THE LEGAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN NIGERIA WITHIN THE CONTEXTS OF NEPAD AND AGOA
The challenges of growth and development have necessitated various economic experiments in Nigeria since independence. Development plans and a nationalistic indigenous approach were apparent in the first twenty– five years. Failure to meet fair and just expectations, given the potentials and resources of this country, has allowed a large room for foreign influences in the search for solutions, particularly since the mid–1980s. In both cases the prevailing economic philosophy was always reflected by the legal system as many laws were enacted which in form and content defined the regulatory principles for the relevant period.
As to foreign influences, the close of the last millennium brought about the fall of insular approaches to the management of the economies of nations and this is very significant for a developing country like Nigeria. Great advances in information technology, the opening up of Eastern Europe after the fall of communism, regionalization of economic concerns, globalization, deregulation, privatization and commercialization became realities to which nations could not be indifferent, particularly Nigeria,
which after a period of prosperity brought about by the oil boom of the
1970s was in economic decline.
Since Nigeria retuned to civil rule in 1999 the government has been campaigning world-wide to attract foreign investment to the country. A similar campaign termed “economic diplomacy” by the administration of General Ibrahim Babangida did not yield success. Africa which had largely moved from dictatorship to democratic rule at the end of the last millennium began to pay attention to the problem of colonial rule, and this concern has led to two significant developments: the metamorphosis of the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU), and the economic initiative of some of the leaders of the continent known as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) which they intend should “provide an impetus to Africa’s development by bridging the gap in priority sectors to enable the continent catch up with developed parts of the world”.1 Outside Africa, the government of the United States of America under President Bill Clinton passed the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2000 which offers incentives for African countries to open their economies and to have access to the American market.