Using Akoma Ntoso with African legal materials

18 June 2021, by Edith V

Akoma Ntoso (AKN) is the leading XML markup standard for legal documents. Laws.Africa uses it because it captures rich metadata and structural information and allows a computer to automate common tasks. Read more about what AKN is and how we use it on our website.

AKN includes a naming convention that makes it possible to automate linking between documents, which relies on being able to reliably predict a document’s unique identifier, or FRBR URI.

Our AKN4Africa Recommendation provides guidance on the implementation of the AKN Naming Convention in the African context, taking into account documents from African countries and regional bodies and their drafting traditions.

This first version should help other users of AKN across Africa generate FRBR URIs, and help anyone resolving links to Laws.Africa-generated AKN documents.

AKN also includes a way of generating unique identifiers for individual provisions within a legal document, for example section 12A, subsection (6), paragraph (j) of a given Act. The next version of the AKN4Africa Recommendation will include our recommendations around edge cases like duplicate numbered sections and the like.

Read our AKN4Africa Recommendation and email us at if you have any feedback or questions.

(Photo of National Theatre in Accra, Ghana by kojo nana from Unsplash.)