As well as access to water, energy, roads, ICT and a suitable workforce, investors in developing economies need to have confidence in the justice system.
Some of the certainties they look for are protection for their property, access to justice and protection for their employees. They want assurance on contract enforcement and if any dispute arises, they want a judicial system that will bring rapid and efficient dispute solutions.
To encourage foreign investment, many governments are increasingly focusing their attention on specific investment laws to provide this legal certainty.
During the Invest Sierra Leone 2016 forum, whether Sierra Leone had or was developing the necessary regulatory infrastructure to protect investors became a major talking point.
Sierra Leone’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice - Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, is all too aware that investors have certain expectations of commercial justice. When he delivered the keynote speech at Sierra Leone’s inaugural Commercial Law conference earlier this year, he emphasised the Government’s commitment in this area: “Addressing the challenges in commercial law and justice - and thereby increasing the ease of doing business in Sierra Leone - is a Government priority.”
He explains that guaranteeing security and redress makes investors more prepared to take other risks and that one of the most important things for companies to hear is that there is a regulatory framework from which they can derive protection for their investment. “A reliable regulatory and legal system is essential for investors, as it reduces the risks they face when entering into commercial agreements. Potential investors arriving in Sierra Leone, will generally have calculated their expected return on investment, but often seek further clarity around their security of investment. They have a range of questions. Is my money secure? If I have a problem in my business, can I expect justice will be done? Will I have fair and equal access to the court system? These questions are paramount to any investor who wants to invest large amounts of money in Sierra Leone. Our job is to create a legal regulatory framework which protects both the interests of the investor and those of Sierra Leone.”
TURN TO PAGE 4 OF INSIGHT MAGAZINE TO READ THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW WITH JOSEPH FITZGERALD KAMARA, SIERRA LEONE'S ATTORNEY GENERAL: