The Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal (PER/PELJ) invites contributions from authors with regard to the impact of the COVID-19 on the future regulation of foreign investment in developing states.
Southern African Development Community
Fox and Bakhoum contextualize competition law by describing (in chapters 2 and 3) the structure and other key characteristic of markets in numerous African countries, including the economic and political history of those countries and their markets, as well as the legacies of colonization and decolonization – and by highlighting more broadly the economic challenges and needs of the people of Africa.
This book symposium is about a new era of international investment norms in Africa. The discussion focuses on how to foster cooperation between African states and foreign investors in implementing sustainable development objectives and addressing global challenges. Several traditional investment treaties offer investors broad rights and protections that are backed by strong dispute settlement mechanisms. In the same vein, States have historically committed to non-reciprocal obligations in investment treaties that are seen as significantly limiting the policy space of states.
A proper assessment of Rudahindwa’s monograph on the subject of establishing the African Economic Community (AEC) is one that cannot exclude the currents of ongoing reform efforts and the extent to which they are able to move the continent faster towards the dream of achieving the AEC. This invariably raises some methodological questions that border on multidisciplinary approach to regionalism, and the issue of context. The author highlights these two imperatives in the monograph. By using the concept of “developmental regionalism” as an analytical prism, the author situates the discussion within a multidisciplinary paradigm.
Post-Cotonou approaches to innovation require the technocrats to go beyond the jargon of ‘partnership of equals’ and change their own modus operandi: the future relationship must be based on co-production and the case of GIs is a testing ground for this. This would involve dedicating technical teams to work co-productively with farmers’ groups – women, youth, community-based – to understand the local issues that will impact any GI scheme in the regions. But it also means looking at new and novel products, such as cannabis, especially given the drive to legalise cannabis and in particular ‘medical marijuana. By extension, it means recognizing the importance of a development focused approach to the ACP and extending the scope of GIs beyond its current remit which has long-been defined by European values.
There is a feeling that the next decade will be a watershed period in terms of the economic relations between the EU and Africa. Both continents are experiencing sweeping developments that will invariably affect their respective existence and mutual relationships. In Africa, the largest preferential trade area, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), has recently been ratified while in Europe, the EU is navigating the challenges of Brexit. All this is taking place in the backdrop of negotiations between the two blocs to replace the Cotonou Agreement which has since 2000 served as the bedrock of economic relations between the EU and ACP states. How, then, will the Africa-EU relationship be impacted – if at all – by the implementation of AfCFTA?
Moving beyond the arguably false dichotomy between ‘North Africa’ and ‘Sub-Saharan’ Africa will require a transformative reconfiguration of Africa-EU relations, but I see this as a positive and progressive one (I’m not sure that the EU will, but perhaps the EU Commissioners in DG Trade can comment on that point!). Any future FTA with the EU must, I believe, ensure that African nations are properly integrated into the global economy and not just into the EU’s economy.
With regards to the Southern African Trade Law subject, works of African scholars constitute the majority of the prescribed reading materials. The examination questions are also reflective of developments around regionalism in Southern Africa, with hypotheticals on how member states can navigate trade rules and obligations. In going forward, I intend to implement a number of approaches in enhancing the pedagogy of international economic law.
Dr. Susan Isiko Štrba combines teaching and research with providing policy and legislative advice and technical training to governments, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs. She focuses mainly on intellectual property, trade and development.
With 22 ratifications now guaranteed, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, (AfCFTA), will soon enter into force. Once in force, its efficacy will depend on the political will to implement it as well as its enforcement mechanisms. The AfCFTA’s Protocol on Rules and Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes establishes a WTO-like Dispute Settlement Mechanism with Panels and an Appellate Body.