Published 17 February 2021
The Southern African Development Community Investment Agreement (SADC IA) aims to harmonise Member States' laws, policies and practices concerning investments to develop the SADC into an integrated investment zone. However, in practice, the existence of the SADC IA does not prevent Member States from maintaining their domestic investment laws. As a result, the SADC IA coexists and applies simultaneously with investment laws of Member States. Some of these laws have better standards of protection than the SADC IA. This paradoxical situation generates divergences in the quality of foreign investment protection norms. By providing for poorer standards of protection, the relationship with domestic investment laws undermines the regional investment protocol's uses and functions, aiming to harmonise Member States' laws and create a 'SADC Investment Zone'.
This paper examines the interplay between community and domestic legal orders as it arises from the SADC IA and the domestic investment laws of its Member States. It uses the Investment Code of the Democratic Republic of Congo as a case study to shed some light on how domestic investment laws can impact the functional dimension of a regional investment treaty.
This paper will be part of the TDM Special Issue on "The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)". More information here www.transnational-dispute-management.com/news.asp?key=1809