Regional conference in cooperation with GIZ in Dakar on the subject of "Investment climate and legal framework in West Africa" (Image: Photo Cheikh Saya Diop, Dakar)

"Investment climate and legal framework in West Africa" was the topic of a regional conference in Dakar, which the IRZ organised with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a governmental cooperation agency. The event took place from 6-7 December 2021 in a face-to-face format and was the first regional conference in cooperation between IRZ and GIZ with partner countries in Africa. It was embedded in the GIZ regional project “Promoting the rule of law and justice in Africa”, which is part of the G20 “Compact with Africa” initiative to promote private investment in Africa.

The regional conference therefore aimed to examine the current legal infrastructure in the area of investment and discussed ways of securing and continuing further foreign investment in West Africa and other countries on the African continent.

The participating African states of Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Algeria and Tunisia sent representatives of the ministries of justice or the supreme court jurisdiction as experts to the conference. The host country Senegal was also represented by the Ministry of Economy and Planning, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the National Investment Agency (APIX), the employers' association, representatives of business court jurisdictions, the legal profession and the university sector. Finally, at the pan-African level, the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (OHADA)) and the African Centre for Administrative Training and Research for Development (Centre Africain de Formation et de Recherche Administratives pour le Développement) (CAFRAD) also attended the conference.

The IRZ managed to persuade the Director General of CAFRAD, Dr. Stéphane Monney Mouandjo to attend as a keynote speaker.

The following experts participated from Germany:

  • Riadh Khalil Hassanain, Federal Bar Association, Berlin
  • Yorck Diergarten, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, consultant in the VC3 foreign investments department, Paris Club

During the presentations and subsequent discussions, the experts and the participants addressed the national and international legal framework for investments in the region, the legal requirements to create incentives for international investments in the African participating states and in Germany and how to provide legal protection to the economic infrastructure of the countries and the investing companies. Investment disputes and options for dispute resolution were also discussed. The discussions also engaged in a critical examination of the existing international agreements on investment protection. Thanks to the comparative regional perspective, they specifically addressed potential synergy effects between the partner countries in the region.