"The African Continental Free Trade Agreement Investment Protocol: New Thinking on Investment Governance"
When the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) entered into force in May 2019, it established the second largest free trade area in the world, after the World Trade Organization, covering more than 1.2 billion people and more than $3 trillion in GDP. It is a vital tool to mobilize intra-African trade and investment to propel the continent on a sustainable development trajectory.
AfCFTA Member States are now in the midst of Phase II negotiations, which include a Protocol on Investment. This negotiation offers a key opportunity to rethink investment governance in sustainable development terms. Three distinguished panelists offered updates and perspectives on key developments in the AfCFTA Investment Protocol discussions and their insights as to where these discussions could be headed.
Olabisi Akinkugbe, Viscount Bennett Professor of Law & Assistant Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
Africa Kiiza, PhD Fellow (International Trade and Investment), Hamburg University; Consulting Research Fellow, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)
"Investment Facilitation: A Critical Stock-Taking"
Under the right conditions, investment can make critical contributions to sustainable development. However, if not carefully governed, investment can result in social and environmental harms, tax evasion, costly investor-state disputes, and other undesirable outcomes. Accordingly, policy discussions on investment promotion and facilitation have shifted from an emphasis on speeding up approvals, removing regulatory barriers and stabilizing the legal and regulatory environment, to a combination of tools, policies, and processes that foster a regulatory and administrative framework to facilitate investment that maximizes and does not undermine sustainable development objectives. However, this shift in understanding and prioritization is not always translated into actual policy-making and negotiation.
Also, there is neither evidence nor common agreement as to which tools, policies, and processes are desirable for countries to facilitate investment for sustainable development, or whether these tools are best implemented at the national, regional or international level. Indeed, various processes are ongoing, including structured discussions on investment facilitation at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
This session took stock of these existing approaches to investment facilitation, bringing together government, civil society, and academic perspectives on the strengths and shortcomings of each.
Nicolas Palau van Hissenhoven, Deputy Permanent Representative, Mission of Colombia to the WTO
Kekeletso Mashigo, Director: Legal, International Trade, Investment, Dispute Settlement, Trade Policy, Negotiations & Cooperation Branch, Department of Trade, Industry & Competition, South Africa
Kinda Mohamadieh, Senior Researcher and Legal Advisor, Third World Network, Geneva
Karl P. Sauvant, Resident Senior Fellow, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)
Moderator:Nathalie Bernasconi, Executive Director, IISD Europe; Senior Director, Economic Law & Policy, International Institute on Sustainable Development (IISD)