During the last stop of her recent African tour IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde attended the fifth regional conference of finance ministers and central bank governors of the Maghreb region in Nouakchott, Mauritania where she again called for more foreign direct investment (FDI) towards Africa, this time to the Maghreb.
Amid rumours of Argentina’s upcoming denunciation of the ICSID Convention after many awards and decisions rendered against that country, it is advisable to reflect about the current status of the Maffezini doctrine within its original context, i.e., the Spain-Argentina (or, reciprocally, the Argentina-Spain) BIT.
So far, six Arbitral Tribunals have accepted that investors (whether Argentinean or Spanish) may benefit from the MFN Clause included in Article IV(2) of the BIT to bypass a required 18-month period of litigation within the host State courts before resorting to international arbitration (ICSID or ad hoc under the UNCITRAL Rules of Arbitration). As far as it is known, to date no Arbitral Tribunal under the Spain-Argentina BIT has denied this solution, although a dissenting opinion was rendered for the first time in late December 2012.
The current score is, as indicated above, 6-0, a clear victory for investors against host States. It could lead us to affirm the existence of jurisprudence constante in this legal issue, at least under the Spain-Argentina BIT. Nonetheless, this post intends only to update the reader on this topic and is deliberately open for further research, analysis and debate. Continue reading
Following our post dated 4 January 2013, the online edition of the official journal of the Plurinational State of Bolivia has published the text of Supreme Decree No. 1448 whereby the Government of Bolivia expropriated shares in four Bolivian companies owned by Spanish energy company Iberdrola through its Bolivian subsidiary Iberbolivia de Inversiones.
With support from Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Department of International Law of the Organization of American States (OAS) has launched a new website in English and Spanish about the enforceability of international commercial arbitration awards in Latin America: http://www.oas.org/en/sla/dil/international_commercial_arbitration.asp.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has wrapped up an official tour to Africa. To date two speeches delivered by Mrs. Lagarde during her tour have been published at IMF’s website: the first one before the Malawian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Lilongwe on 5 January 2013 and the second one before the National Assembly of Ivory Coast in Abidjan on 7 January 2013.
Investment treaties provide a way for investors to mitigate sovereign risk problems, including those arising from changing regulatory frameworks. Companies investing in Africa may be able to structure their investment to take advantage of the protections provided by over 400 bilateral investment treaties which African countries have entered into with developed countries. For example, Egypt has entered into over 100 investment treaties, with both developed and developing countries, while Nigeria has entered into more than 20 such treaties, including with France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Continue reading
Just before the end of last year, on 29 December 2012, President Evo Morales of Bolivia signed Supreme Decree No. 1448 whereby the Government of Bolivia took control of four private-owned electricity companies:
- Electricidad de La Paz (Electropaz);
- Empresa de Luz y Fuerza Eléctrica de Oruro, Sociedad Anónima (ELFEO);
- Compañía Administradora de Empresas Bolivia, Sociedad Anónima (CADEB); and,
- Empresa de Servicios, Sociedad Anónima (EDESER).
Majority stakes thereof belonged at the time of the expropriations to Iberbolivia de Inversiones, Sociedad Anónima, a company subsidiary of Spanish energy company Iberdrola:
- Electropaz: 89.05%;
- ELFEO: 92.84%;
- CADEB: 93.49%; and,
- EDESER: 89.39%.