The Importance of Intellectual Property and International Investment Agreements for Overcoming the “Peripheral Economy Trap”: A Response to Ian Taylor’s “Sixty Years Later: Africa’s Stalled Decolonization"

Research output: Non-textual / digital / web - outputsWeb publication/siteAcademic


This paper engages in a critical legal analysis of Professor Ian Taylor’s article, Sixty Years Later: Africa’s Stalled Decolonization. It is not meant to be an exhaustive analysis but will provide a limited legal perspective of the article’s foundational arguments on the underlying causes of Africa’s economic underdevelopment, through a legal lens rooted in intellectual property (IP) law and international investment law (IIL). This paper suggests that Taylor has 1.) mis-identified the underlying problem of post-colonial economic development as “stalled decolonisation” and has 2.) disregarded the highly constitutive role of the law of international trade, investment, IP treaties and global financial regulation (i.e. the rule of international economic law) in sustainable development outcomes.1 The role of international economic treaty obligations in national and international economic relations, and the development policies flowing from them, are key to understanding what I will label as the “peripheral economy trap”, a legal variation of the World Bank’s “middle income trap”.2
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2020

Cite this