Attracting foreign investment while holding transnational corporations to account for any human rights transgressions is by no means an easy feat. It will require that a careful balance be struck between the interests of the host State and its people, and that of private actors expecting good risk-return ratios in pursuit of the bottom line. Although international mechanisms such as the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have long endorsed accountability for transnational corporations, a zero draft international convention to regulate this issue has only recently been developed.
It is crucial to incorporate both a balanced approach and a human rights perspective into the negotiations on intellectual property in the context of the AfCFTA. In this regard, it should be noted that the TRIPS Agreement gives countries considerable flexibility with regard to how they can choose to protect plants and new plant varieties because Article 27(3)(b) of the TRIPS Agreement permits countries to exclude plants from patentability although it requires them to provide protection for plant varieties either by patents or by an effective sui generis system or by any combination thereof.