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NGOs call for Bilateral Investment Treaty between Tanzania and The Netherlands that respects human rights

Civil society organisations in east Africa have urged governments to adopt a more people centered approach to investment policy and deal making  and ensure that laws are responsive to  human rights, promote gender equity and support environment sustainability for the attainment of sustainable development. They are in particular pushing for the review of the BIT between Tanzania and The Netherlands which they say does not serve the best interests of Tanzania. 

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Article
1 August 2018

CSOs call for investment policies that respect local communities' rights & reduce inequality

Author: SEATINI Uganda, Diakonia, Both ENDS & HakiMadini

"EAC Civil Society Organizations Call for More People-Centred Invesment Policies in the Region"

 

...[The] EAC Partner States have continued to strengthen their efforts to make the region one investment destination and the most attractive world over. Currently, most investment promotion initiatives including the policies, laws and the agreements being developed, negotiated and signed in the region are focused on growing Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) inflows as the cornerstone of development. This ideology has further been pursued through the inclusion of binding provisions that guarantee such investments protection by the host state. These provisions have systematically been adopted globally and have narrowed the policy space of states to be able to regulate investments in their citizens’ development interests.

 Recent developments have also seen the rise of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as an alternative source of funding for public investments. However, the process and mechanisms of negotiating and signing PPP contracts has remained largely unknown to the public, despite the fact that these contracts are as equally binding as International Investment Agreements. Consequently, despite numerous catchy promises, FDIs in the EAC in many instances have exacerbated poverty and inequality and contributed to human rights abuses such as forced evictions, food insecurity, violation of labour rights, environmental degradation, among others.

 Indeed, while the role of investments, whether foreign or domestic, private or public, in contributing to the development of the EAC region cannot be overemphasized, investment policies, laws and agreements must balance between the protection of investors’ rights and human/ community rights. In order to achieve this, CSOs recommend a more people centered approach to investment policy and deal making. These laws should be responsive to people’s human rights, promote gender equity and support environment sustainability for the attainment of sustainable development.

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Article
30 July 2018

NGOs call for Bilateral Investment Treaty between Tanzania and The Netherlands that respects human rights

Author: Christopher Kidanka, The EastAfrican (Kenya)

“Dar faces legal suit at international tribunals over tax, investment policies”

….Civil society organisations are pushing for the review of the BIT between Tanzania and The Netherlands which they say does not serve the best interests of Tanzania. BothENDS, a Netherlands’ organisation, has teamed up with The Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (Seatini), HakiMadini from Tanzania and Diakonia to lobby decision-makers in Tanzania to influence the treaty’s review. The lobbies want a rewording of the treaty to make it explicit that the intended investment promotion and protection will be pursued to the extent that it supports local development and not at the expense of key domestic development goals and public interest such as health, environment, human-rights, consumer protection, anti-corruption, consumer rights and the promotion of internationally recognised rights such as labour rights.

They want the preamble of the treaty to assert the right of the state to introduce new rules and regulations on investment. “It should also include an objective that captures the measurable and visible parameters of sustainable development that the investment is expected to influence. The objective of the Treaty may read: ‘To encourage and increase investments between investors of one state party into the territory of the other state party that supports employment, technology and skills transfer, synergises with local firms and, ultimately, contribute to poverty reduction in the host country in a sustainable way’,” reads a joint analysis of the contentious provisions of the treaty.

Tanzania and The Netherlands signed the Agreement on Encouragement and Reciprocal protection of investments that came into force on April 1, 2004 and is valid for 15 years until April next year. Article 14 (2), of the agreement provides that unless notice of termination or review has been given by either Tanzania or Netherlands at least six months before the date of the expiry of its validity, the agreement shall be automatically extended tacitly for 10 years. “As per this provision, notification by either parties Tanzania or Netherlands must be done by October 1, 2018, beyond which, the agreement would automatically be renewed. 

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