Developing Countries

Symposium on IFFs: Illicit Financial Flows & FACTI Recommendations: Reforming International Asset Recovery Mechanism

The International Asset Recovery Mechanism as it currently operates is highly unfair and disadvantageous to developing African countries. It is a system frost with power game, colonial vestige, and the undermining of the African sustainable development agenda. Indeed, African countries persistently suffer from the detrimental impact of outward illicit financial flows (IFFs), stemming from complex and multifaceted criminal and commercial activities. Latest IFFs estimates from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and African Development Bank (AfDB) reveal an ugly illicit financial flight that continues to deprive the continent of huge domestic resources and economic prosperity.

Project-Affected Local Communities, Africa and the Multilateral Investment Court

This essay discusses the opportunity the proposed multilateral investment court (‘MIC’) presents for states to holistically address the imbalances in international investment law by granting local communities a binding international remedy for corporate human rights violations and other investment-related harms. It argues that concerns about granting local communities such a right are overstated especially since it can be done with sufficient guardrails to prevent an upset to the ISDS system. For African states, this should be a priority in the MIC negotiations given corporate abuses of their local communities, especially in natural resource-rich areas, and their obligation under Article 21(5) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights 1981 (‘African Charter’) to prevent or remedy such exploitation.

Making the Multilateral Investment Court Beneficial for African Local Communities

This contribution has looked at the extent to which the MIC can improve the participation of African local communities in ISDS and ensure a better protection of their rights and interests. It started by discussing the current participation of these communities in ISDS with a view of identifying the challenges these communities are facing before analyzing how the MIC can address some of these challenges. Emphasis should be placed on the selection of MIC members and encourage the appointment of members with broad expertise in (public)international law and public issues and not experts with only commercial background. Indeed, most recent investment agreements contain provisions that protect local communities. The challenge therefore lies in how these agreements are interpreted and applied. In addition, the MIC investment advisory centre should extend its services to local communities and assist them in the drafting and submission of their briefs to investment tribunals.

US Suspends Four Countries from AGOA: Reassessing the Human Rights Trade Nexus

The US Government announced on October 30th that the Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon, Niger, and Uganda will be removed from the list of 35 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries that are eligible for market access under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The announcement came on the eve of the 20th AGOA Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the 2nd to 4th of November 2023. According to the US Government, CAR and Uganda have engaged in gross violations of internationally recognised human rights. This paper reflects on the decision, which is not the first by the Biden administration in the last few years. This paper argues that the recent decision by the US is an example of developed countries using trade incentives and sanctions to achieve their geopolitical interests in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) under the pretext of promoting human rights standards.

Symposium Introduction: The WTO’s Dispute Settlement Reform and Developing Countries

Dispute settlement at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is in urgent need of reform. For nearly two decades, the USA had accused the Appellate Body of judicial overreach and action against the institution escalated under both the Obama and Trump administrations. In November 2022, the quasi-judicial system that has long been referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the WTO lost its appellate function as the term of its final Member, Dr Hong Zhao, expired. With the US refusal to reappoint members to the Appellate Body, the WTO’s dispute settlement system has been slowly asphyxiated. The WTO’s two-tier dispute settlement system was designed to ensure that Members had access to transparent, independent and timely decision-making.

NEWS: 06.28.2023

The News and Events category publishes the latest News and Events relating to International Economic Law relating to Africa and the Global South. Every week, Afronomicslaw.org receive the News and Events in their e-mail accounts. The News and Events published every week include conferences, major developments in the field of International Economic Law in Africa at the national, sub-regional and regional levels as well as relevant case law. News and Events with a Global South focus are also often included.

Book Review: Patents, Human Rights, and Access to Medicines. Emmanuel Kolawole Oke. Cambridge University Press, 2022

I credit this book with providing an extremely thorough analysis of the relationship between pharmaceutical patents and human rights and moving us forward to an understanding that will undoubtedly improve access to medicines if applied. It will no doubt prove invaluable to policy makers, judges, legislators, activists, governments, students, and the general public.

Roundtable Webinar Invitation: Trade and Distribution

This roundtable will ask what insights or productive questions can be advanced to make sense of the changing ground in international economic law, and whether these ongoing shifts can be leveraged towards progressive and equitable distributive outcomes. Our areas of inquiry include: the US and domestic trade policy; developing countries' concerns vis-à-vis global distribution; distributional consequences within developing countries; and effects of race and gender.