities of Legislative Informatics” (21-22 March 2007) organised by the UNDESA “Africa i-Parliament Action Plan” in collaboration with the National Assembly of Nigeria, the first draft of “Practical Drafting Recommendations for Africa” were presented "1 . The Final Declaration, adopted by the more than 20 delegations, “Invites African Parliaments to contribute to the elaboration of legislative drafting guidelines for Africa to promote better legislation and foster the harmonisation of legislation at continental level, which is a strategic objective of the Pan African Parliament”.

Delegations from the Pan African Parliament and the Parliaments of Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zimbabwe. Officials from the SADC Parliamentary Forum, the European Parliament, the UK Parliament, the United States National Conference of State Legislatures, and representatives of the United Nations and of African and European universities also attended the Conference. [back]