Human Rights and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement on Investment Protocol: A Quest for Balance
Published 13 February 2023
On 1 January 2021, African countries achieved a significant milestone under the auspices of the African Union as trading began under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). By increasing intra-African trade, the AfCFTA aims to create a large single African market for goods, services and movement of persons. Phase II of the negotiations on the AfCFTA has begun. It will focus on contentious issues such as intellectual property rights, investment, competition policies, and possibly e-commerce. Already, the 'Zero Draft' of the Protocol on Investment to the Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA, dated November 2021 and uploaded to the 'ISDS Platform' in April 2022, is publicly available. The Zero Draft is designed to promote, facilitate and protect investments that foster sustainable development of State parties while safeguarding the right of States to regulate for public interests. It establishes a transparent and sound continental legal framework on investment, taking into account the interests of State parties and investors and provides for settling innovative dispute settlement mechanisms for a breach of the investment protection standards. The human rights dimension is the most notable feature of the Zero Draft. Therefore, this contribution will address the human rights provisions in the Zero Draft in order to provide a better understanding of their relevance and potential effectiveness in protecting human rights in Africa.
This paper will be part of the second TDM Special Issue on "The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)". More information here www.transnational-dispute-management.com/news.asp?key=1809