November 10, 2022
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
There is a relationship between Foreign direct investment (FDI) and gender (in)equality. This relationship is premised on two assumptions. The first is that FDI contributes to gender equality, and the second is that FDI may indeed be the shackle to gender equality. The first assumption is more popular than the second as its reality is more visible to the public compared to the second. In evaluating the first assumption, it is undeniable that FDI is one of the factors that contribute to the economic growth of a country as it adds to a country’s capital stock. Studies have shown a positive relation between FDI and the Gender Development Index (GDI). Based on these studies, an inference is drawn that there is an increase in gender equality as a result of more FDI
We hope the papers in this symposium will contribute to the ongoing efforts worldwide to achieve epistemological and methodological diversity in the IEL discipline. As a new Forum, we aim to remain flexible, experimental and responsive to the changing landscape in IEL. We will like to take this opportunity to thank the academics who have supported the Academic Forum over the last two years. We hope we can continue to count on your support as we devise robust and practical ways to decolonise and pluralise IEL research, scholarship and practice as a counterpoint to the dominant Western-centric IEL imagination.
In a 2018 paper, Casella and Formenti rely on work undertaken by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to illustrate the differences between the FDI patterns observed among large multinational enterprises (MNEs) depending on their ‘internet intensity’. They map UNCTAD’s digital framework into a conceptual matrix positioning digital categories on the basis of their internet intensity (the internet intensity matrix or IIM), along two dimensions: production and operations, on the one hand, and commercialization and sales, on the other. The IIM distinguishes between purely digital multinational enterprises, non-digital MNEs and a group of ‘mixed model’ MNEs which falls somewhere between the two extremes. Their subsequent analysis and findings is where things get interesting: as it turns out, digital MNEs have a share of foreign sales that is more than 2.5 times the share of foreign assets compared to traditional, non-digital MNEs. In other words, digital firms do not tend to invest a great deal in markets abroad in order to secure foreign sales. This is despite the fact that many of the world’s largest digital MNEs often make in excess of half of their sales abroad.
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.
One of the lessons of the sovereign debt crisis spurred by the COVID-19 global pandemic is that China now plays an outsize role in the African economy, having displaced Western governments and key international organizations to become Africa’s largest bilateral creditor, source of foreign direct investment, and trading partner. After four years of not-so benign neglect Washington’s attention is again focused on Africa, largely to curb the rising influence of China on the continent. However, the United States may discover that in this 21st century “scramble for Africa” many states have already chosen to align their economic interests with Beijing, with serious implications for Washington’s position at the apex of the global financial order. Nowhere is this more clear than in China’s unveiling of its e-currency, the digital yuan, and the potential it has for helping displace the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
Gray and Gills (2016) view South-south cooperation (SSC) as an organising concept and a set of practices in pursuit of historical changes through a vision of mutual benefit and solidarity among the disadvantaged of the world system. From this perspective, SSC has become increasingly important as a means for countries within the global south axis to share knowledge, experience, know-how and solutions. In forging these interactions between South-South countries, "horizontality" is pivotal for conveying ideas of trust, mutual benefit and equity among cooperating countries. There has been a longstanding relationship between Africa and the Caribbean, with the two regions historically collaborating in areas of mutual interest at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. This partnership has been renewed over time in keeping with changes in the global political economy. However, while these states continue to cooperate in multiple fora in relation to different issues, economic activity and trade between them remain negligible. This paper argues that there is potential to enhance integration between these two regions by mainstreaming trade relations through a deliberate effort by related governments via SSC.
An African-Caribbean Economic Engagement Network is a grand vision of bold design and will not be easy to achieve; however, the fact that it is possible should be cause for optimism.
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