SEATINI, East African Trade Network, HakiMadini, and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) hosted a webinar to discuss the status of negotiations of the Protocol on Investment to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.
The AfCFTA Agreement entered into force in 2019 and established the largest existing free trade area by country membership. Having just passed the one-year anniversary since inauguration of trading under the AfCFTA, hopes and aspirations for potential benefits associated with the AfCFTA abound. Negotiations of the AfCFTA Agreement take place in defined phases; Phase II includes negotiation of investment issues, with a Protocol on Investment due to be concluded by December 2022.
Existing investment policy and legal frameworks in Africa (and worldwide) often focus on investment and investor protection rather than inclusive development, realization of human rights objectives, and the just energy transition. A continent-wide instrument like the Protocol on Investment presents an opportunity for Africa to set her own priorities regarding continental and international investment governance. It is vital to ensure that outcomes are aligned with continental objectives. Inclusive negotiations require that key stakeholders such as civil society, trade unions, and academia can provide meaningful input during negotiations, and that such stakeholders are kept abreast of the status and timelines of negotiations to enable their perspectives to shape the negotiations.
It is against this background that the co-organizers organized this webinar. Speakers discussed:
The state of play regarding negotiations of the Protocol on Investment to the AfCFTA Agreement;
Key issues in the Protocol on Investment and their implications for sustainable development, human rights and climate objectives in Africa; and
Policy options that can inform negotiations.
Edgar Odari, Executive Director, Econews Africa
Joseph Rotich, Negotiator, Ministry of Trade, Kenya
Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile, Senior Fellow, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Kiiza Africa, Consulting Research Fellow-CCSI, PhD Fellow-Universität Hamburg
Naidu Vahini, Programme Coordinator-Trade for Development, South Centre
Kamati C. Mugalia, Executive Director, East Africa Trade Union Confederation (EATUC)
Brenda Akankunda, Program Coordinator-Trade, Investment and Development, SEATINI Uganda
CCSI's co-organization of this event was supported by GIZ on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); however, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the German government’s official views or policies.