Friday 1 March 2024

Unpacking ways to promote and protect investments in Africa

Business opportunities in Africa are becoming increasingly attractive, especially for Africa-to-Africa investment, and the continent's potential is strongly being punted by various international financial institutions and market commentators. However, the increasing interest in the continent has required much-needed mechanisms that will unpack the fundamentals of protecting investments in Africa going forward.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is advocating investment across the continent as part of unlocking Africa's potential in five priority areas - what it calls the "High 5s". The AfDB holds that these investment areas - which include energy, agriculture and industry, markets, jobs, skills and quality of life - have the potential to transform Africa's prosperity and boost development in the long run.

AfDB's research also finds that more African companies are investing in the continent and have confidence in its long-term growth potential. They are capitalising on their knowledge of local markets to generate higher returns and impact.

To assist potential investors or those who already have interests in Africa, Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP) in collaboration with Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) launched an online course in the Promotion and Protection of Investment in Africa that provides executives, business leaders and professionals with insight and understanding of the investment protection regimes available under domestic law and international investment law for investments made in host governments.

Comprehensive discussions concerning international investment law principles, as well as protection standards under investment treaties and agreements, are becoming increasingly important. Among these standards are protections against unlawful expropriation, nationalisation, and unfair treatment. Further thought should be given to the legal recourse available to stakeholders in the event of breaches of guarantees or commitments made by either the host government or the investors to the host government. The recourse includes, in particular, an examination of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and related dispute resolution systems.

The course aims to cultivate the understanding of contemporary legal and policy challenges for investments in Africa, including considerations of the investment climate in Africa post-Covid19. The course is further aimed at emphasising the importance of the AfCFTA Investment Protocol to intra-Africa investment.

There is a particular focus on the protection of foreign qualifying investments by qualifying investors intra-Africa (but also extra-Africa) discussing, among others, bilateral and multilateral treaty protection in Africa, Investment agreements with host governments in Africa and their pitfalls and domestic investment legislation and codes.

This one of a kind course brings local, regional and international experience and expertise, with guest lecturers from several leading institutions, law firms, government agencies and consultancy agencies.

Enterprises University of Pretoria offers solutions-driven research and training services. If you wish to be provided with more information, please contact +27 (0)12 4342500 or visit


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