It was reported that before the operating plant was due to operate in 2008, Egypt implemented new measures requiring the Arabian Cement Company to pay additional licensing and electricity fees. The essence of the case concerned the Egyptian authorities failure to provide gas and electricity supply to the cement plant, as well as the denial of justice by the Egyptian judiciary. Claimants consequently requested USD 236 Million in damages.
The focus of the Conference was to promote Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a viable mechanism for dispute resolution in Africa and to discuss ways to ensure that disputes originating from, and terminating in Africa, are resolved within the continent. This will in turn boost the African economy and promote arbitration law and practice in the region.
The financial crisis of 2007-9 and the ensuing austerity put the political spotlight on the increasingly evident defects of the international framework for taxation of transnational corporations (TNCs). This attention will be heightened by the current COVID-19 crisis, which has led to even greater levels of state expenditure, including bailouts to business, and will bring an even sharper focus on taxation.
There is no room for experts from affluent countries to swoop in and tell less affluent countries what they ought to do to reform their tax systems. Instead, experts from wealthy countries need to take tax policy spillovers seriously and correct the systemic flaws in the international tax regime that make it hard for some countries to tax effectively. This is, in my view, crucial to forming an acceptable international social contract going forward.
This contribution highlights two points made in the latest report of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights on Business and Human Rights (2019), which, in the future, might well transcend the debate in the Americas: the clear definition of a State obligation to regulate enterprise due diligence in national law, creating an indirectly binding natureof the until now voluntary Pillar II of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the insufficiency of adopting public policies (without regulation) on the matter to comply with that obligation, risking to be found acquiescent in business behavior that violates human rights.
In short, the SDGs and its interesting set of targets are a fertile ground not only to reimagine past UN led decade themed goals and their implications for (sustainable) development, but, to also situate them in contemporary discourse of the activities of nations, transnational corporations and other non-state actors. As part of the 2019 Purdy Crawford Workshop, the contributions to the symposium on “Sustainable Development Goals, Trade, Investment, and Inequality” critically examine these goals from the vantage point of each contributor’s scholarly expertise.
Based the observation from Ghana and Kenya, there is the need to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of investment tax incentives to ensure transparency, accountability, reduce associated costs, and check abuse.
This short piece argues that while these arguments may hold sway, host African states continue to have primary responsibility and should rise to their obligation to protect human rights of impacted communities against the harmful effects of TNCs’ activities. Moreover, the controversies surrounding the extraterritorial jurisdiction of states and the silence of international law regarding enforceable obligation on TNCs demonstrate the difficulty in embracing the newer approaches regarding the roles of home states and TNCs.
This symposium includes contributions that analyze state and investor responsibility for wrongful acts, and responsibility for the development of sustainable extractive regimes, in African countries. The contributions are timely interventions at a time when Africa’s regional institutions and states are developing mechanisms for responding to challenges presented by the extractive industries.