Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law Logo Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

You are here: Research Research Areas Public International Law Making the Multilateral Investment Court Beneficial for Sub-Saharan Africa

Making a Multilateral Investment Court Beneficial for Sub-Saharan Africa?

Head of Section:

Martin Jarrett

About the Project:

This research project relates to international investment law.  This area of law regulates the treatment by States of foreign investments in their territories.  If an investor thinks that it has been the object of mistreatment, it can sue the State hosting its investment in arbitration.  This process of dispute resolution is commonly called ‘investor-State dispute settlement’.

For various reasons, some States have advocated for reform to this current system.  Since late 2017, a reform process has been underway at UNCITRAL, and it is expected to conclude in mid 2026.  Over 100 states regularly attend UNCITRAL meetings in order to participate in this process, including many States from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Various reform proposals have been tabled.  The most prominent of these is the creation of a ‘Multilateral Investment Court’.  This would be an international court for resolving investor-State disputes.  For States of Sub-Saharan Africa, who have signed up the current version of investor-State dispute settlement, they now have a choice to move away from it and sign up to the Multilateral Investment Court.  This research project investigates whether they should take that option.  It also investigates how they might shape it to reflect their interests.


Research Outputs

The central event of this research project was a workshop.  It was held at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa in November 2022.  This workshop was the result of a collaboration between MPIL and three other organisations, namely the Monash University, UNCITRAL, and University of the Witwatersrand.

At this workshop, junior scholars from Africa presented their research on the Multilateral Investment Court.  In respect of each paper, a senior scholar of international investment law was assigned to act as a commentator on it.  Additionally, some governmental officials (who participate in the UNCITRAL meetings) were present in the audience, which gave them the opportunity to express their thoughts on the research being presented.

The best papers from this workshop are in the process of being published.  The first step in that process is publishing summarised versions of these papers as blog posts on Afronomicslaw Blog in January 2024.  Thereafter, the papers will be published in an anthology.


- Prof. Jonathan Klaaren, Wits School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand

- Asso. Prof. Emmanuel Laryea, Monash Law School, Monash University

Funding Source

VolkswagenStiftung (EUR 53.800)


Making MIC Ben for S-S Afr – Call for Papers (PDF, 236.0 KB)
Making MIC Ben for S-S Afr – Workshop Programme (PDF, 585.0 KB)

Further Links

Making MIC Ben for S-S Afr – Day 1 of Workshop
(Video Recording (YouTube))
Making MIC Ben for S-S Afr – Day 2 of Workshop
(Video Recording (YouTube))