Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Obstacles to US Investment in Africa

Peter Hansen
Peter Hansen, a Washington attorney who specializes in African investment law, made a compelling case for expanding U.S. bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and double tax treaties (DTTs) with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Published on 4 February 2013 by The Heritage Foundation and titled "Unleashing the U.S. Investor in Africa: A Critique of U.S. Policy Toward the Continent,"  Hansen pointed out that the United States has only six BITs in Sub-Saharan Africa with Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Rwanda and Senegal.  The United States only has a DTT with South Africa.

By comparison, France has 11 BITs and 26 DTTs with Sub-Saharan Africa, Germany has 26 BITs and even China has 11 BITs.  Hansen argues that these governments have significantly reduced the risk for companies from their countries to invest in Africa while the United States has failed to give this program a sufficiently high priority.  As a result, American companies are reluctant to invest in important countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia. 

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