Olufunmilola Sodipo

Thesis Title:

A Third World Approach to Reforming the International Investment Regime


Mr Brian Hutchinson


My thesis analyses the evolution of the international investment regime from the colonial era till present day and how, if at all, the developing countries have been involved in the system. To do this, the thesis employs Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) as a tool in analysing the regime and its impact on the developmental needs of third world countries. The main contention in the thesis is that the Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system were originally designed to favour foreign investors who are mostly from developed countries thereby creating a bias against developing countries in the international investment regime.

The last couple of years have witnessed a global debate on the need to address the imbalance embedded in the IIL regime. New international investment treaties and policies are currently being introduced and implemented at the national, bilateral, regional and continental levels globally. The thesis analyses these new approaches to reforming the regime with particular focus on Brazil, South Africa, India at the national level, the new bilateral investment treaty between Nigeria and Morocco and on the continental level, the Pan-African Investment Code.

The thesis concludes that piecemeal reform approaches would only make the investment regime more complex, therefore, the key to ensuring consistency and addressing the deficiencies in the international investment regime is more harmonised efforts at the regional and continental level to actualise developing countries’ desire for an investment regime that not only protects foreign investment but that which is tailored to suit their developmental needs. Africa serves as a good model for other continents through its adoption of a continent-wide investment treaty model under the auspices of the African Union. The Pan-African Investment Code represents African governments’ consensus on reforming the international investment regime.



I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Law from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria in 2007 and my master’s degree in International Commercial Law at the University College Dublin in 2013. I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2008 and I am a Senior State Counsel in the Ogun State Ministry of Justice, Nigeria.


Presentations and/or Publications:


  • Sustainable Development and International Investment Law: Friends or Foes? Trinity College Dublin Law Students Colloquium 2017.
  • The Investor-State Dispute Settlement System: 21st Century Imperialism. Joint Graduate Research Students Symposium, University College Dublin Sutherland School of Law 2017.