World Bank

Book Review III: The Investment Treaty Regime and Public Interest Regulation in Africa By Dominic Npoanlari Dagbanja

With the recent decision by the African Heads of States to adopt the Protocol on Investment to the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, Dr Dominic Dagbanja’s monograph on The Investment Treaty Regime and Public interest in Africa is a welcome addition to the growing list of monographs on Africa’s foreign investment law regimes. This book which is a based on Dr Dagbanja’s 2015 doctoral dissertation provides an original contribution to existing literature by focusing on the constitutionality of investment treaties. It deals with themes and issues which are critical for understanding Africa’s complex foreign investment protection and promotion laws. Although scholars have examined the linkages between constitutional law and international investment law notably using case studies from Europe and Latin America, this is the first monograph to focus on this issue from an African perspective.

Book Review II: The Investment Treaty Regime and Public Interest Regulation in Africa By Dominic Npoanlari Dagbanja

In the early days of investment treaty awards, twenty or so years ago, it was obvious something was badly amiss. With virtually no legal analysis, the Metalclad tribunal found an indirect expropriation against Mexico based on the government’s refusal to authorize a landfill in a historically polluted area. A few years later, foreign asset owners busily sued Argentina for the country’s emergency measures, adopted in the face of a national economic crisis; the arbitrators were unsympathetic to the Argentine lawyers’ argument that it was ‘necessary’ for the country’s government to override the stipulated water rates in contracts with irresponsibly privatized utilities so households could afford drinking and bathing during the crisis and recovery. In CME, a case against the Czech Republic, the tribunal awarded hundreds of millions to a U.S. mogul after reasoning very erratically that the country had violated most of the cryptic investor protections in the invoked treaty. The dispute arose from Czech efforts to regulate broadcasting of cheap American re-runs on a major privatize TV station that was filling the airwaves with profitable muck. A sister tribunal in Lauder, bizarrely hearing a parallel claim by the human owner of the CME company, refused to award any compensation for the same dispute.

One Hundred and Eighteenth Sovereign Debt News Update: Kenya and USA Launch the Nairobi-Washington Vision to Tackle Debt

The African Sovereign Debt Justice Network, (AfSDJN), is a coalition of citizens, scholars, civil society actors and church groups committed to exposing the adverse impact of unsustainable levels of African sovereign debt on the lives of ordinary citizens. Convened by Afronomicslaw.org with the support of Open Society for Southern Africa, (OSISA), the AfSDJN's activities are tailored around addressing the threats that sovereign debt poses for economic development, social cohesion and human rights in Africa. It advocates for debt cancellation, rescheduling and restructuring as well as increasing the accountability and responsibility of lenders and African governments about how sovereign debt is procured, spent and repaid.

One Hundred and Sixteenth Sovereign Debt News Update: China Forgives an Unspecified Amount of Zimbabwe’s Debt

The African Sovereign Debt Justice Network, (AfSDJN), is a coalition of citizens, scholars, civil society actors and church groups committed to exposing the adverse impact of unsustainable levels of African sovereign debt on the lives of ordinary citizens. Convened by Afronomicslaw.org with the support of Open Society for Southern Africa, (OSISA), the AfSDJN's activities are tailored around addressing the threats that sovereign debt poses for economic development, social cohesion and human rights in Africa. It advocates for debt cancellation, rescheduling and restructuring as well as increasing the accountability and responsibility of lenders and African governments about how sovereign debt is procured, spent and repaid.

One Hundred and Fifteenth Sovereign Debt News Update: South Sudan, Nigeria, DRC, and Angola Resort to Collateralized Loans

The African Sovereign Debt Justice Network, (AfSDJN), is a coalition of citizens, scholars, civil society actors and church groups committed to exposing the adverse impact of unsustainable levels of African sovereign debt on the lives of ordinary citizens. Convened by Afronomicslaw.org with the support of Open Society for Southern Africa, (OSISA), the AfSDJN's activities are tailored around addressing the threats that sovereign debt poses for economic development, social cohesion and human rights in Africa. It advocates for debt cancellation, rescheduling and restructuring as well as increasing the accountability and responsibility of lenders and African governments about how sovereign debt is procured, spent and repaid.

Symposium on IFFs: Illicit Financial Flows and the Real Estate Sector in Africa

The exponentially growing discomfort around Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) globally is an indicator of the undesirable effects that result from the IFFs, ranging from social, economic and even political consequences. There is a general concurrence that IFFs take away substantial amounts of finances from the developing countries, which finances could otherwise be utilised in domestic investments, provision of public services such as education, security, health etc., and offsetting foreign debts. It is on this basis that discussions about IFFs in developing countries should not be postponed.

Symposium on IFFs: Recover and Reinvest: Applying Recovered Proceeds of Corruption to Development Financing in Africa

It is common knowledge that several African economies have a nagging public debt burden. However, in real terms, outside of Oceania, Africa has the lowest public debt in the world. The challenge with Africa is that most of its debt is owed to non-African creditors and the debts are contracted in foreign currency thereby exposing African countries to currency volatility. Another challenge is that these non-African creditors consider the African market as risky, thereby charging higher interest on our loans. While African countries are struggling to finance public debt which ordinarily should be within the capacity of African economies to accommodate, it is estimated that Africa loses about $140 Billion annually to corruption.

Africa’s Blue Economy: What Role for Social Sustainability?

Joining the new global rush for “Blue Gold” Uganda, a landlocked country, recently adopted its national blue economy strategy prepared with the support of the Africa Blue Economy (IGAD). From South Africa to Kenya or Cameroun, African countries, -as most States and regions around the world-, are encouraged to design Blue Economy frameworks, and other implementation toolkits, to grasp the economic opportunities offered by the extraordinary resources of oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes. As for Uganda, the Blue Economy concept is now extended far beyond the Oceans to cover all fresh waters as well as ground waters and associated resources. The African Union (AU) developed its Blue Economy Strategy from 2018 to guide sustainable development and the utilization of aquatic resources in the continent. It was endorsed, in October 2019, and is referred to in the strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of Africa over the next 50 years, the ambitious Africa 2063. Promoted as the new gold for Africa, the Blue Economy is presented by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa as a tool for “both coastal and land-locked States” to “harness opportunities, which could yield mutual benefits, including the provision of efficient and coordinated services to each other as well as access to resources”.