The year 2005 marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the World Trade Organization – the multilateral body responsible for regulating the global trading regime. Whether because or in spite of the organization's existence, trade has brought unprecedented levels of economic prosperity to various parts of the world within this period. Even those parts of what used to be called ‘the Third World’ are beginning to challenge the appropriateness of that unfortunate categorization. However, much of sub-Saharan Africa has not only failed to become part of this trend, but has in fact become poorer than it was 25 years ago. Various excuses have been proffered, amongst which is that the GATT/WTO regime represents an impediment to its economic emancipation. This interdisciplinary critique aims to challenge this orthodoxy by offering a different analysis of the region's inability to trade, and by extension, of its failure to realize the rights proclaimed under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966.