Making an Offer They Can’t Refuse: Corporate Investment in Africa and the Divestment of Indigenous Land Rights

Abstract: International investment in African land is booming. In many circumstances, investors target land occupied by indigenous populations without official title. National laws providing protection for the land rights of these indigenous populations have proved rare and ineffective due to the driving need for investment and the perceived impediment to investment such laws create. The international humanitarian legal regime likewise provides an insufficient forum for effective protection. Bilateral investment treaties (BITs) should instead be modified to impose affirmative humanitarian obligations on investing corporations to ensure the preservation of indigenous land rights.

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