On various continents, intergovernmental organizations resort to legal engineering to promote democratic constitutional governance in their member states. Those legal efforts operate in a fluctuating political and societal environment which they seek to transform but which, in turn, shapes the authority, the effectiveness and even the very nature of the legal instruments and their institutional counterparts. The objective of this project it to examine why and how this process of mutual influencing between law and context as interdependent variables also applies to the African Union’s (AU) constitution building agenda of promoting and protecting constitutional rule.

This project is guided by three main research questions: Why does the AU engage in processes of constitution building in its member states? How does the AU implement its constitutional agenda? And, what kind of constitutional rule is protected and promoted by the AU?  

In addition to its academic relevance, the research is also policy-relevant and will allow for more knowledge-based interventions in the area of rule of law promotion. In particular, it will allow for a better understanding of the merits and constraints of international legal and political engineering of constitutional rule in Africa. The results of this research can contribute to the development of normative guidelines which may be used by policy-makers at national and international level in order to develop a sustainable and coherent culture of constitutionalism.