Two things are currently unfolding in Africa: significant economic progress and profound political transformation. On the economic front, in the last decade, Africa has been one of the fastest growing continents in the world. Indeed, according to the International Monetary Fund, in the next five years, Africa is expected to be the fastest growing continent,…

Challenges are opportunities in disguise. Despite the global economic slowdown which has significantly affected developed economies, Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, has apparently shown good signs of economic expansion. According to the International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook of September 2011, the region’s economy is expected to expand by up to 5¾ per cent in 2012…

Last year, around this time, I offered a list of 10 investor-state arbitral awards I hoped to see in 2010. If time permits, I may do another list for 2011. But, first I thought I’d take a look back at last year’s list and offer a brief update on those cases. Rather, than do all…

Following the controversial land reform programme first introduced by President Robert Mugabe in July 2000, Zimbabwe has found itself in hot water of late, with a number of international disputes being brought by dispossessed farmers against the State. The first of these disputes was mounted at ICSID in 2005 by a group of 13 Dutch…

I spent some time in Namibia and South Africa last December looking into the impact of bilateral investment treaties on land reform. I don’t do a lot of field trips, and my wife harboured some suspicion that this “research venture” was merely a tidy excuse to trade the New York winter for the Southern African…

When I last visited South Africa in 2006, there was much talk of a potential bilateral investment treaty between SA and Zimbabwe. Three years later, as I make another visit to the region, the long-promised deal has just been sewn up. But, despite much clamouring for a protective pact – particularly from South Africans with…

In recent months, there have been a steady barrage of media reports about so-called “land grabs”. Many believe that we are seeing a new “Scramble for Africa”, as food-scarce countries and private investors alike jostle to lease or purchase vast swathes of agricultural land abroad. There are multiple drivers for such deals: including the perennial…

In submitting his instructions to the American delegation attending the 1907 Second Hague Conference, Secretary of State Elihu Root argued that the Permanent Court of Arbitration system needed radical improvement. In his instructions he wrote: There can be no doubt that the principal objection to arbitration rests, not upon the unwillingness of nations to submit…

By now almost everyone in the international arbitration world is aware of the gavel-to-gavel coverage of the oral pleadings in the so-called Abyei Arbitration before the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The case included many of the leading lights of international arbitration, including Pierre-Marie Dupuy, Stephen Schwebel, and Michael Reisman among the arbitrators, and James Crawford,…