Following the global financial crisis of 2007-08, which overlapped with a global food security crisis, the global land rush emerged as a key phenomenon that has since become the metonymic expression of the global response to these crises. Cochrane’s and Andrews’ The Transnational Land Rush in Africa: A Decade After the Spike provides a timely and necessary update of the land rush “a decade after the 2007/08 commodity price spike.” The book addresses some of the major misconceptions about the land rush on the African continent and, especially, the Eurocentric coverage of the land rush in Africa within the international political economy discourse by attending to local, national, and transnational land grabs and actors that have been largely marginalized in these debates.
The most recent rush for African land was accompanied by a literature rush on contemporary global land grabs comprised of a fast-growing body of reports matrices, articles and books. Responding critically to this literature rush, scholars are increasingly calling for a more robust and grounded methodology to link macro-level insights to more local level analyses. The edited volume The Transnational Land Rush in Africa: A Decade after the Spike answers these calls by taking a decidedly macro-level approach to the global land rush, without sacrificing nuance and country-specific historical, political and legal context. It does this in part, by investigating the impact of large-scale land investments in various African countries over time, considering not only the decade since their spike, but also the varied colonial and post-colonial histories that have shaped them.
This symposium opens up our book to examination, reflections and critical perspectives from experts such as Lorenzo Cotula, Nisrin Elamin, Wegayehu Fitawek and Kariuki Kirigia. As shown in their contributions, these discussants offer a depth of knowledge as well as passion for orienting people before profit.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of the current patterns of production and consumption, exemplified by GVCs and the global trade and investment order in which they operate. These fragilities have resulted in the aforementioned social, economic and financial crises but what they represent most of all, is a crisis of responsibility in which powerful actors, state and private, that have been the main beneficiaries of GVCs, have failed to discharge their ethical and normative obligations to those most vulnerable within their production and supply chains. To this end, a new approach is sorely needed to address the vulnerabilities of a global economy built on fragile GVC governance that serves as new nodes of global inequality and precarity.
In this piece, we follow up on Uzodinma’s arguments, especially as it relates to the broader significance of the prima facie case put forward by Nigeria that ‘the GSPA, the arbitration clause in the GSPA and the awards were procured as the result of a massive fraud perpetrated by P&ID.’ Nigeria further argued that ‘to deny them the opportunity to challenge the Final Award would involve the English court being used as an unwitting vehicle of the fraud.’
Tension between investment protection and right to regulate has not been resolved yet and it is even more dangerous when States take measures in order to target health, social and economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic. Facing investor-State dispute resolution reform, an approach from Martha Fineman's vulnerability theory is imperative. Placing human being (vulnerable subject) as the center of the analysis, right to regulate protection should be a pre-stage for building resilience from social institutions. Therefore, States would not be at risk of compromising their budgets in international arbitration or experiencing “regulatory chill
This analysis addresses the question whether it is constitutional and prudent for African states to agree to a treaty term such as national treatment, which limits their sovereign and constitutional powers to regulate in the public interest without having to account to foreign investors. The constitutions of many African states endorse the principle that sovereignty resides in the people.
Investors have shown time and time again that they will not hesitate to challenge regulatory measures not matter what a states’ underlying intent is. Only when the COVID-19 dust has settled will it be known which states had robust, well-crafted COVID-19 regulatory measures that can survive investor claims.
States could rely on secondary rules on State responsibility to defend preventative measures relating to COVID-19, yet their successful invocation depends on satisfying several conditions set out in the ILC’s Draft Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, a discussion of which is beyond the scope of this post. Meanwhile, the applicability of the doctrine of margin of appreciation, developed by the European Court of Human Rights, to the claims arising under BITs has been accepted, justifying why investment tribunals should pay deference to governmental judgments of national requirements in the protection of public health when the “discretionary exercise of sovereign power, [is] not made irrationally and not exercised in bad faith”
The Commercial Law Research Network Nigeria (CLRNN) was established in 2019 to create a platform through which the suitability of reforms to the commercial law in Nigeria can be critically discussed. CLRNN creates a collaborative environment in which researchers with expert knowledge of Nigeria’s domestic and international contexts can engage on various commercial law subjects germane to Nigeria’s economy.