International Investment Law and Developing Nations: the case of African countries

International Investment Law and Developing Nations: the case of African countries

This is a past event

There are discussions before the UNCITRAL and ICSID on reviews of various procedural aspects of international investments arbitration. These all feed into the ‘backlash’ against international arbitration generally but as it relates to the difficulties states have encountered with international investment agreements they have signed and arbitral awards made against states and the interpretation of certain provisions of the IIAs by private arbitral tribunals. One of the acclaimed benefits of IIAs is support in the development of states. This may be contentious and not as widely accepted as some commentators claim.  

In this seminar, I will explore the intersection between development of international investment agreements and interrogate, drawing examples from African countries, whether IIAs states sign in concrete terms drive development and if not whether they should. If they should, how can states ensure that these IIAs actually deliver development for them and their citizens. 

I will briefly explore the evolution of international investment law from a Southern perspective; why and how states conclude BITs; the role of development in foreign investment; the need for revision of BITs and review of IIAs; the need for substantive reforms; how these reforms may be achieved. 

Short Bio: 

Emilia Onyema is a Reader in International Commercial Law and Interim Pro-Director Learning and Teaching and teaches international commercial arbitration and international investment law at SOAS University of London. She is qualified to practice law in Nigeria, is a Solicitor in England & Wales, Fellow of Chartered Institute of Arbitrator and independent arbitrator. She convenes the SOAS Arbitration in Africa conference series and leads the SOAS Arbitration in Africa survey research project (the 2020 survey report on the top African arbitral centres and seats was published on 30 June 2020). Her research interests focus on the development of international arbitration in Africa and the engagement of Africans in international arbitration. It further interrogates the intersections of the discourses on diversity, with particular reference to Africa, in international arbitration.  

Dr Emilia Onyema (SOAS University of London)
Hosted by
University of Aberdeen, School of Law
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