This paper engages in a critical legal analysis of Professor Ian Taylor’s article, Sixty Years Later: Africa’s Stalled Decolonization. It is not meant to be an exhaustive analysis but will provide a limited legal perspective of the article’s foundational arguments on the underlying causes of Africa’s economic underdevelopment, through a legal lens rooted in intellectual property (IP) law and international investment law (IIL).
As an essential outcome of strengthening the state control over natural wealth and resources, Tanzania has brought natural resource contracts into the purview of its domestic legal system. In doing so, some countries have exercised their sovereign rights to natural resources as the basis for denouncing international adjudication of investment claims based on such contracts. Indeed, biases perceived by Tanzania concerning international arbitration fora have played a great role in bringing natural recourse contracts into the purview of Tanzanian legal system. The goal of the reforms is to mitigate such partialities through using domestic dispute resolution mechanisms.
The importance of law in development discourse, especially in times of global crises as captured under Sustainable Development Goal 16 is a critical factor in establishing and maintaining the rule of law by empowering the most vulnerable persons and groups in society to exercise their fundamental human rights against unfettered legal regimes and political leadership.
One of the key points of departure of this book is that ‘the prevailing investment treaty based rules regime institutionalises neoliberalism, which argues for a lesser involvement of the state in the market’ (p. 19), and that ‘despite neo-liberalism’s aversion to the role of the state in economic matters, the state is responsible for the public interest and is the highest authority and a reduction in its economic functions’ (p. 19). It is on this basis that Adeleke theorises a harmonisation between the neoliberalist attitudes of international investment law on the one hand, and the public interest objectives of human rights law on the other.