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).
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
The most glaring gap in global economic governance is the lack of an orderly and fair sovereign debt restructuring arrangement. Annamaria Viterbo’s new volume, Sovereign Debt Restructuring: the Role and Limits of Public International Law, helps us understand why this is so and how we might move forward.
The Award in Oded Besserglik v. Republic of Mozambique, one of the very few publicly known intra African treaty-based investment arbitration cases, was issued 29th October 2019. The case started when in March 2014, a South African national (Mr. Besserglik) filed an application, before the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), against the Mozambique (the Respondent) on the grounds that his shares and interests in a joint fishing venture with some Mozambican State-owned enterprises, as well as his vessels, were unlawfully and fraudulently appropriated by the Respondent.
African countries are very diverse in terms of their current debt situation, debt management practices and government securities markets. Debt management is, therefore, a vital component of the appropriate fiscal policy for the management of the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy of African countries. However, debt management alone cannot solve structural problems and macroeconomic imbalances. Rather, a holistic approach including an appropriate debt level, debt restructuring, and maintenance of healthy domestic and continental forex markets can contribute to preventing sovereign insolvency despite the negative effects of this pandemic to African countries.
The tragedy of the COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the frailties of African economies. COVID-19 has taught us, in the harshest way possible, that we are only as strong as the most vulnerable among us. This has compelled African leaders to recognize that regional cooperation is at the crux of the solution to the COVID-19 crisis. Hopefully, this positive momentum towards regional cooperation will extend to tackling the broader welfare issues challenging African societies.
Third world approaches to international law (TWAIL) is part of the critical branch of international legal scholarship and an intellectual and political movement. It is not easy to engage with TWAIL because of its heterogeneity. TWAIL serves as a kind of umbrella category that includes different theoretical and often conflicting ideological traditions. However, at the cost of oversimplification, it may be argued that TWAIL represents an endeavour to comprehend the history, structure, and process of international law from the perspective of third world countries that includes both third world governments and third world people
Unfortunately, the Guide appears to be blind to the way in which conceiving land and tenure rights in the context of global vale chains can multiply the relevant spaces of engagement and challenges the traditional notion of jurisdictional spaces and fragmentation. Luckily, communities, activists and lawyers acting on the ground have come to this realization long ago, and I believe that they will find the best way to use a document that aims to normalize large-scale investments but can also open new interesting spaces for political and legal resistance.