Trade, investment, others should be right-based across Africa ― Olawuyi

An independent expert of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights in Africa, Prof. Damilola Olawuyi (SAN) called for rights-based approaches to trade, investment, banking and business practices across Africa.

The frontline energy lawyer and global vice-chair of the International Law Association (ILA) stated this while speaking on a new book titled Business and Human Rights Law and Practice in Africa, published by Edward Elgar, United Kingdom, co-edited by Olawuyi and Oyeniyi Abe, a lecturer at the University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom and senior fellow in business and human rights law at the Institute for Oil, Gas, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development (OGEES Institute), Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Nigeria.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria stated that a vast volume of literature has been generated on its application in Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America amongst others since the adoption of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in 2011.

According to him, what however remained absent for many years was an in-depth, exhaustive and book-length exposition of the application of the UNGPs in African countries.

He added that the book fills a significant gap in this regard.

“Since the adoption of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in 2011, a vast volume of literature has been generated on its application in Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America amongst others.

“What however remained absent for many years was an in-depth, exhaustive and book-length exposition of the application of the UNGPs in African countries.

“This book fills a significant gap in this regard.” He said.

He noted that this new book is the very first book-length examination of a business and human rights law and practice in Africa.

While describing the book, Olawuyi noted that it unpacks good-fit and home-grown approaches for advancing business and human rights norms across Africa.

The Energy expert added that it explores the latest developments in law, regulations, policies, and governance structures across the continent, focusing on key legal innovations in response to human rights impacts of business operations and activities.

Meanwhile, He stated dedicated the book to Aare Afe Babalola, SAN a frontline business and human rights lawyer, trailblazer, proprietor and founder of ABUAD, who for several decades has utilized his legal expertise to provide ethical guidance and wisdom to business enterprises operating in Africa and beyond, in key economic sectors.

Olawuyi said he was inspired by his exemplary leadership and achievements in the field; hence, they have put together this book to provide a simplified toolkit for lawyers, investors, students, corporations, ministries, arbitrators, courts, and international tribunals, to understand the corporate strategies for managing business and human rights risks when investing in the African continent.

Speaking also, Professor Surya Deva, a professor of law at the Macquarie Law School, Australia and former independent expert of the United Nations Working Group on business and Human Rights expressed that this volume provides much-needed African perspectives on the business and human rights landscape.


Surya said such work should help in promoting business respect for human rights and corporate acceptability in different world regions.

On his own part, Ilias Bantekas, a professor of law at Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar noted that “the in-depth and systematic approach of this book makes it a must-read for students, academics, practitioners, policymakers and business leaders in Africa and beyond.”

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