Professor Babatunde Fagbayibo

Position, academic & professional qualifications

Babatunde Fagbayibo is a Professor of International Law at the Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, at the University of Pretoria.

He holds an LLB from the University of South Africa (Unisa). His LLM and LLD degrees were obtained from the University of Pretoria. His doctoral thesis explored the politico-legal feasibility of endowing the African Union (AU) with supranational competencies.

Academic & professional experience

Before joining the University of Pretoria, he held the positions of senior lecturer, associate professor and professor of International Law at University of South Africa (Unisa) from January 2012 until January 2023.

He is the Editor in Chief of the Southern African Public Law Journal (SAPL). In addition, he is on the editorial and advisory boards of the African Journal of Democracy and Governance (RADG), and the Nigerian Yearbook of International Law (NYIL). He is a member of bodies such as the South African Branch of the International Law Association (ILA), the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers (ANCL), and the African International Economic Law Network (AfIELN).

Focus areas

His research primarily focuses on the institutional development of the African Union, in particular the process of endowing AU institutions with supranational powers. Other research interests include African politics, transnational policy analysis, critical approaches to international law, and governance and democratisation in Africa. He has written widely on these issues. He has acted as a consultant for the African Union on issues of democratisation and constitutional governance. He also provides commentary in print and broadcast media on African affairs. He is a South African National Research Foundation (NRF) C2-rated researcher.


Transcending member states: Political and legal dynamics of building continental supranationalism in Africa (Springer: Cham 2022)

Journal Articles

  • “Choral intervention: Reimagining international law pedagogy in Africa through music” The Law Teacher (2022) 1-14.
  • “Crisis as opportunity: Exploring the African Union’s response to Covid-19 and the implications for its aspirational supranational powers” Journal of African Law 65 (2021) 181-208 (with Udoka Ndidiamaka Owie)
  • “Studying the past in present tense: International law in the Benin empire” Politikon 48 (2021) 468-485.
  • The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the imperative of democratic legitimacy: An analysis Nigerian Yearbook of International Law 2018/2019 (2021) 393-410.
  • “Implementing the African Security Regime through a ‘Multiple-Speed’ Approach: Challenges and Prospect”
  • Insight on Africa 13 (2021) 160-176.
  • “The legal regime of compliance with regional norms in Africa: Reframing the paradigms of engagement” African Journal of International and Comparative Law 2019 (27/3) 446-465.
  • "Some thoughts on centring pan-African epistemic in the teaching of public international law in African universities" International Community Law Review 21 (2019) 170-189.
  • “Promoting the Rule of Law through the Principle of Subsidiarity in the African Union: A Critical Perspective” Global Journal of Comparative Law 8 (2019) 27-51 (with O’brien Kaaba)
  • Nkrumahism, Agenda 2063, and the role of inter- governmental institutions in fast-tracking continental unity ”Journal of Asian and African Studies 2018 (53/4) 629-642.
  • Recent developments in the regulation of investor-state dispute resolution: Any lessons for the Southern African Development Community? African Journal of Legal Studies 2017 (10/2) 180-204. (with Lawrence Ngobeni)

Chapters in Books

  • “Rethinking international law education in Africa: Towards a dialogic approach” in Viljoen F, Sipalla H & Adegalu F (eds) Exploring African Approaches to international law: Essays inhonour of Kéba Mbaye, Pretoria University Law Press (2022) 329-344.
  • “The two publics and the quest for transformativecontinental integration in Africa” in Mangeni, F &
  • Atta-Mensah J (eds), Existential priorities for the African Continental Free Trade Area, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (2022) 33-40.
  • “‘S/he who pays the piper’: Examining the (de)legitimising influence of European Union’s financial support to the African Union” in Freire M, Lopes D, Nascimento D & Simao L (eds), EU global actorness in a world of contested leadership: Policies, instruments and perceptions. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham (2022) 279-298.
  • “Can Africa ever achieve continental sovereignty in the shifting West-to-East strategic landscape? The geopolitics of integration and autonomy” in Kornegay Jnr. F & Mthembu P (eds), Africa and the world: Navigating shifting geopolitics. Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA), Johannesburg (2020) 189-215.
  • “Critical pedagogy of international legal education in Africa: An exploration of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s music” in Adeola R, Nyarko M, Okeowo A & Viljoen F (eds), The art of human rights: Commingling art, human rights and law in Africa. Springer, Cham (2019) 7-22.
  • “From OAU to AU: Rethinking supranational governance in Africa” in Oloruntoba S & Falola T (eds), The Palgrave Handbook of African Politics, Governance and Development. Palgrave Macmillian: New York (2018) 771- 782.

Contact details

Email address: [email protected]

Telephone: +27(0)124203848

- Author Wendy Ngcobo

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