By the end of August 2019, African States had been hit by a total of 106 known investment treaty arbitration claims. This represents 11% of all known investor-state disputes worldwide. Between 2013 and 2018, there has been an unprecedented boom of claims against African governments. During these last six years, they received more investor claims than the previous 20 years combined. This paper exposes how the international investment regime affects African countries.
In recent years Africa has experienced waves of new investment, particularly in mining, energy and agriculture, and has seen elevated commodity exports. These flows are tantamount to a new scramble, creating wealth for foreign direct investors, some local entrepreneurs and a growing comprador class. Resources are typically exploited without raising the living standards of the people and at significant environmental cost. On the ground this has engendered significant resistance. The new scramble is a modification of traditional imperialist relationships which Africa experienced with former occupying colonial powers. But how do we understand the differences between the old and new scrambles? Who ultimately holds the power?
Resistance to privatisation has turned into a powerful force for change. (Re)municipalisation refers to the reclaiming of public ownership of services as well as the creation of new public services. In recent years, our research has identified more than 1,400 successful (re)municipalisation cases involving more than 2,400 cities in 58 countries around the world.
In dit onderzoek analyseren wij vijftig jaar ISDS, de ontwikkeling van investeringsbescherming in een globaliserende wereld en de rol van Nederland hierin. We hebben feiten en cijfers uitgezocht en opgezocht, analyses gemaakt en conclusies getrokken.
Support for public services and limits on private profit is at an all-time high in the wake of the pandemic. How do we ensure this prioritisation of public needs and goods becomes permanent? What are the best models of democratic and participatory public services? Join a webinar with trade unionists and activists in Italy, Nigeria and India advancing bold new visions for a public future.
The real-world examples in this book demonstrate that a political economy that curbs the power of big finance and serves people and planet is possible. The ideas shared here are timely and urgent—a call to readiness before the next financial bubble bursts.
As land is grabbed and earmarked in Africa for supposed development, there are nearly always implications for the water nearby, for local people's land and water rights and environmental sustainability.
From Austria to Chile, Lagos to London, people are demanding policies that democratize economies and keep public resources in public hands. In just the last decade, more than 2,400 cities in 58 countries have brought privatized resources back under public control. Laura Flanders reports from Amsterdam at The Future is Public, a conference co-hosted by TNI that brings together hundreds of organizers, scholars, and government officials who are working to democratize their municipal and national economies.
In January 2019 the World Health Organization issued a collection of formal recommendations to reschedule cannabis and cannabis-related substances, these present an opportunity for African governments and civil society to further decolonise drug control approaches on the continent, as well as to strengthen the international legal basis for emerging medicinal cannabis programmes in several African countries.
Published by Biowatch South Africa, this is a book about access to information, the right to know, and action in the public’s interest – a must-read for anyone campaigning for environmental or social justice.
Investment protection mechanisms give corporations the right to sue states if they take any measures – including public interest legislation – that might threaten profits. Wellknown versions of this is the Investor state-dispute mechanism (ISDS) which after rising controversy and critisism has been replaced by the Investment court system (ICS). Investment protection mechanisms are included in most new FTAs. Nevertheless, several governments are starting to reconsider their commitments to it as they recognize the danger that it poses to their sovereignty. TNI has produced extensive research highlighting how investment protection gives corporations far-reaching rights that curtail governments’ sovereignty and drain limited public budgets. It has also revealed the big stakes the legal industry has in these mechanisms.
Samir Larabi, Shelagh Smith and Hamza Hamouchene explore how the fight to create independent trade unions, the rise of the unemployed movement and the struggle against state oppression in Kabylia (Algeria) have fed into the emergence of the Hirak and assess the movement’s prospects for the future.
Towns and cities stand at the heart of the new public future. Between 2000 and 2019, there were over 1400 new cases of “municipalisation” or “remunicipalisation”, the creation of new public enterprises run by local governments or the return of privatised enterprises to municipal hands. This trend occurred across 2400 locales in 58 countries.
As governments take action to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent economic collapse, big law firms are watching the virus too. Yet their concern is not to save lives or the economy. Instead the lawyers urge big business to challenge emergency measures in order to defend their profits. In a parallel corporate justice system called ISDS, states could face multi-million dollar lawsuits.
Cecilia Olivet, Lucía Bárcena, Bettina Müller, Luciana Ghiotto, Sara Murawski
20 April 2020
The fact that we are marking the 1000th ISDS claim in the middle of a profound social and economic crisis should be a wake-up call. Just as the pandemic is revealing profound health inequities and the dangers of agroindustrial food systems, it is also showing the dangers of trade and investment systems that put corporate profits above health and life.
Northern African countries are key suppliers of natural resources to the global economy, from large- scale oil and gas extraction in Algeria and Tunisia, to phosphate mining in Tunisia and Morocco, to water-intensive agribusiness paired with tourism in Morocco and Tunisia. The commodification of nature and privatisation of resources entailed in these projects has led to serious environmental damages, and forced these countries into a subservient position in the global economy, sustaining and deepening global inequalities.