Is the recently signed Morocco-Nigeria BIT a step towards a more balanced form of intra-African investor protection?

On 3 December 2016, Morocco and Nigeria signed a new bilateral investment treaty (the "BIT"), with the overarching aim of strengthening "the bonds of friendship and cooperation" between the two States.  The BIT (available here) is yet to be ratified and to enter into force. 

The BIT takes an interesting and in some ways innovative approach to the balance of rights and obligations as between investors and the respective host States, placing emphasis on the promotion of sustainable development and expressly safe-guarding the State's discretion to take measures to meet policy objectives.  As compared to traditional investment treaties, the BIT imposes additional obligations on investors and appears to seek to address, to a degree, the criticism that such investment treaties have been too heavily geared towards protecting investor interests. 

We explore below some of the more unusual aspects of the BIT, and consider the innovative nature of the BIT by comparison to other intra and extra-African treaties concluded in recent years.   

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High Court rules that the principle of non-justiciability, unlike state immunity, cannot be waived

In a recent judgment of 21 June 2016 on a number of summary judgment applications in the case of High Commissioner for Pakistan in the United Kingdom ("Pakistan") v National Westminster Bank (the "Bank"), the English High Court considered the doctrines of act of state and non-justiciability, concluding that these doctrines, unlike state immunity, cannot be waived. The High Court dismissed the summary judgment application brought by India against Pakistan's arguments that the act of state and/or non-justiciability doctrines applied, and clarified their practical application.  

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