The Role of International Law and Institutions in Facilitating Proper Governance and Management of Extractive Industries in Africa: Notable Developments as Observed from Tanzania’s Vantage Point

Authors Adelardus Kilangi

ISSN: 2521-2613
Affiliations: Former Member and President, African Union Commission on International Law; Senior Legal Advisor, African Minerals Development Centre; Senior Lecturer, St Augustine University of Tanzania
Source: Africa Nazarene University Law Journal, 2016, Issue 2, p. 1 – 35


Matters of governance and management of extractive industries are taking centre stage in debates and discussions in various fora around the world today and in most cases are spearheaded by resource-rich countries themselves. However, a pertinent question keeps lingering in that context: What is the role of international law and international institutions in ensuring good governance of the extractive industries, specifically in Africa? This paper investigates, albeit briefly, the role that international law and institutions play and have played in encouraging improvements in how governments in Africa govern and manage the exploitation of extractive resources for their countries, and it does this from Tanzania’s vantage point. The paper looks both at select principles of international law as well as initiatives of select international institutions. The paper concludes by noting that, while important strides have been made and continue to be made at international level in ensuring good governance and management of resources, the framework for implementing these developments appears to be weak. In addition, the effective implementation of these developments appears at times to be hampered by indifference, inaction or non-cooperation on the part of developed countries. This is because some of the proposed measures are viewed as likely to hurt the interests of foreign investors, most of whom originate from these same developed countries.