Investment policy landscape of the African Regional Economic Communities, Tripartite Free Trade Area and Continental Free Trade Area
African countries, under the auspices of the African Union, are negotiating the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) which is expected to be launched in December 2017. The CFTA is expected to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments. It intends to boost intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation and facilitation, and instruments across the regional economic communities (RECs) and Africa at large. The CFTA will contain an investment chapter which is currently scheduled to be discussed in phase II of the CFTA negotiations, together with intellectual property and competition issues. Phase I covers trade in goods and trade in services.
The CFTA investment chapter is expected to elaborate and build on the achievements of the RECs. The purpose of this trade brief is to present the progress made by the RECs thus far in the area of investment. As such, investment laws, regulations or policies that have been, are being or yet to be developed by these regional groupings are discussed.
The proliferation of intra-African investment treaty regimes and distinct legal norms are some of the challenges that the CFTA must seek to address. The primary objective of the CFTA investment chapter must be to provide for transparent and predictable investment rules, regulations and procedures conducive to investment, as well as to facilitate intra-African investments which are critical to the success of continental economic integration. The chapter should also stimulate more investments at national, regional and continental levels.
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