ABSTRACT

This chapter examines the public law frameworks on socio-economic rights in Africa, focusing on constitutional guarantees. A constitution is viewed, with good reason, as a higher or supreme law of a given society from which other laws derive their normative authority. Most of African state constitutions contain generous socio-economic guarantees, either as directly enforceable rights or as directive principles. Constitutionalising these rights affirms the role that personal security plays in human freedom and reinforces this book’s central thesis that socio-economic rights are normative and justiciable. The chapter interrogates some specific rights, as expounded by domestic courts, and notes the similarities and differences in constitutional provisions. It stresses that Africa’s challenge lies in disenchanting these lofty constitutional guarantees into reality and concludes that appropriate, well-directed measures will go a long way to effectively advance socio-economic rights in Africa.