The Investment Treaty Regime and Public Interest Regulation in Africa
Dominic Npoanlari Dagbanja
Reviews and Awards
"The question of how constitutional, human rights and environmental law limit government powers to conclude investment agreements, provide legal and economic privileges to foreign investors, and limit regulatory freedoms and duties has remained under-researched, notably outside Europe. This book enriches the investment law literature by comparative studies of the constitutional and human rights obligations of African countries and of their frequent neglect in investment treaties, adjudication and arbitration practices. It raises a host of new legal, policy and research questions that will become increasingly important for economic, environmental and 'survival governance' in times of health pandemics, climate and technological changes and related economic and human rights crises." - Emeritus Professor Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann, European University Institute, Italy
"In this path-breaking book, Dominic Dagbanja raises the important issue whether states which are constitutionally required to promote the public interest can make investment treaties which constrain their power to do so. Dagbanja has explored the issue in the context of the constitutional provisions of several African states. He considers the issue in the context of international obligations in the areas of human rights, the environment, development and judicial sovereignty. The conclusions he draws have global significance. The work provides a powerful case for the re-examination of the existing system of investment treaties. It will illumine discussions on this important area of international law for many years to come." - Emeritus Professor Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
"In the best TWAIL traditions, Dagbanja challenges the primacy of foreign investors' interests over states' constitutional responsibilities to their people. This thoughtful, meticulous and at times provocative analysis for Africa offers a significant contribution to broader international investment treaty reform, including for the Global North." - Professor Jane Kelsey, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
"With careful and detailed analysis, Dominic Dagbanja has defended the role and responsibility of any state to protect its people. As he demonstrates compellingly, a state cannot, by concluding an investment treaty, alter this essential purpose of its existence. While Dagbanja focuses on African states, his analysis is relevant to all states and indeed all people. Above all, Dagbanja shows carefully and credibly that human survival and wellbeing are the top priority of the state in law and how those interpreting and applying international investment law must recognize this essential truth for any of its legitimate goals to be realized." - Professor Gus Van Harten, York University, Canada
"Even literature which is critical of the scope and effect of international investment treaties often takes their legal status for granted. By contrast, this book connects policy failures and power imbalances to fundamental questions of domestic constitutional authority and international legal validity. Its radical move is to take seriously what state constitutions say about the purpose and functions of the state (the protection and advancement of the welfare of the people). For Dagbanja, these broad constitutional provisions, together with principles of international law (especially concerning human rights and the environment), ground substantive limits on the legal power of states to bind themselves to treaties which restrict their ability to regulate in the public interest."
"Combining a novel and ambitious theoretical framework (the 'Imperatives Theory') with detailed case-study analysis (focusing on Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa), the book questions the capacity of the developmental state in Africa to perform dutifully the role international economic law prescribes for it. The book challenges mainstream conceptions of what the state is for, whose interests it serves, and how best to understand the limits of its legal authority, and with it, the limits of international law - precisely by invoking (and then pushing on) their most conventional premises. Essential reading for scholars and practitioners of international economic law interested in the effect and legality of international investment treaties in Africa and beyond, the book's powerful arguments open up compelling new horizons for thinking in the field." - Dr Richard Joyce, Monash University, Australia