The book offers an updated and comprehensive view of the status of the different legal regimes that govern sovereign debt operations. While this book was not written with the outbreak in mind, it provides unique insights into the legal challenges that states and policy makers from the global south ought to consider when facing the challenges of the post Covid-19 world. The following post offers some takeaways from the book.
While WIPO’s technical assistance programme has been seen as less biased than much of the bilateral assistance on offer from the EU and the US, the history that Africa has with WIPO concerning cooperation in the provision of IP technical assistance can be said to have led to the introduction of Western-style IP norms across the continent. Our leaders and negotiators, therefore, need to proceed with caution in negotiating the AfCFTA IP protocol and the kind of technical assistance they receive. They must consult broadly and court the services of African scholars and experts on the matter.
The ongoing negotiation of a business and human rights treaty represents without a doubt a complex political and legal challenge, where diverse aspects – economic, diplomatic and juridical– must be agreed upon between negotiating States with very different geopolitical positions. Despite the realpolitik involved, this process presents an opportunity to refineand reinforce State obligations vis-à-vis the domestic regulation of business activities, as well as to improve access to justice for victims of transnational corporate human rights abuses.
The question of a regulatory framework for this type of CSR at the African Union level is paramount. Such regulatory frameworks could be meta-regulatory in nature and thus embrace a mix of soft law and hard law rules with incentives. This need for policy and regulation is recognised in the African Union Agenda 2063 framework document both in order to effectively finance development objectives and to enable full exploitation of the partnership capabilities in the interest of Africa. The African Union has also pursued this set goal for agribusiness as a result of the Malabo declaration on accelerated agricultural growth commitments
As social movements and civil society continues to seek support within international law in their claims for justice, the reflection on the absence of international corporate accountability mechanisms is an open field for human rights discourse dispute.
A competition policy at the continental level is not only important to meet the objectives of the AfCFTA, but it will provide a forum to strengthen and develop existing competition regimes. The AfCFTA, creates a wide continental market and a competition policy will provide African countries with the power to police international anti-competitive conduct by pulling resources that will enhance global trade. However, for a competition policy to be effective, the AfCFTA must continue to build on the efforts made at the national and regional levels. Member States should take this opportunity and negotiate on the future continental competition policy taking into consideration the African markets and its role in global markets.
With an increase in the spread and impact of independent regulatory agencies, Africa now has a nascent but significant network of competition authorities and other economic regulators. This growth in African regulatory practice and influence contribute to the value of adding competitiveness to the theory and practice of African regional integration. To add competitiveness may well increase the total benefits and speed of these developments of multinational agreements and regional integration. A competition policy for Africa consistent with developmental integration should attend to enforcement institutions (courts and authorities) and be flexible regarding its national/supranational balance.
By bringing forward this interlegal sensibility, ALIC invites the investor to think of their own best interest in broad term and to take the time to understand already-existing, pluralist socio-legal expectations and practices. It also implicitly reminds the investor to take the time to build a relationship with local communities that is buttressed by an iterative understanding of fairness (a core tenet of commercial law). Without such a relationship and appropriate due diligence, ALIC in effect recommends to the investor and the local community to not pursue the deal – no one benefits from a land transaction that is only made possible by disrupting local people’s lives or dislocating them from their homeland.