Private investment is at the centre of Japan’s current Africa policy that aims to amplify its economic diplomacy in Africa, offsetting the increased Chinese presence in the continent mainly through sovereign investments. This has made the promotion of Japanese private investments in Africa a “strategic priority of Japan”, whose political impetus in this respect clashes with the economic interests of “risk-averse” Japanese investors. Accordingly, the protection of private investments has come to the fore hastening the Afro-Japanese BIT programme remained idle for decades.
Private Sector Investment
Unlike its West African neighbour, Ghana, where there is a flurry of debates around plant variety protection (PVP), there is silence on the subject in Nigeria. This silence is note-worthy because Nigeria has pending obligations under Article 27.3(b) of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to introduce a PVP system. However, the silence should not be equated with absolute legislative inactivity around the subject in the country. Indeed, from 2006, there have been unsuccessful attempts to introduce a PVP system through intellectual property (IP) law reforms.
Overtly, debates on the Bill have morphed into a contest between food sovereignty and food security. This comment will highlight the core issues, mostly from the perspective of advocates of food sovereignty, and underscore that food sovereignty and food security are two sides of the same coin. If properly exploited, both can complement government efforts in bridging the hunger and poverty gap in the country.