Africa

African states are party to over 900 investment agreements, the vast majority of which have been signed with non-African countries.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Treaty, signed by Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, contains investment-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions, but no disputes have been registered to date

In 2006, Members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) signed the SADC Finance and Investment Protocol that also includes the ISDS mechanism. Only two claims have been registered under these terms, both against Lesotho (but the governments in the region do not typically disclose such information). In 2016 amendments to the protocol were adopted. They eliminated ISDS provisions (only state-to-state arbitration remained) and narrowed the scope of investors’ rights.

In South Africa, shortly after settling a dispute with foreign mining companies over its new post-apartheid mining rules (Piero Foresti & Others case), the government began to withdraw from bilateral investment treaties (BIT) that include ISDS, arguing they belonged to a bygone era. It claimed BITs focus on the interests of investors from developed countries and do not address concerns of developing countries.

The South African government decided to develop a new model BIT and strengthen its domestic legislation in regard to the protection offered to foreign investors, such as compatibility of BIT-type protection with South African law. South Africa also sought to incorporate legitimate exceptions to investor protection where warranted by public interest considerations.

Provisions of South Africa’s new model BIT] have been incorporated into SADC’s. This model sets out provisions that mitigate the risks of earlier treaties and leaves open the option for state-to-state dispute settlement in addition to investor-state dispute settlement procedures.

In 2014, voices from the Namibian government cast doubts on the correlation between foreign direct investment and investment treaties including ISDS. They argued that ISDS represented a risk for developing countries, due to important legal fees and awards which can pose a significant budgetary threat. Further, statistics show most claimants come from developed countries.

About 20% of all ICSID arbitration disputes have involved African states.

Egypt has been the fourth most targeted state worldwide with 26 registered ISDS cases against it. It is currently facing a dispute initiated by French utility services giant Véolia over a law increasing the minimum wage.

In 2013, an arbitration court ordered Libya to pay US$935 million in a dispute over a land-leasing contract for a tourism project, making it one of the largest known awards to date.

Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been the most targeted in sub-Sahara Africa, both with four disputes all initiated by Belgian and US investors respectively.

(February 2017)

Ecofin | 19-Oct-2017
La firme exploratoire African Petroleum a annoncé avoir déposé auprès du CIRDI les documents relatifs à sa demande d’arbitrage dans le cadre du conflit qui l’oppose au gouvernement gambien.
Reuters | 19-Oct-2017
African Petroleum Corp has begun arbitration proceedings over Gambia’s decision to strip the company of its rights to explore for oil in two offshore areas.
Land Portal | 18-Oct-2017
Tanzania is currently confronting this challenge, faced with a new international investment dispute tied to a proposed large-scale sugarcane and ethanol production project.
Mobile World Live | 18-Oct-2017
A long-running battle between Naguib Sawiris’ Orascom and the Algerian authorities rumbled on, with the operator seeking an annulment of a recent decision on the case.
The Reporter | 11-Oct-2017
Karuturi could sue the government of Ethiopia at international tribunals on the basis of violations of the Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement India and Ethiopia have signed on.
TVC | 11-Oct-2017
The Economic Community of West African States has called for the creation of a Regional Arbitration Forum as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism to boost its economic potentials.
Maghreb Emergent | 9-Oct-2017
Le Cirdi, relevant de la Banque Mondiale, a annoncé récemment qu’il allait constituer un comité ad hoc pour statuer sur un recours introduit par Orascom TMT.
Mining Review Africa | 5-Oct-2017
New laws revolve around the notion that Tanzania’s domestic law is to be supreme over any international dispute or arbitration decision.
IISD | 4-Oct-2017
Le tribunal a estimé que la société requérante n’avait pas de siège social au Luxembourg et a fait preuve d’abus de droit pour « étayer la réalité de son siège social luxembourgeois »
IISD | 4-Oct-2017
The tribunal ruled that the investor did not have a head office in Luxembourg and had abused its rights to “give the impression that it had a Luxembourg head office”

0 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60 | 70 | 80 | ... | 120