n SA Mercantile Law Journal = SA Tydskrif vir Handelsreg - Protection of investors and investments

Volume 21, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1015-0099
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2185



International investments are especially fraught with risks both commercially and politically (also legally), and one sees that developing countries are looking with growing concern into revising their investment policies and their existing international investment agreements. This is due to the number of disputes that have arisen and the fact that those countries have been summoned to appear before international arbitration tribunals for alleged breaches of international investment agreements because they did not comply with their international law obligations to protect foreign investors and investments. Some of these states perceive that it is only the foreign investor who benefits, and that the developing country (ie, the host state) stands to gain nothing, because the foreign investor is granted protection or sometimes even said to be granted a number of 'rights'. Developing countries often do not take cognisance of the fact that any action they take at the level of central or local government might affect their international obligations. Advisors to developing countries are thus hesitant to advise their principals to continue signing and negotiating these agreements since compliance with their (ie, the host government's) perceived social justice obligations to their citizens very often results in a breach of their international investment agreements.

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