THE ‘Africa rising’ narrative has been picked at relentlessly since the slide in global commodity prices exposed the shortfalls of this over-simplified epithet. The failure of most African economies to use the commodities super-cycle to build stable macroeconomic bases, drive reform and diversify investment has been all-too-tellingly exposed by the current downward cycle.
In particular, governments which have failed to institute political reforms and open up their economies to diversified investment have suffered considerably from the downturn. Conversely, the growth and opportunity story still rings true in a number of African states which present diversified economies and relatively steady political systems. These dynamics are leading to a growing divergence in economic prospects across the continent and locally, requiring a nuanced and well-informed approach to investment.
Essentially in 2017, Namibia is under enormous pressure to deliver results with potentially more scant resources.
For this reason, the new Investment Promotion Bill which has progressed to its final stages must thus be seen as an attempt to promote and protect investment in Namibia in terms of the Constitution, while balancing the public interest and the rights and obligations of investors.
The bill provides a legal platform open to all and sends a clear message to foreign investors and the international community of Namibia’s new approach to investment protection, thereby enhancing the security and predictability of the country’s foreign investment regime.
Given the aim of the new bill is to protect public interests and safeguard the rights of investors, the Government is pursuing important public policy objectives by giving protection for inward and outward investments and retaining policy space. The bill provides a good institutional environment for investors, which aims for a legal and policy framework attuned to sustainable development and inclusive growth.
It’s also important to note that the new bill has several things that support Namibia’s policy shift into a new dispensation. These include constitutional guarantees that mitigate the risks to foreign investors, the constitutionally mandated need to reclaim policy space, an unacceptably high level of unpredictability in interpreting treaties and the ambivalent empirical evidence on their importance in attracting foreign direct investment.
Ultimately, the bill can be seen as taking an approach that is consistent with the emerging framework of global administrative law, applying Namibia’s domestic administrative law principles to its investment policy. This approach supports Namibia’s fledgling democracy, which should strive towards principles of transparency, participation and accountability.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015