In March 2018, African nations embarked on a historic journey to reshape their trade landscape through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Originally scheduled for implementation in mid-2020, a pandemic-induced delay pushed the launch to January 2021. Aggregating over 1.2 billion people, the AfCFTA promises to create a massive market with a combined GDP of over $3 trillion. With 54 signatories and 47 countries ratifying the agreement, the AfCFTA aims to foster a pan-African free trade zone, enhance regional development prospects, and promote intra-African trade. Key mechanisms are progressively dismantling trade barriers and promoting investment. This blog post delves into the current state of investment dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms across Africa, the potential of the AfCFTA and its investment protocol to catalyse change, and the need for a balanced multilateral approach. Through collaboration, innovation, and a commitment to equity, Africa can create a new paradigm for investment dispute resolution that truly reflects the continent's values and aspirations.
Regional Economic Communities (RECS)
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) needs no introduction anymore. It is arguably the African Union’s biggest project since the launch of Agenda 2063 in January 2013, which is our blueprint for sustainable development and economic growth of our Continent.
Electricity security is in today’s world a critical component for a well-functioning economy. Many African countries rely heavily on fossil fuels for electricity generation, while others have successfully harnessed renewable energy sources – Kenya being an example, with over 80% of its power generation being from renewable energy sources. With the global push to de-carbonise national economies, particularly the power sector, the interdependence of countries through electricity trade will become increasingly important. Countries are now only looking to develop their own clean energy capacity, but will in future, also seek to harness that of neighouring countries through cross-border power trade.
Access to energy is an important part of the everyday survival of modern humankind. However, not all energy forms are healthy for humans and the environment. Given that different countries have various degrees of endowment in energy resources and varied energy needs, cooperation is important for addressing the individual challenges of nations. An interesting contribution of the book is the in-depth review of the renewable energy potential in SSA while highlighting the basic requirements for tapping the full potential of these sources
If Phase II negotiations on IP will yield any positive results for West African Countries, and other regions, the discussion should begin at the regional level in ECOWAS. Finally, considering the ultimate goal of harmonising these structures on the continent (Article 3(L) Constitutive Act of the African Union), the AU’s representation is essential in these discussions, to ensure that their outcomes align with the goal of the Union.
A coordinated African voice on FDI would likely enhance the continent’s global competitiveness, prevent destructive competition among countries, help strengthen Africa’s position in investment agreements, and ultimately result in increased FDI flows to the continent.