The Commercial Law Research Network Nigeria (CLRNN) was established in 2019 to create a platform through which the suitability of reforms to the commercial law in Nigeria can be critically discussed. CLRNN creates a collaborative environment in which researchers with expert knowledge of Nigeria’s domestic and international contexts can engage on various commercial law subjects germane to Nigeria’s economy.
Coal extraction is a lucrative industry in Colombia for the transnational corporations operating in the country. One of the most aggressive projects against local communities today is the Cerrejon coal mine in la Guajira, which has been a site for large-scale coal extraction since 1970. In 1976 the Colombian government signed a contract with Intercor (a subsidiary of Exxon) to explore, exploit and commercialize the Northern Zone. Under this agreement, both the exploitation and commercialization of coal would have a duration of 23 years, from which both the mine and the railroad, the port, the buildings, other properties, contracts and fixed assets that are necessary for the development of the business would return to Carbocol, a state-owned enterprise.
South Africa now has an international arbitration regime that represents best practice internationally. However, there is a serious need to develop a proper jurisprudential framework for choice of court agreements. The challenge is to create a viable litigation counterpart to international arbitration agreements. It should be possible for parties to not only choose South Africa as a neutral arbitration venue, it should also be possible for them to choose South Africa as a neutral litigation forum.
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Access to justice for victims of business and human rights in the ISA will be an strong index to measure the realization of the sustainable development goal on access to justice. Goal 16 specifically provides that states should promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all. Reforming the ISA to ensure equal access between states, investors, and local communities will be an important step in this direction.
Human rights principles and standards are strongly reflected in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015. However, for victims of human rights violations at the hands of transnational corporations the question of redress remains daunting. Access to justice challenges faced by such victims before domestic courts have placed this issue at the forefront of international discourse. Accordingly, one of the ‘pillars’ on which the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) are founded is the “need for rights and obligations to be matched to appropriate and effective remedies when breached”, including state-based judicial, state-based non-judicial, and non-state–based remedies.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is blessed with abundant energy resources both conventional and renewable. In Nigeria, crude oil exports account for about 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings and 80 percent of government revenue, thus making the country’s economy heavily reliant on oil revenue. However, global economies of both developed and developing countries are now embarking on transitions to sustainable low carbon economy. Given the move towards sources of renewable energy, this has adversely affected oil revenue, consequently, it is very important that Nigeria diversify its economy.
African countries can, and should facilitate, access to international arbitration by their citizens whose interests are harmed by foreign investors by procuring investors’ consent to such arbitration, and by including in their IIAs investor obligations. Allowing HSCs to be able to seek remedies through international arbitration has a number of benefits.
In July 2019, the African International Economic Law Network (AfIELN), held its Fourth Biennial Conference under the theme “Africa and International Economic Law in the 21st Century” at the Strathmore University Law School (Nairobi, Kenya). This symposium contains some of the papers presented at this conference in their abridged forms. Before introducing the authors’ views on this Conference’s broader theme, we provide the important context under which the Conference took place.
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.