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Angola

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There is a general awareness of expectations of or standards for responsible business conduct (RBC) or obligation to conduct due diligence to ensure no harm with regards to environment, social and governance issues. Projects that could have an impact on the environment are subject to an environmental impact assessment (EIA) depending on their nature, size or location, on a case-by-case basis. Presidential Decree No 117/20 of April 22, 2021 establishes the:

  • Rules and procedures for EIAs for public and private projects.
  • Environmental licensing procedure for activities that are likely to cause significant environmental and social impacts.
  • Applicable fees.
  • Fines for non-compliance.

The government has few initiatives to promote responsible business conduct. In March 2019, the UNDP launched the National Network of Corporate Social Responsibility, “RARSE,” to create a platform to reconcile responsible business conduct with the needs of the population. The government, through the Ministry of Education, also held a campaign under the theme, “Countries that have a good education, that enforce laws, condemn corruption, privilege and practice citizenship, have as a consequence successful social and economic development” in 2020.

The government has enacted laws to prevent labor by children under 14 and forced labor, although resource limitations hinder adequate enforcement. In June 2018, the government passed a National Action Plan for the Eradication of Child Labor (PANETI) (2018-2022) to eradicate the worst forms of child labor. This plan was updated on March 17, 2022 and is implemented by the Multisectoral Commission for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor. The National Plan aims to eliminate child labor in Angola, by creating strategies, prevention policies, a favorable environment for the harmonious development of children, and creating institutional capacity to solve the problem of worst forms of child labor in the country.

With limitations, the laws protect the rights to form unions, collectively bargain, and strike. Government interference in some strikes has been reported. The Ministry of Public Administration, Employment, and Social Security has a hotline for workers who believe their rights have been infringed. Angola’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry established the Principles of Ethical Business in Angola.

The GRA does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons but is made significant efforts to do so, especially considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity. Those efforts led to Angola remain on Tier 2 in 2021. Some of the efforts taken by Angolan authorities include convicting multiple traffickers, including five complicit officials, and sentencing all to imprisonment; offering long-term protective services that incentivized victims to participate in trials against their traffickers; dedicating funds specifically for anti-trafficking efforts, including for implementation of the national action plan; and conducting public awareness campaigns against trafficking.

In 2015, Angola organized an interagency technical working group to explore Angola’s possible membership in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Angola formally announced its intention to join the EITI in September 2020 and in November 2021 announced its intention to formally present its candidacy in March 2022. Angola has been a member of the Kimberley Process (KP) since 2003 and chaired the KP in 2015. Angola is not a party to the WTO’s GPA and does not adhere to the OECD guidelines on corporate for SOEs.

9. Corruption

Corruption remains a strong impediment to doing business in Angola and has had a corrosive impact on international market investment opportunities and on the broader business climate. The Lourenço administration has developed a comprehensive anti-corruption and anti-money laundering legal framework, but implementation remains a challenge. Angola has made several arrests of former officials and family members of the former president who were accused of embezzling state funds and has made a concerted effort to recover assets it accuses those individuals of stealing.

Some of the recent anti-corruption legislation includes:

  • The revised Criminal Law Code and Criminal Procedure Code, which both entered into force in February 2021: The updated laws include corporate criminal liability; harsh penalties for active and passive corruption by public officials, their family members, and political parties; criminalization of private sector corruption; and seizure of proceeds.
  • The updated Public Procurement Law, which entered into force on December 23, 2020, emphasizes the management of potential conflicts of interest in awarding public contracts, including the requirement for foreign investors to have a local partner, which historically made procurement ripe for bribery and kickbacks.
  • The Whistleblower Protection Law, which came into force on January 1, 2020, provides a protection system – including anonymity – for victims, witnesses, and the accused during judicial proceedings that involve corruption and/or money laundering allegations.

The government does not require the private sector to establish internal codes of conduct and does not provide a mechanism for reporting irregularities related to public officials.

U.S. firms in Angola are aware of cases of corruption in Angola despite efforts to combat the phenomenon and view it as a significant impediment to FDI. Corruption in Angola is pervasive in public institutions, government procurement customs and taxation. Foreign investors seeking to do business in Angola must remain mindful of the corruption risks and the extraterritorial reach of the U.S. FCPA.

10. Political and Security Environment

Angola maintains a stable political environment, though demonstrations and workers strikes occur with regularity, particularly in the last two years due to increased socio-economic difficulty. Politically motivated violence is not a high risk, and incidents are rare. The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda—Military Position (FLEC MP) based in the northern province of Cabinda threatened Chinese workers in Cabinda in 2015 and claimed in 2016 that they would return to active armed struggle against the Angolan government forces. No attacks have since ensued and the FLEC has remained relatively inactive to date.

Local elections were anticipated to take place in 2020 but have not yet occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of key legislation governing the elections. General elections are scheduled to occur in August 2022. Young people take to the streets occasionally to protest economic hardship and what they view as unrealized political pledges. Large pockets of the population live in poverty without adequate access to basic services. Crimes of opportunity such as muggings, robberies and car-jackings occur across the country.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

In the fourth quarter of 2021, the unemployment rate for economically active Angolans 15 years and older – who represent half of Angola’s 33 million people – was 32.9 percent. The labor market in Angola is largely characterized by high unemployment and a high level of informality. There is also a deficit of skilled and well-trained labor, especially in the industrial sector due to the low level of vocational training. The foreign/migrant labor force bridges the gap in specialized labor. The Angolan labor force also has limited technical skills, English language capabilities, and management training.

Companies in the construction and manufacturing sectors are significant sources of formal and informal mechanisms for workers to acquire skills and abilities particularly relevant to public and private construction works and manufacturing industry.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, the economically active population in Angola age 15 years and older was estimated to be approximately 16.2 million people (48.3 percent male and 51.7 female). Over 80 percent of the employed population in Angola was estimated to work in the informal sector as of the fourth quarter of 2021, equal to around 8.8 million people out of the 10.9 million people 15 years of age and older and employed in the same period. Informal employment was highest among Angolans aged 15-24 years and 65 years or older – reaching over 90 percent. The unemployment rate for women was also 90 percent for women and 71.5 percent for men.

There are gaps in compliance with international labor standards which may pose a reputational risk to investors. Children are sometimes employed in agriculture, construction, fishing, and coal industries. There have been reports of forced labor in agriculture, construction, artisanal diamond mining, and domestic work, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Additional information is available in the 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report, (https://www.state.gov/reports/2021-trafficking-in-persons-report/angola/), 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices (https://www.state.gov/reports/2021-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/angola/), and 2020 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.

The General Labor Law 7 of September 15, 2015, governs all aspects of the employment relationship and provides guidelines on employment adjustments to respond to fluctuations in market or economic conditions. The law differentiates between layoffs and firing. However, there are unemployment insurance mechanisms in place or social safety net programs for workers laid off for economic reasons. All forms of termination must rely on Social Security contributions along the years of employment in due course as the benefits are not readily available at termination but only when the beneficiaries reach retirement age or become physically impaired to maintain employment status.

All employers and unions may enter into collective bargaining agreements under the Law on the Right to Collective Bargaining (20-A/92). Where there is no union representation, the employees may set up an ad hoc commission aimed at negotiating and concluding a collective bargaining agreement with the employer, subject to complex requirements. If more than one union represents an employer’s employees, the unions must set up a joint negotiation committee composed of representatives from each union in the same proportion as the employees are represented.

The negotiation process for a collective bargaining agreement must be finalized within 90 days of the employer receiving the union/employees’ initial proposal. If this process is unsuccessful, the Law on the Right to Collective Bargaining provides for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve collective labor conflicts – notably conciliation, mediation and arbitration. Unions/employees may call a strike if the negotiations are deadlocked when the deadline for reaching an agreement passes.

A collective bargaining agreement requires all the parties to maintain social peace while it is in force, rendering illegal any strike action or collective labor conflict during that period. Once the effective period has elapsed, the agreement shall continue to bind the parties until it is replaced by a new or amended collective bargaining agreement. Collective labor disputes are to be settled through compulsory arbitration by the Ministry of Labor, Public Administration and Social Security. The law does not prohibit employer retribution against strikers, but it does authorize the government to force workers back to work for “breaches of worker discipline” or participation in unauthorized strikes. The law prohibits anti-union discrimination and stipulates that worker complaints be adjudicated in the labor court. Under the law, employers are required to reinstate workers who have been dismissed for union activities.

Benin

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

In general, government policies and public tenders are made public online and in the newspapers. Anti-corruption and human rights NGOs and activists are active in Benin, though their ability to report misconduct and violations of good governance has weakened under the Talon administration. The government-funded agencies in charge of monitoring business conduct include the High Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (HCPC), the Court of Accounts, the National Financial Information Processing Unit, and the National Commission on Systems and Freedom.

9. Corruption

Benin has laws aimed at combatting corruption and has made progress combatting the most common forms of corruption, but work remains in rooting it out. The new HCPC is the lead government entity on corruption issues and has the authority to refer corruption cases to court. The HCPC has the authority to combat money laundering, electoral fraud, and economic fraud in the public and private sectors. Benin’s State Audit Office is also responsible for identifying and acting against corruption in the public sector. The CRIET processes cases related to economic crimes, which include corruption. In 2018, the National Assembly approved the lifting of parliamentary immunity of a small number of opposition parliamentarians accused of corruption or embezzlement during their past positions in former governments.

Bribery is illegal and subject to up to 10 years’ imprisonment, but enforcement remains inconsistent.

Beninese procurement law allows for open and closed bid processes. Contracts are often awarded based on government solicitations to short-listed companies with industry-specific expertise, often identified based on companies’ commercial activities conducted in other overseas markets. The government often uses sole sourcing for projects, including for PAG implementation, and in these cases does not publish procurement requests before selecting a vendor. Foreign companies have expressed concerns about unfair treatment, biased consideration, and improper practices specific to the process of selecting short-listed companies.

Benin is a signatory of the UN Anticorruption Convention and the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

10. Political and Security Environment

Benin transitioned to a democracy in 1990, enjoying a reputation for regular, peaceful, and, until recently, inclusive elections. In 2018, the National Assembly adopted, and the government implemented stringent rules for political parties to qualify to participate in legislative elections. In 2019 and 2021 the government held legislative and presidential elections, respectively, neither of which was fully competitive. The National Assembly is currently made up exclusively by two pro-government parties. Elections-related unrest in 2019 and 2021 resulted in several deaths. In April 2021, President Patrice Talon was re-elected for a second and final five-year term, pursuant to Benin’s constitution. The largest security issues facing Benin are the threat of terrorism spilling across its porous northern borders and piracy offshore in the Gulf of Guinea.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

The government adheres to internationally recognized rights and labor standards. Benin’s constitution guarantees workers’ freedom to organize, assemble, and strike. Government authorities may declare strikes illegal if they are deemed a threat to public order or the economy and may require those on strike to maintain minimum services. In 2018, the Constitutional Court reinstated a law prohibiting public employees in the defense, health, justice, and security sectors from striking. A 2018 law limited strikes to a maximum of 10 days per year for private-sector workers and public employees not covered by the existing ban. Approximately 75 percent of salaried employees belong to unions. Unions are obliged to operate independently of government and political parties. Benin’s labor code, as revised in 2017, is favorable to employers.

The World Bank official unemployment rate for Benin in 2020 was 2.54 percent, though estimates of actual unemployment figures are significantly higher. Unskilled and skilled labor and qualified professionals are generally available. Nearly 90 percent of youth between the ages of 15 and 29 work in the informal sector. The standard legal workweek is 40 hours and payment of overtime is allowed.

In 2017, the government adopted a law enshrining the framework for private sector and government employment, termination of employment, and placement of labor in Benin.  The law sets a maximum limit of three to nine months’ salary (calculated using the last 12 months of salary) to be paid to an employee in case of abusive termination of employment or layoffs.  If fired for cause (not including a crime or crimes), an employee with a minimum of one year on the job is entitled to receive two months’ salary as severance pay.  The law also allows for multiple renewals of limited term contracts. Under the former law, private companies who dismissed employees for unsatisfactory performance were routinely sued.

Benin’s Ministry of Economy and Finance reported in 2012 (the most recent year available) that the informal sector contribution to the country’s annual GDP rangeds between 60 and 70 percent. Additionally, according to a 2020 International Labour Organization report, 95 percent of businesses operating in Benin are estimated to be in the informal economy.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2018 $14,262 2020 $15,650 www.worldbank.org/en/country/benin
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2020 $2 BEA:   https://www.bea.gov/international/di1usdbal
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEAhttps://www.bea.gov/international/di1fdibal
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2020 18.6% UNCTAD: 

https://unctad.org/topic/investment/world-investment-report

* Source for Host Country Data: Recent GOB data not available

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward $3,429 100% Total Outward $541 100%
France $1,219 35.54% France $146 26.98%
India $420 12.24% Togo $81 14.97%
Nigeria $381 11.11% Niger $72 13.30%
 China PR: Mainland $342 9.97% Côte-d’Ivoire $65 12.01%
 Côte d’Ivoire $215 6.27% Gabon $45 8.31%
 “0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Botswana

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment 

8. Responsible Business Conduct 

The GoB, some foreign and local firms, and customers, recognized and embraced Responsible Business Conduct (RBC), although Botswana is not an adherent of the OECD’s RBC Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and has not specified its definition of RBC.  Large companies in the mining, communications technology, food supply, and financial services sectors have established RBC programs, sponsor projects, and support local nonprofit concerns.  However, the ethos has not taken hold in many smaller firms.  The U.S. Embassy worked with the local chamber of commerce, Business Botswana, on the issue of corporate social responsibility and ethical compliance, to help enlist companies to sign onto a Corporate Code of Conduct that covers, among other things, conflicts of interest, bribery, political interference, political party funding, procurement and bidding, and issues surrounding residence and work permits.  To date more than 300 firms have signed the Code of Conduct.

The Companies Act also sets out the expectations of business conduct and governance for directors and shareholders for both private and public companies.  Botswana is not a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.  Botswana’s Mines and Minerals Act and associated regulations govern mineral contracts and licenses.  Botswana’s laws and procedures for awarding mining contracts are fairly well developed.  Mining licenses are required to undergo a public comment period before they are awarded, and that rule is followed.

9. Corruption 

Botswana’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has deteriorated significantly, eroding its previously held reputation as the ‘least corrupt country in Africa’.  Transparency International ranks Botswana at 45 out of 180 countries in 2021 falling from 35th place in 2020 with a score of 55 out of 100, a change of negative 5 from the previous year.  The Human Rights Report (HRR) 2020 for Botswana also notes increased media reports of government corruption, mostly related to COVID-19 projects.  The HRR also states that a poll conducted by Transparency International in 2019, indicated that 7 percent of those polled had paid bribes to government officials, jumping from only 1 percent in 2015.  Private sector representatives also note rising corruption levels in government tender procurements.

The major corruption investigation body is the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).  Anecdotal reports on the DCEC’s effectiveness vary.  The DCEC has embarked on an education campaign to raise public awareness about the cost of corruption and is also working with GoB departments to reform their accountability procedures.  Corruption is punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years, a fine of $50,000, or both.  The GoB has prosecuted high-level officials.  Corruption trials and investigations of some government officials on cases of money laundering, abuse of office, receiving bribes and embezzlement of funds continued during 2020 and are still on-going. Human rights issues reported in the HRR included restrictions on press and internet freedom of expression, interference with freedom of association, child labor including commercial sexual exploitation of children.  On a positive note, while such crimes exist, the GoB officials were reported to be cooperative and responsive to domestic NGO’s views on most subjects and placed no restrictions on domestic and international human rights groups nor did they interfere with their investigations and publishing findings on human rights cases.

The 2000 Proceeds of Serious Crime Act expanded the DCEC’s mandate to include combatting money laundering.  The 2009 Financial Intelligence Act provides a comprehensive legal framework to address money laundering and establishes a financial intelligence agency (FIA).  The FIA, which operates under the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, cooperates with various institutions, such as Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Botswana Police Service, Bank of Botswana, the Non-Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority, the DCEC, and foreign FIAs to uncover and investigate suspicious financial transactions.  Botswana is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a regional standards-setting body for ensuring appropriate laws, policies, and practices to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism.  In 2021, Botswana was removed from the FATF grey list on which it had been placed on in October 2018 and was subsequently removed from the EU blacklist.

Botswana is not a party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, but it is a party to the 2005 United Nations Convention against Corruption.

10. Political and Security Environment 

The threat of political violence is low in Botswana.  Public demonstrations are rare and seldom turn violent.  The last large-scale strikes, which involved public sector employees, occurred April-June 2011 and were not violent.  In September 2015, roughly 200 people participated in a peaceful march organized by an opposition political party to protest water shortages in the capital.  In August 2016, police forcefully dispersed a small demonstration protesting unemployment outside the National Assembly.  In February and March 2017, some student-led protests occurred at tertiary institutions necessitating police deployment but were not overtly political.  There were multiple reports of police brutality, including the use of rubber whips and rubber bullets.  Another peaceful march against corruption was held in March 2018.  This followed allegations of embezzlement of the National Petroleum Fund by a company charged with the management of the funds together with some GoB officials.  In late 2019, following general election, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) held a peaceful march of no more than 200 people protesting the election results.

11. Labor Policies and Practices 

Botswana has a high unemployment rate and a constricted worker skills base.  In her 2022 budget speech, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development reported an unemployment rate of 26 percent, up from 20 percent reported by Statistics Botswana in 2019, showing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.  Employers can expect to engage in significant training efforts, depending on the industry, due to shortage of skills.  Retention of workers and absenteeism can pose problems.  In addition, managers often cite workforce productivity as a point of frustration.  The lack of trained local citizen professionals is generally addressed by contracting expatriates if they can secure work permits.  There is minimal labor strife in Botswana.  In 2015, there were a handful of small and peaceful strikes, the most notable of these was by a portion of BURS officials, but as with most unions across sectors, only a portion of BURS officials were unionized, allowing the GoB to maintain customs operations.

The Employment Act provides basic guidelines for employment in Botswana.  The legislation sets requirements for a minimum wage, length of the workweek, annual and maternity leave, hiring and termination.  Standards set by the Act are consistent with international best practice as described by International Labor Organization (ILO) model legislation and guidelines.

Employment-related litigation occurs and is both an example of trust in the court system and a cost to doing business in Botswana.  Employers avoid considerable expense and frustration if they observe the provisions of the Employment Act, relevant labor regulations, and prudence in advance of potential litigation.  Before a potential litigant goes to one of 11 labor courts, the parties must attempt mediation through the Department of Labor.  Court cases offering severance terms for employees laid off due to fluctuating market conditions are also common.  Section 25 of the Employment Act allows employers to terminate contracts for reducing the size of their work force, known as redundancy, using the first-in-last-out principle.  This method of terminating contracts is separate from firing for serious misconduct as specified by Section 26 of the Act. The GoB has social safety net programs in place to assist the unemployed and destitute.

Collective bargaining is common in government and the private sector, and the Labor Commissioner can grant collective bargaining authority upon request.  The largest unions are comprised of public sector workers.

In August 2016 Parliament passed a Trade Disputes Act with a list of services deemed “essential” and barred from striking that exceeds international labor standards.  The Ministry of Employment, Labor Productivity, and Skills Development is coordinating with the ILO and other partners to review labor laws to ensure they align with ILO standards.  The tri-partite labor law committee recommended that all services listed as essential be cancelled except aviation, health, electrical, water and sanitation, fire, and air traffic control services.

Burkina Faso

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There is a general awareness of corporate social responsibility among both producers and consumers. The GoBF requires mining companies to invest in social infrastructure, such as health centers and schools, and other projects to benefit the local populations in the areas of their mining operations. To this end, the 2015 mining code stipulated the establishment of the Mining Fund for Local Development (FMDL). FMDL is a mechanism to decentralize national resources wealth. To fund the FMDL, the GOBF contributes 20% of the royalties it collects and the mining firms contribute about 1% of their gross revenues. FMDL entered into force in 2019 and has since distributed about US$ 129 million to 351 communes nationwide. A common practice for many companies is to provide food supplies, typically rice or millet, to their workers often at the end of the year. Larger private businesses, such as civil engineering firms, sponsor sport events like the Tour du Faso and donate sporting equipment to disadvantaged communities. SOEs such as SONABHY and LONAB frequently undertake social projects.

Burkina Faso is a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) since 2008. EITI declares Burkina Faso as a compliant country, recognizing the country’s “significant progress in the implementation of the 2016 EITI Standard, with considerable improvements,” including satisfactory scores on five of the six corrective measures assessed.

9. Corruption

Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index indicates that Burkina Faso ranks 78 out of 180 countries. Nearly 82 percent of Burkinabe believe corruption is frequent or very frequent in their country, according to a report released November 2021by the National Network for Anti-corruption Fight (REN-LAC). The percentage of people who thought corruption was frequent or very frequent (82%) has risen steadily since 2019 (76%) and 2018 (67%). The Burkinabe public also believe that the fight against corruption is going in the wrong direction. The report also ranks the most corrupt public services as perceived by the public as (1) municipal police, (2) national police, (3) customs, (4) General-Directorate for Road and Maritime Transports (DGTTM), and (5) gendarmerie. The State Supreme Audit Authority (ASCE-LC) is the leading government anti-corruption body that publishes an annual report documenting financial irregularities, embezzlement, and improper use of public funds in various ministries, government agencies, and state-run companies. In 2018, the ASCE-LC opened at least two high profile corruption investigations against the Ministers of Defense and Infrastructure. The minister of defense was jailed under corruption charges and provisionally released due to health conditions. The Burkinabe government continues to grant access within its own ministries to the non-governmental watchdog REN-LAC, which examines the management of private and public-sector entities and publishes annual reports on corruption levels within the country.

Legislation requires government officials, including the president, lawmakers, ministers, ambassadors, members of the military leadership, judges, and anyone charged with managing state funds, to declare their assets as well as any gifts or donations received while in office. Infractions are punishable by a maximum jail term of 20 years and fines of up to USD 41,670. In May 2020, former Minister of Defense, Jean-Claude Bouda, was arrested on “money laundering” and “illicit enrichment” charges following a complaint by the National Anti-Corruption Network. In June 2021, State Prosecutor Harouna Yoda announced that the Deputy Director General of Customs, William Alassane Kaboré, was placed under “judicial control,” for acts of illicit enrichment and money laundering amounting to 1.3 billion CFA (USD 2.2 million). Additionally, investigations are underway on the mayor of Ouagadougou and some magistrates who allegedly tried to bury this case.

One of the main governmental bodies for fighting official corruption is the Superior Authority of State Control (ASCE), an entity under the authority of the Prime Minister. ASCE has the authority to investigate ethics violations and mismanagement of public funds in the public sector, including civil service employees, local and public authorities, state-owned companies, and all national organizations involved with public service missions. ASCE publishes an annual report of activities, which provides details on its investigations and issues recommendations on how to resolve them. Many of its findings are followed by judicial action.

The Cour des Comptes (Court of Audit) is another institution that participates in the control of the execution of the annual budget. It draws up an annual report on the execution of the annual budget. Every year, it produces a public report, including the observations of all its audits, which is submitted to the President of Burkina Faso. It also draws up a general report for the President of Faso on the activity, management, and results of the companies it audits on a bi-annual basis.

The Autorité de Régulation de la Commande Publique (ARCOP), established in July 2008, is the regulatory oversight body that ensures fairness in the procurement process by monitoring the execution of all government contracts. ARCOP may impose sanctions, initiate lawsuits, and publish the names of fraudulent or delinquent businesses. It also educates communities benefiting from public investment monies to take a more active part in monitoring contractors. ARCOP works with the media to strengthen journalists’ capacity to investigate suspected fraud cases. Since 2012, the media has noticeably increased its coverage of high-profile corruption cases.

The Reseau National de Lutte Contre la Corruption (REN-LAC)’s annual state of corruption report has led to a wide range of anti-corruption initiatives and tools. REN-LAC has a 24-hour hotline that allows it to gather information on alleged corrupt practices anonymously reported by citizens. African Parliamentarians’ Network against Corruption also has a local chapter in Burkina Faso and cooperates with REN-LAC. To put an end to tax fraud, the government passed into law Article 17 of the November 21, 2013, Law No. 037-2013/AN of the 2014 Budget Law, which called for standardized invoices (Facture Normalisée) in commercial transactions. The Burkina Faso Chamber of Commerce will help facilitate its implementations. This provision however only became operational in early 2022.

As a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Burkina Faso has agreed to enforce a regional law against money laundering and has issued a national law against money laundering and financial crimes.

Burkina Faso has taken steps to fully adopt regional and international anti-corruption frameworks, and the country ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in October 2006.

According to World Bank rating for control of corruption, Burkina Faso has improved steadily since 2013 and currently ranks above the regional average.

10. Political and Security Environment

Rampant insecurity and the government’s inability to stem violent extremism contributed to the military overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré on January 24, 2022. In 2021, Burkina Faso recorded the highest number of attacks during its five-plus year battle with violent extremism. The result has led to a crisis resulting in the closure of schools and the massive displacement of people from their homes and communities. President Roch Marc Christian Kabore had been reelected to a second and final term in November 2020. This was the first time a democratic handover of power occurred in Burkina Faso’s history since it gained independence in 1960. During the same period legislative elections were organized and results were accepted by all political parties.

However, Violent extremists remain very active in Burkina Faso. Both the Islamic State for the Greater Sahara and the Jama’ at Nasr Al Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) coalition have expanded their operation footprints in recent years. Security incidents include violence using tactics such as, improvised explosive devices, kidnapping, attacks, and targeted killings in an expanding part of the country in the north, east, and south. Targets appeared to shift from military and gendarmerie units to civilians and volunteer defense groups. In May 2022, VEOs carried out 61 attacks against civilians and security forces, killing a total of 173 people and injuring 40 others, The number of terrorist incidents in Burkina Faso’s southwestern Boucle du Mouhoun region rose significantly in May compared to the numbers reported for the three previous months. Since October 2021, over 799 people died in terrorist incidents, and an additional 600 individuals sustained injuries during the same period. On June 4, 2021, VEOs killed 160 civilians in Solhan in the Sahel region near the border with Niger. This was the second deadliest terrorist attack globally in 2021, according to the 2022 Global Terrorism Index. The report also indicates that 732 people died from terrorist incidents in Burkina Faso in 2021. The African Center for Strategic Studies noted in its July 2021 report that most violent attacks in the Sahel in 2020 were carried out in Burkina Faso (516 versus 361 in Mali and 118 in Niger).

In April 2022, a U.S. citizen was reportedly abducted in Burkina’s Centre-Nord,. In 2018, an American citizen was abducted but was later discovered by French operatives during an unrelated mission to recover French nationals abducted by extremists. Three Europeans – two Spanish and one Irish – were killed in an attack on an anti-poaching patrol in eastern Burkina Faso on April 27, 2021. In 2021, attacks spiked in the southern part of Burkina Faso, contiguous to the north of Cote d’Ivoire. The Cascades region border area, which has suffered several attacks in the past, is seen by experts as a hide-out for armed terrorist groups and a threat for coastal countries. As of April 2022, terrorist attacks have generated around 1.9 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) mostly in Burkina Faso’s Sahel, Centre-Nord, Nord, and Est regions. Since 2018, the Government of Burkina Faso has maintained a state of emergency due to insecurity in many parts of the country

As of May 2022, the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory to Burkina Faso is at Level 4: Do Not Travel due to terrorism, crime, and kidnapping.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Burkinabe workers have a reputation as hardworking and dedicated employees. While unskilled labor is abundantly available in Burkina Faso, skilled labor resources are limited. There is a scarcity of skilled workers, mainly in management, engineering, and the electrical trades. Construction, civil engineering, mining, and manufacturing industries employ the majority of the formal labor force. Burkinabe law allows workers, except for essential workers such as magistrates, police, military, and other security personnel, to form and join independent unions of their choice without previous authorization, and to bargain collectively. The law provides for the right to strike, but also limits this right with pre-strike requirements or restrictions (including notice submission and government’s requisition power to secure minimum service in essential services).

Public servants are also entitled to engage in bargaining. In recent years, a series of public sector unions have gone on strike to demand better living and working conditions. However, increasing labor demands across multiple ministries have begun to put stress on an already strained public finance system, and have affected the tax collection processes. Although President Kabore has announced the intention to present a comprehensive labor deal (as opposed to the piecemeal settlement of strikes in different sectors that has been the case until now), it is not clear that any progress is being made on this front. The Minister of Public Service has decided to establish for civil servants.

It is the GoBF’s policy to increase employment opportunities for Burkinabe workers. Therefore, in professions where there are too many registered and unemployed Burkinabe, a job-seeker card will not be issued to non-nationals. When non-nationals are hired, the Director of Labor authorizes their employment contract. According to the 1967 decree, statements must be made to the Regional Inspector of Work and Social Rules before the start-up of any new enterprise.

Burkina Faso has undertaken reforms of labor policy to make the labor market more flexible while ensuring workers’ rights, including workers’ safety and health. To promote local employment, the government has established several financing instruments targeted at firms interested in obtaining start-up monies. These instruments include Fonds National d’Appui à la Promotion de l’Emploi – FONAPE (Employment Promotion Support Fund), Fonds d’Appui au Secteur Informel – FASI (Informal Sector Support Fund), Fonds d’Appui aux Activités Génératrices de Revenus des Femmes – FAARF (Women’s Income Generating Activities Support Fund), Fonds d’Appui aux Initiatives des Jeunes – FAIJ (Youth Initiative Support Fund), and Fonds Burkinabe de Développement Economique et Social – FBDES (Burkinabe Fund for Social and Economic Development).

In the event of a reduction in personnel, the labor code requires the employer to first dismiss employees with the least training and seniority. The employer must advise employees of termination at least 30 days in advance. Workers terminated in a general workforce reduction have re-employment priority over other applicants for a two-year period. Employees terminated for reasons other than theft or flagrant neglect of duty have the right to termination benefits. In Burkina Faso, however, the informal sector is an important sector of the economy. A sizable part of the Burkinabe population earns a living in the informal economy, especially in agriculture and artisanal mining sectors. For instance, artisanal mining alone is estimated to employ one million to 1.3 million people directly. The value of gold extracted annually through artisanal mining is estimated at about US$1 billion, or about 20 tons of gold. However, they noted that much of Burkina Faso’s artisanal mining output is smuggled out through neighboring countries without royalties or tax revenue going to the state budget. In some regions of the country, over 90 percent of youth earn a living through artisanal mining, with some abandoning agriculture for the lure of gold mining. Nevertheless, there are no indications that the informal economy negatively impacts or crowds out investment across industries.

To date, Burkina Faso has approved and ratified 43 conventions of the International Labor Organization, including conventions on Freedom of Association and the Right to Organize, Abolition of Forced Labor, and the Worst Forms of Child Labor. The Ministry of Civil Service, Labor, and Social Security and a labor court enforce the labor code. Unions are well organized, independent from the government, and defend employee interests in industrial disputes. Workers know their rights and do not hesitate to seek redress of grievances.

Despite the government’s substantial efforts to reduce child labor in the past few years, 42 percent of children in Burkina Faso continue to engage in child labor, particularly in agriculture. The worst forms of child labor take place in mining. Cotton and gold are included on the U.S. government’s Executive Order 13126 List of Goods Produced by Forced and Indentured Child Labor.

The 1982 Commercial Sector Collective Agreement divides employees (laborers, artisans, and senior staff) into eight categories with minimum basic pay rates from 25,000 FCFA (about USD 45) per month. Conditions for the employment of workers by enterprises are provided in Decree no. 98 of 1967. An employer should ask job candidates for their job-seeker registration card issued by the Office of Employment Promotion, which is part of the Ministry of Civil Service, Labor, and Social Security.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) N/A N/A 2021 $19.2 Billion https://www.imf.org/en/Countries/BFA#countrydata
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/direct-investment-and-multinational-enterprises-comprehensive-data
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/direct-investment-and-multinational-enterprises-comprehensive-data
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2021 0.03% UNCTAD data available at

https://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/World%20Investment%20Report/Country-Fact-Sheets.aspx  

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Data not available.

Burundi

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

According to the investment code, any new enterprise is required to consider environmental issues and employee rights in its investment and business plan.  The government has taken no comprehensive measures to implement policies or international standards regarding responsible business practices.  The government routinely engages investors about including public and community benefits in investment projects, but has no clearly defined standards.

There have not been any high-profile or controversial instances of private sector impact on human rights violations in the recent past.  No reliable information is available on the maintenance and enforcement of domestic laws with respect to labor and employment rights, consumer protections, and environmental protections.  In January 2019, the BRB issued a regulation relating to the protection of consumers of financial products and services in view of the complexity and growing diversity of the range of the services and products offered in Burundi.

There are no corporate governance, accounting, or executive compensation standards in place to protect the interests of shareholders.  There are no organizations focused specifically on RBC in the country.

As a member of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the government has acceded to the OECD due diligence mechanism and the regional system for certification and traceability of certain minerals extracted from national mines (tin, tantalum, and tungsten), as well as against conflict minerals that can be smuggled from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  However, some civil society organizations report a noticeable lack of transparency in the Burundian mining sector (including alleged involvement of GoB officials in the trafficking of gold from the DRC).

The government does not participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.  There are no domestic transparency measures/policies that require the disclosure of payments made to the government.

9. Corruption

The government has an anti-corruption law as well as constitutional provisions on corruption, although these have not been implemented.  Cabinet members, parliamentarians, and officials appointed by presidential decree have immunity from prosecution on corruption charges, insulating them from accountability.  Laws designed to combat corruption do not extend to family members of officials or to political parties.

Article 60 of the April 2016 law “Bearing Measures for the Prevention and Punishment of Corruption and Related Offenses” regulates conflicts of interest, including in awarding government procurement.  Burundian legislation criminalizes bribery of public officials, but there is no specific requirement for private companies to establish internal codes of conduct.

Burundi is a signatory to the UN Anti-Corruption Convention and the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.  Burundi has also been a member of the East African Anti-Corruption Authority since joining the EAC in 2007.  The country does not provide protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption.

A number of U.S. firms have noted corruption is an obstacle to direct investment in Burundi.  Corruption is most pervasive in the award of licenses and concessions, which takes place in a non-transparent environment with frequent allegations of bribery and cronyism.  Many customs officials are also reportedly corrupt, regularly extorting bribes from exporters and importers.

In April 2021, the National Assembly approved a law disbanding the anti-corruption court and the anti-corruption police unit.  The anti-corruption court’s authorities were transferred to the office of the attorney general and courts of appeals and the anticorruption police unit’s authorities were delegated to the judicial police.

President Ndayishimiye continued with anti-corruption initiatives including dismissing high-level officials as well as hundreds of other low-level officials accused of malfeasance.  In May 2021, President Ndayishimiye fired the Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism over acts that risked compromising the country’s economy and tarnishing its image, reportedly in connection with the improper disposition of state property.  He also fired the succeeding Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism for tarnishing the image of the country after it came to light that she included family members and friends in official delegations abroad.

10. Political and Security Environment

Burundi has experienced cycles of ethnic and political violence since its independence in 1962.  Periods before and after national elections have often been marked by political violence and civil disturbance.  The May 2020 elections were largely peaceful, and the GoB has since consolidated power and security gains.  Political tensions between the ruling party and opposition remain.  The new administration has made efforts to reduce tensions with neighboring countries, including Rwanda, and to increase participation in regional security cooperation.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Unskilled local labor is widely available, while there are shortages for skilled workers in some sectors; no statistics are available on the shortage of specialized labor skills.  According to government policy, the hiring of nationals should be prioritized except in cases in which no local expertise is available.  Formal sector employment is limited, and official figures for unemployment are unreliable.  Youth unemployment is estimated at approximately 65 percent.

According to the investment code, any new enterprise is required to take into account environmental issues and employee rights in its investment and business plan.  The government has taken no comprehensive measures to implement policies or international standards regarding responsible business practices.  The government routinely engages investors about including public and community benefits in investment projects but has no clearly defined standards.

No reliable information is available on the maintenance and enforcement of domestic laws with respect to labor and employment rights, consumer protections, and environmental protections.  There are no known examples of labor laws being waived in order to attract or retain investment.

The labor code allows for employers to respond to fluctuating market conditions with layoffs of workers.  Labor laws do not differentiate between layoffs and firing for severance.  The government has a social insurance program that provides limited coverage to workers laid off for economic reasons.

Burundi is a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and its domestic labor law is in compliance with international labor standards.  Workers’ unions are legally authorized, and there are laws and regulations that prohibit child and forced labor and any kind of discrimination.  In practice, child labor occurs, and some union activity is restricted.  Burundi has ratified all of the ILO fundamental conventions protecting workers’ rights; however, protection of core labor rights continues to be inadequate. The Ministry of Labor conducts inspections both in response to complaints or allegations of labor law violations and conducts routine, planned inspections, primarily of large employers.  The Ministry of Justice has the ability to prosecute people who use children for work which, by their nature or the conditions in which they work, are likely to harm their health, safety and morals as provided by the law.  However, child labor is common in the informal sector and largely goes unnoticed there.  In the private sector, labor-management relations are usually conducted according to international standards that allow for collective bargaining.  Burundi’s Labor Inspectorate has the authority to settle disputes between workers and employers, which can also be managed through civil judicial procedures.  No strikes that posed an investment risk occurred during the past year.  In November 2020, the government adopted a new labor code, replacing the 1993 code, with the main objective of complying with the various conventions that the country has since ratified, and above all responding to criteria for regional and international integration.  This new code includes protections for employees and more flexibility and surety of contracts.

In order to advance anti-trafficking in persons (TIP) efforts, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs staffed its new Department for the Promotion of Safe Labor Migration, which is tasked with producing new and stronger labor recruitment regulations that are currently under review.  The government worked on bilateral agreements on migrant worker rights with four major destination countries, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and to date has signed cooperation agreements with Saudi Arabia.  Agreements with the remaining three Gulf destination countries are ongoing.  The Ministry of Justice also increased the number of employees whose job is to monitor and report on TIP cases.

Cabo Verde

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The private sector, government, and regulators are increasingly aware of the importance of environmental and corporate social responsibility in Cabo Verde. The government encourages companies to engage in responsible business conduct. Many companies conduct campaigns to promote social awareness in areas such as health, environmental protection, and cultural preservation. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, private companies supported vulnerable populations with essential goods. Women represent 37.5 percent of elected parliamentarians, 33 percent of the government, and more than 30 percent of leadership in businesses.

9. Corruption

Cabo Verde has signed and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. In Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Cabo Verde scored 58 points, ranked 39 in the world and second in the sub-Saharan Africa region. Under Cabo Verdean law, giving or accepting a bribe is a criminal act punishable by up to eight years in prison. The Penal Code details punishments for crimes committed by an official during the exercise of public duties. The Penal Code and the Electoral Code address corruption in the context of electoral crimes, particularly the offering of advantages to voters by political parties or other actors involved in elections.

Cabo Verde’s Public Procurement Code requires that public officials involved in a public procurement process provide written disclosure of any personal interest resulting from a special connection to a bidder or potential bidder and recuse themselves from participation in the process.

In 2020, the Cabo Verdean government provided for the creation of the Corruption Prevention Council, an administrative body that will lead corruption prevention efforts in the country. In early 2022, the Prime Minister announced that the government would soon form the Council. Other institutions active in combating corruption include the Judicial Police, the Prosecuting Counsel, and the courts.

10. Political and Security Environment

Cabo Verde is a model of political stability with a tradition of peaceful transitions of power. There have been no political, social, or religious conflicts resulting in violence in recent years. Civil liberties are generally protected, but access to justice is impaired by an overburdened court system, and crime remains a concern.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Labor is widely available in Cabo Verde. Unskilled labor represents 30 to 40 percent of the total labor force. Technical, managerial, and professional talent with English and French language skills is more difficult to find. Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, is a significant challenge, aggravated by the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on the tourism sector and small business.

Migrants from China, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Nigeria, and Guinea may receive wages below minimum wage and work without contracts, creating vulnerabilities. The government continues efforts to reduce vulnerability to exploitation of migrants from West Africa employed in the construction and hospitality sectors and increase their integration into society. According to a 2020 International Labor Organization (ILO) study, although women represented more than 50 percent of qualified workers, they earned on average 7 percent less than men. According to data from the National Statistics Institute, the underemployment rate for women is of 27.2 percent (globally the underemployment rate is 21.7 percent).

Activity in the informal economy – mostly in urban areas in sectors such as small industry, commerce, informal sales, and other services – accounted for 12 percent of GDP. Women constitute a majority of informal economy workers. As part of its post-pandemic relaunch plan for the private sector, the government is assessing mechanisms to promote transition from the informal to formal economy and raise employer compliance with tax and social security obligations.

Cabo Verde has ratified all of the ILO’s eight fundamental conventions. Minimum wage is currently 13,000 escudos (USD 141) per month. The National Social Security Institute (INPS) manages unemployment benefits. The legal workweek is limited to 44 hours for adults, with 12 consecutive hours per week for rest and premium rates of pay for overtime mandatory. Larger employers generally respect this restriction, but agricultural and domestic laborers often work longer hours.

Labor strikes are generally peaceful. All workers except those in restricted sectors are free to form and join unions without interference from the government. The government respects workers’ right to strike, but the law allows the government to act in emergency situations or when essential services might be affected. Few companies have adopted collective bargaining, but the ILO has worked with local unions and government bodies to provide guidance on conducting dialogue between parties. The Directorate General for Labor (DGT) has a conciliation mechanism to promote dialogue. There have been no instances in which labor laws were waived in order to attract or retain investment.

The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and African Development Bank (AfDB) consider the rigidity of labor laws and severance pay requirements to be an obstacle to industrial investment and development.

Cameroon

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

U.S. Embassy Yaoundé officials are unaware of a formal definition of responsible business conduct (RBC) within the Cameroonian government. It does not have a national ombudsman for stakeholders to get information or raise concerns about RBC.  The government has not conducted a national action plan on RBC nor does it factor RBC into its procurement decisions. U.S. Embassy Yaoundé officials are not aware of any recent high-profile instances of private sector impact on human rights. Cameroon does not have laws that regulate responsible business conduct. However, the government of Cameroon has enacted laws that cover issues related to what is locally considered corporate social responsibility. There are additional initiatives in the private sector to foster a corporate social responsibility culture.

All major infrastructure projects in Cameroon are compelled to conduct an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) to establish the impact of projects on people and nature. Cameroon’s ESIA law strives to follow World Bank standards. An August 1996 master law related to environmental management prescribes an environmental impact assessment for all projects that can cause environmental degradation.

The Cameroonian government struggles to enforce laws in relation to human rights, labor rights, consumer protection, and environmental protection. There is little corporate governance law in Cameroon, mostly since very few companies are open to portfolio investment. The Business Council for Good Governance, the American Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International, and Transparency International promote RBC in Cameroon, though their ability to monitor RBC is limited. U.S. Embassy Yaoundé officials are unaware of any government efforts to adhere to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas. Cameroon participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Domestic transparency measures requiring the disclosure of payments made to governments are lacking.

The economy of Cameroon is modernizing, but most sectors experience disruptions from informal activities. The informal sector provides crucial livelihoods to the most vulnerable in urban environments; however, labor conditions are generally precarious. In the agricultural sector, the government estimates that 70 percent of labor is informal with instances of child labor in subsistence agriculture. In other sectors, for example mining, allegations of human or labor rights abuses by Chinese mining companies have surfaced in the recent past. Indigenous forest communities also complain the government does not enforce logging concession laws.

9. Corruption

Corruption is punishable under sections 134 and 134 (a) of the Pena1 Code of Cameroon. Despite these rules, corruption remains endemic in the country. In 2021, Cameroon ranked 144 of 180 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. Anti-corruption laws are applicable to all citizens and institutions throughout the national territory. Article 66 of the constitution requires civil servants and elected officials to declare their assets and property at the beginning and at the end of their tenure of office, but it has never been enforced, since the adoption of the constitution in 1996. Similarly, the Civil Service Statute contains provisions and the procedures to be followed in the event of a conflict of interest. These provisions are enshrined in Law No. 003/2006 of April 25, 2006, which also created the Commission for the declaration of property and assets. Other codes of conduct in different public institutions have created gift registers to prevent bribes, but they are not implemented. In terms of public contracts, Decree No. 2018/0001/PM of January 5, 2018 created a portal called Cameroon Online E-procurement System (Coleps) for the digitalization, including application processing, award, and monitoring and evaluation of all tenders. Since the launch of the portal, technical issues and disregard by civil servants have curbed its effectiveness, leading to the parallel continuation of the bribe-prone paper-based procurement system. U.S. firms indicate that corruption is most pervasive in government procurement, award of licenses or concessions, transfers, performance requirements, dispute settlement, regulatory system, customs, and taxation.

Since its inception in 2006 (Presidential Decree No. 2006/088 of March 11, 2006), the National Anti-Corruption Commission (CONAC) has encouraged private companies to establish internal codes of conduct and ethics committees to review practices. U.S. Embassy Yaoundé officials are unaware of how many companies have instituted either program. Bribery of government officials remains common. While some companies use internal controls to detect and prevent such bribery, U.S. Embassy Yaoundé officials are unaware of how widespread these internal controls are.

Cameroon is signatory to the United Nations and the African Union anti-corruption initiatives, but the international initiatives have limited practical effects on the enforcement of laws in the country. U.S. Embassy Yaoundé officials are unaware of any NGO’s involvement in investigating corruption. The government prefers the National Anti-Corruption Commission (CONAC) to investigate potential cases.  U.S. companies cite corruption as among the top obstacles to investing in Cameroon and report its being most pervasive in government procurement, the award of licenses and concessions, customs, and taxation.

10. Political and Security Environment

Cameroon faces several security challenges. Violence by non-state armed groups against security forces and the local population is in its sixth year in the primarily English-speaking Southwest and Northwest Regions.  Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa continue to attack civilians and security forces in the Far North Region. In the Adamoua and East Regions, a wave of kidnappings and the presence of refugees from the Central African Republic has led to increased military presence. Terrorists and separatists alike have targeted economic assets and public infrastructure to effect political change.

In the Northwest and Southwest regions, leaders of non-state armed groups have claimed responsibility on social media for the killing of government officials, arsons that destroyed hospitals, schools, bridges, roads, and the seizure of state-run utilities. Non-state armed groups have also posted videos on social media of executions and beheadings of security officers while also claiming responsibility for multiple kidnappings for ransom of persons perceived to be against their cause. Human rights organizations and local citizens have accused soldiers and separatists of grave human rights abuses. In the Far North of Cameroon, Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa fighters have looted villages and cattle, kidnapped, and abused women. Consequently, several infrastructures projects have ground to a halt.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the labor market. Data from the National Institute of Statistics show that a large proportion of workers have seen a drastic reduction in wages (68 percent) and temporary job suspension (31.6 percent). Also, the unemployment rate reached 6.1 percent in 2021 according to the National Institute of Statistics.  Most of the youth who possess skills that could be used in the economy are under-employed in the informal sector. Under-employment, which is generally under-reported, has continued to hover around 75 percent for youth under 30. Most Cameroonians find occupation in the informal sector, where unskilled labor is prevalent, especially in the agricultural and service sectors, manufacturing, commerce, technical trades, and mid-management jobs.

Other structural problems in the labor market include the chronic shortage of technical trade skills, for example for maintenance and repair of industrial machinery, in every sector of the economy. Truck and automotive maintenance are widely practiced in the informal sector, while

rudimentary or artisanal agriculture, fishing, and textile manufacturing continue to hamper industrialization with unskilled labor.

The government of Cameroon does not require foreign companies to hire Cameroonian nationals. Foreign nationals are required, however, to obtain work permits prior to formal employment. While foreign nationals are automatically issued work permits for companies of the Industrial Free Zones regime, their number may not exceed 20 percent of the total work force of a company after the fifth year of operation in Cameroon.

Although union and contract agreements vary widely from sector to sector, in general, Cameroon functions as an “employment at will” economy, and labor laws differentiate between layoffs and firing. Layoffs are not caused by the fault of the employees and are often considered as alternative solutions to dismissing workers based on performance fault or economic grounds. There is no special treatment of labor in special economic zones, foreign trade zones, or free ports.

While the Labor Code applies to enterprises of the Industrial Free Zone regime, some matters are governed by special provisions under the 1990 law establishing Industrial Free Zones. These include the employer’s right to determine salaries according to productivity, free negotiation of work contracts, and automatic issuance of work permits for foreign workers. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security monitors labor abuses, health and safety standards, and other related issues, but enforcement is poor. Labor laws are waived within the framework of Industrial Free Zones to attract or retain investment. The waivers include the employer’s right to determine salaries according to productivity, free negotiation of work contracts, and automatic issuance of work permits for foreign nationals.

There are independent labor unions and others affiliated with the government that operate under existing laws and regulations. Over 100 trade unions and 12 union confederations are active in the country. However, the labor union movement is highly fractured and somewhat ineffective in promoting workers’ rights. Some union leaders accuse the government and company managers of promoting division within trade unions to weaken them, as well as protecting non-representative trade union leaders with whom they can negotiate more easily.

Cameroon’s labor dispute resolution mechanisms are outlined in the labor code. The procedure differs depending on whether the dispute is individual or collective. Individual disputes fall under the jurisdiction of the civil court dealing with labor matters in the place of employment or residence of the worker. The legal procedure is initiated after the labor inspector fails to settle the dispute amicably out of the court system. Settlement of collective labor disputes is subject to conciliation and arbitration, and any strike or lock-out started after the procedures have been exhausted and have failed is deemed legitimate. While the conciliation procedure is conducted by the labor inspector, arbitration of any collective dispute that has not been settled by conciliation is handled by an arbitration board, chaired by the competent judicial officer of the competent court of appeal. Workers who ignore procedures to conduct a legal strike can be dismissed or fined.

Strikes occur regularly and are generally repressed by the police, though they are often due to lack of payment by the employer (including when the employer is the government) and are resolved quickly. Recent strikes involved public sector employees. The National Potable Water Employee Union launched a strike in February 2022, citing management concerns of the state-owned water utility, CAMWATER. The union also cited concern about the absence of a plan for the construction of new water infrastructure, and a maintenance and rehabilitation plan for existing networks. In response, the Minister of Energy and Water Resources, who supervises CAMWATER, engaged the union directly in negotiations. In another public sector strike, teachers launched a broad, nation-wide strike in February 2022 to demand better working conditions and compensation for unpaid wages and benefits, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. The government has called for dialogue and offered to pay a portion of the amount teachers demanded.

Cameroonian labor code lays down principles of labor laws regarding employment, dismissal, remedies for wrongful dismissal, compensation for industrial injuries, and trade unions.  But most jobs do not have binding contracts, and employers generally seem to have the upper hand in labor disputes. There is informality even in the formal sector, which is against the law. Because of this landscape, it is important for U.S. companies to ensure compliance with the local labor laws and to abide by international best practices. There were no new labor-related laws or regulations enacted during the last year.   U.S. Embassy Yaoundé officials are unaware of any pending draft bills.

The Cameroon National Institute of Statistics estimates that every sector has a level of informality. Likewise, the IMF estimates the informal economy contributes 20-30 percent to Cameroon’s GDP every year and provides jobs to 84 percent of the active working population. Additionally, informal employment comprises over 90 percent of the agricultural sector.

Prevalence of informality in the economy of Cameroon
  Key Sectors % of GDP Example of informality
1 Agriculture 19 Unlicensed transport
2 Transportation 5.3 Motorbike taxis/Cross border trade
3 Information, Communication Technology (ICT) 5 Maintenance, repair, retail market
4 Extractive industry (Oil, Gas, Mining) 9 Artisanal mining/cross border trade
5 Banking and Finance 8.5 Informal microfinance institutions
6 Services and consumer retail market 12 Support services/home workers
7 Utilities (Electricity, Water, domestic gas, waste disposal-management) 3.1 Maintenance and repair
8 Real Estate and Infrastructure Construction 10.8 Labor, rental activities
9 Manufacturing 4 Artisanal manufacturing
10 Health services and pharmaceuticals 1 Counterfeit medicine
11 Public Administration 8 Unlicensed institutions and labor
12 Tourism, media, and Leisure Unlicensed institutions and labor

(Source: Cameroon Ministry of Finance, Finance laws 2016-2020)

Chad

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There is a general awareness of Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) among firms in Chad. Most Western firms operating in Chad adhere to RBC, particularly those in the petroleum and telecommunications sectors. For example, Esso Exploration and Production Chad, Inc. (EEPCI), a significant oil producer, has implemented Environmental Management Plans (EMPs), prioritizing hiring local residents and local purchase of goods and services, establishing international safety standards, and protecting biodiversity. A critical part of EMP has been the Land Use Management Action Plan (LUMAP) that compensates individuals and communities for land used by the project. LUMAP has distributed approximately $1.7 million in cash, in-kind goods, and training. EMP’s efforts are complemented by the ExxonMobil Foundation, which supports projects to improve girls’ education and fight malaria.

Many foreign firms commit to extensive skill-building of local staff, purchasing local goods, and donating excess equipment to charities or local governments. Internet companies Airtel and Moov, as well as some banks, continue to engage in RBC focused on public awareness campaigns countering violent extremism and promoting social cohesion.

While work safety and environmental protection regulations exist, the government does not always enforce them, and companies do not always adhere to them. There are several local NGOs, particularly in the southern oil-producing regions, which monitor safety and environmental protection in the oil sector, and which have held government and private companies publicly accountable. EEPCI adheres to U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines for recording accidents and injuries and implements a rigorous program of safety procedures and protocols.

Chad joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2010. While private security companies do operate within Chad, they typically employ unarmed guards at private residences and business premises.

Department of State

  • Country Reports on Human Rights Practices ()
  • Trafficking in Persons Report ()
  • Guidance on Implementing the “UN Guiding Principles” for Transactions Linked to Foreign Government End-Users for Products or Services with Surveillance Capabilities ()

Department of Labor

  • Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor Report ( )
  • List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor ()
  • Sweat & Toil: Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking Around the World ()
  • Comply Chain ()

9. Corruption

Foreign investors should be aware that corruption is endemic in Chad and constitutes a significant deterrent to nearly all economic activity, including foreign direct investment. Corruption is pervasive in many areas of government, including procurement, the awarding of licenses or concessions, dispute settlement, regulation enforcement, customs, and taxation.

Chad is not a signatory country of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). Chad is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (“the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention”).

There is an independent Court of Auditors (Cour des Comptes), equivalent to a supreme audit institution (SAI), to enhance independent oversight of government decisions, although its members are nominated by presidential decree. Concurrently, the GOC created a General Inspectorate for State Control within the Presidency to oversee government accountability. No reports have been published, however. In addition to these bodies, prior to the April 2021 dissolution of the National Assembly, its Finance Committee had carried out verifications of the GOC’s annual financial statement though typically did not make audits publicly available. The creation of the transitional legislature’s (CNT) Commission Controle Budget Automone is currently expected to carry out a similar responsibility, though, to date, they have not published any verifications of the GOC’s annual financial statement.

A February 2000 anti-corruption law stipulates penalties for corruption. The law does not single out family members and political parties. As in many other developing countries, weak institutional capacity, a widespread and largely accepted practice of rent seeking, low salaries for most civil servants, judicial employees, and law enforcement officials, have contributed to pervasive corruption in Chad. According to Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2021 report, selective prosecutions of high-level officials were widely viewed as efforts to discredit those posing a threat to the former president or his allies. The report stated that security forces routinely stopped citizens on pretexts of minor traffic violations to extort money or confiscate goods.

To fight corruption and embezzlement, the Ministry of Finance and Budget set up a toll-free number (700), though it has not been working since 2018, after less than a full calendar year of connectivity. According to the Minister of Finance and Budget, the toll-free number 700 was designed to allow members of the public to alert the Inspectorate General of Finance to denounce any member of government who directly or indirectly solicits a bribe related their official duties, such as regarding administrative documents or tax payments. As of April 2022, the ministry confirms that they rely on postal mail for the lodging of these complaints and have no clear date for reestablishment of the compliant line. In addition to an unworking complaint line, there are no specific laws to counter conflict of interest, nor does the GOC require or encourage private companies to establish internal codes of conduct prohibiting bribery of public officials.

Local NGO Center for Studies and Research on Governance, Extractive Industries, and Sustainable Development (CERGIED), formerly GRAMP-TC (Groupe Alternatif de Recherche et de Monitoring de Petrole – Tchad), tracks government expenditures of oil revenue. There are no indications that anti-corruption laws are enforced differently for foreign investors than for Chadian citizens. There is no specific protection for NGOs involved in investigating corruption, which, to avoid repercussions, results in self-censorship of complaints about corrupt officials.

10. Political and Security Environment

Chad enjoyed relative political stability from 2010 to April 2021, when armed groups entered from Libya and engaged in armed hostilities with Chadian government forces following the government’s announcement of former President Idriss Déby having won a sixth term. During this incursion, Deby, who had ruled the country since 1990, was killed. A group of 15 generals called the Transitional Military Council, with former President Deby’s son Mahamat Deby at the head, dissolved Chad’s constitution and legislative National Assembly in favor of a constitutional charter and interim legislature (Transitional National Council, CNT) based on an 18-month mandate. During these 18 months, set to end in October 2022, the government plans to hold a National Dialogue in May on a range of social, economic, political, and security issues pertinent to the country to inform the drafting of a new constitution to be adopted by referendum a possible pre-election census, and parliamentary and presidential elections to return to civilian-led government. Following the creation of the transitional government, Chad has entered a period of tenuous peace as the government engages in negotiations with armed political groups over their possible terms for participation in the May National Dialogue as well as disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) into Chadian society. Cross-border intercommunal violence near neighboring Darfur threatens to hamstring the prospect of a lasting peace, as do widespread frustrations over poor socio-economic conditions and impunity for excessive use of force by government security forces.

Prior to July 2021, the government typically denied permits for demonstrations or suppressed them using tear gas while arresting participants and organizers. Since then, the transitional government has allowed limited protests in N’Djamena while insisting on rigid adherence to pre-approved routes with occasional use of tear gas to disperse protestors. On the other hand, state security forces outside N’Djamena repressed public demonstrations, including live ammunition that resulted in fatalities, to quell political dissent. In December 2021, in northern Chad’s city of Faya, government forces used live ammunition to disperse protestors frustrated with changes in customs procedures, reportedly resulting in one fatality. In January, in the eastern city of Abeche, government security forces violently confronted protestors frustrated with appointment of traditional official, leaving a reported 14 dead and 64 wounded. There were no reports of politically motivated damage to investment projects and/or installations in recent years, including during incursions by armed groups into Chad in 2008 and 2021.

While Chad, which depends on oil for nearly 80 percent of its export revenues, has faced the stresses of an extended period of reduced oil revenues, recent increases in oil prices have begun to alleviate this issue. The COVID-19 pandemic, despite a low estimated incidence rate in Chad, strains Chad’s limited medical infrastructure, disrupts trade routes with neighboring countries, and complicates international air travel.

Regional violent extremist organizations threaten regional stability and foreign investments along the Lake Chad Basin and. Armed non-governmental groups operate along the Libyan border in northern Chad. Violent attacks by Boko Haram have choked off vital trade routes with Nigeria and the road between N’Djamena and Douala, Cameroon, the principal port serving Chad. This has increased costs for imports and decreased exports.

U.S. businesses and organizations in Chad are welcome to inquire at the Embassy about joining the Overseas Security Advisory Committee (OSAC).

For up-to-date information on political and security conditions in Chad, please refer to the Consular Affairs Bureau’s Travel Warning and Country Specific Information at http://www.travel.state.gov. The Embassy encourages all U.S. Citizens in Chad to enroll online with the Smart Traveler Enrollment (STEP) program or with the Embassy upon arrival to receive the latest safety and security updates via email.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Chad’s population demonstrates a significant youth bulge, leading to widespread youth unemployment.

While some government ministries and SOEs provide job-related training to their employees, Chad has a shortage of skilled labor in most sectors and, at best, a nascent pipeline of human resource development to address this need. Local universities produce a surplus of graduates able to fill entry-level management and administrative positions though jobs in Chad’s anemic formal sector remain scarce. Skilled workers even more rare. Thus, given rampant unemployment and underemployment, approximately 80 percent of the Chadian labor force survive in the informal sector, despite the economic output of these primarily subsistence activities of farming, herding, and fishing accounting for only roughly 35 percent of GDP.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) reports that Chad has managed, compared to its average share of non-agricultural informal economy employment average from 1990-1999, to reduce this average by nearly five percentage points compared to the 2010-2014 period.

As a result, unskilled and day laborers are readily available and motivated, but frequently uneducated; Chad’s literacy rate is approximately 22 percent. While few Chadians speak English, translators and interpreters are available. Chad has never been an attractive destination for regular labor migration given widespread poverty, poor infrastructure, and a weak economy, though northeastern gold mines have reportedly drawn some migrant workers, often en route to Libya or Europe from the Horn of Africa region.

Significant gender inequality exists in Chad, as social norms have historically limited most women to the home and early marriages are common. Access to modern family planning methods is scant, which contributes to a leaky pipeline of women into the workforce as expectations of child-rearing tasks following unplanned pregnancies often impel their exit from the labor force. This results in approximately 50 percent of women participating in Chad’s workforce in some way, compared to approximately 75 percent of men. The government has recognized this as an issue, and taken some minor steps to address it, such as mandating 30 percent women for the transitional government’s interim legislature (CNT).

Same-sex activity became illegal in Chad via a March 2017 update to its penal code #2017-01, whose. Article 354 stipulated penalties of three months to two years in prison plus 50,000 to 500,000 CFA. The lack of social protections and widespread homophobia result in widespread self-censorship of full expression of identity by underrepresented workers, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) individuals. As a result, little data exists regarding their participation in the labor market. More broadly, given entrenched patronage networks and their obstruction of the development of a meritocratic, rather than a connections- or ethnic-based system of hiring, individuals not connected to the Zaghawa group of former president Deby are underrepresented in government and military positions, especially at senior levels.

Child labor remains a problem. Children were involved in the following sectors: street begging in urban centers, street work as hawkers and porters, carpentry, vehicle garages, gold mining in the north of the country, service industries such as waiters/waitresses, and as domestic workers. Child labor is common in the agriculture sector. Children are also involved in cattle-herding and charcoal production. In some regions, children are involved in catching, smoking, and selling fish. Chadian cattle are included on the U.S. Government’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.

Chad has ratified all eight Fundamental Conventions of the International Labor Organization. International labor rights such as freedom of association, the elimination of forced labor, child labor, employment discrimination, minimum wage, occupational safety and health, and weekly work hours are recognized within the labor code. However, significant gaps remain in law and practice. Chadian labor law derives from French law and tends to provide strong protection for Chadian workers; priority is given to Chadian nationals; foreign investors cite these provisions as unproductive and wearisome, especially for termination of underperforming employees. Labor unions operate independently from the government and, in fact, often challenge the government. The two main labor federations, the Confederation Libre des Travailleurs du Tchad (CLTT) and the Union des Syndicats du Tchad (UST), to which most individual unions belong, are the most influential.

The labor court is the labor dispute mechanism in Chad. In case of a dispute, the aggrieved party contacts a labor inspector directly or through the labor union to settle the dispute or lodge a complaint with the labor court.

Labor unions practice collective bargaining, and the labor code monitors labor abuses, health, and safety standards in low-wage assembly operations. The enforcement of the code is not effectively conducted; most disputes are based on contract termination. The GOC did not pass any new labor laws in 2021.

The GOC may provide incentives for foreign businesses but does not waive laws to attract or retain investment. Companies report constant frustration with ambiguous and archaic French-based labor law and its outsized worker-based provisions making any reductions in their workforce extremely difficult and often quite expensive, even following in cases of well-documented flagrant misconduct or criminality, to say nothing of employers merely adjusting employment to respond to fluctuating market conditions. Companies are often forced to settle frivolous lawsuits out of pocket sometimes based, in part, on pressure by corrupt judicial officials looking to exploit legal technicalities for personal gain. The law mandates severance packages for all employees whose employment ends, and larger packages for those who are laid off for reasons out of their control than for those fired for cause. No unemployment insurance or other social safety net programs exist, nor has the public received notice about discussions having happened regarding the possible implementation in the future of such programs.

Beginning in summer, the national teacher’s union went on strike, demanding unpaid compensation and calling for an improved learning environment at different universities throughout the country, including the southern city of Moundou, the eastern city of Abeche, and in N’Djamena. They also called for payment of salaries, bonuses, and overtime arrears.

Throughout the latter half of 2021, workers at ExxonMobil’s Doba oilfield participated in a labor strike after the company announced it was in talks with Savannah Energy to sell its interests in the project. The workers demanded pre-sale compensation and their strike caused ExxonMobil to temporarily decrease production. ExxonMobil actively engaged in discussions with the workers and the government to resolve the dispute, which lasted for months.

Côte d’Ivoire

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The private sector, the government, NGOs, and local communities are becoming progressively aware of the importance of Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) regarding environmental, social, and governance issues in CDI.

Investors seeking to implement projects in energy, infrastructure, agriculture, forestry, waste management, and extractive industries are required by decree to provide an environmental impact study prior to approval.  Under the new development plan and sustainable finance regime, government has laid down specific criteria to review, select, fund, and monitor private investment with the goal of channeling funds into priority sectors.  Foreign businesses, particularly in mining, energy, and agriculture, often provide social infrastructure, including schools and health care clinics, to communities close to their sites of operation.  Companies are not required under Ivoirian law to disclose information relating to RBC, although many companies, especially in the cocoa sector, publicize their work.  Cocoa companies publicize efforts to improve sustainability and combat the worst forms of child labor.  As a part of public-procurement reform, the Ministry of Budget plans to include social needs in public-procurement contracts to support job creation, fair trade, decent working conditions, social inclusion, and compliance with social standards.  On the environment, suggested reforms include the selection of goods and services that have a smaller impact on the environment.

There are reports of children subjected to forced labor in agricultural work, particularly on cocoa farms.  In February 2021, several individuals from Mali sued major international chocolate companies, claiming that the cocoa they bought came from farms in Côte d’Ivoire where the plaintiffs were subjected to abuse.

The government, through the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection, sets workplace health and safety standards and is responsible for enforcing labor laws.

The OHADA outlines corporate governance standards that protect shareholders.

There are government-funded agencies in charge of monitoring business conduct.  Human rights, environmental protection, and other NGOs report misconduct and violations of good governance practices.

Côte d’Ivoire participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and discloses revenues and payments in the oil, gas, and mineral sectors.  More information can be found at: www.cnitie.ci/.

Côte d’Ivoire is not a signatory of the Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies.  Some private security companies operating in the country are participants of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers Association (ICoCA).

This year, government took active measures against State Owned Enterprises not paying their local contractors, generally SMEs.  After the FER general manager was removed, the acting manager made immediate payments to concerned SMEs.

9. Corruption

Many companies cite corruption as the most significant obstacle to investment.  Corruption in many forms is deeply ingrained in public- and private-sector practices and remains a serious impediment to investment and economic growth in CDI.  It has the greatest impact on judicial proceedings, contract awards, customs, and tax issues.  Lack of transparency and the government’s failure to follow its own tendering procedures in the awarding of contracts lead businesses to conclude bribery was involved.  Businesses have reported encountering corruption at every level of the civil service, with some judges appearing to base their decisions on bribes. Clearance of goods at the ports often requires substantial “commissions.”  The demand for bribes can mean that containers stay at the Port of Abidjan for months, incurring substantial demurrage charges, despite companies having the proper paperwork.

In 2013, the Ivoirian government issued Executive Order number 2013-660 related to preventing and combatting corruption.  The High Authority for Good Governance serves as the government’s anti-corruption authority.  Its mandate includes raising awareness about corruption, investigating corruption in the public and private sectors, and collecting mandated asset disclosures from certain public officials (e.g., the president, ministers, and mayors) upon entering and leaving office.  The High Authority for Good Governance, however, does not have a mandate to prosecute; it must refer cases to the Attorney General who decides whether to take up those cases.  The country’s financial intelligence office, CENTIF, has broad authority to investigate suspicious financial transactions, including those of government officials.

Despite the establishment of these bodies and credible allegations of widespread corruption, there have been few charges filed, and few prosecutions and judgments against prominent people for corruption.  The domestic business community generally assesses that these watchdog agencies lack the power and/or will to combat corruption effectively.  In April 2021, the government formally added Good Governance and Anti-Corruption to the title and portfolio of the Ministry of Capacity Building.

Côte d’Ivoire ratified the UN Anti-Corruption Convention, but the country is not a signatory to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention (which is open to non-OECD members).  In 2016, Côte d’Ivoire joined the Partnership on Illicit Finance, which obliges it to develop an action plan to combat corruption.

Under the Ivoirian Penal Code, a bribe by a local company to a foreign official is a criminal act. Some private companies use compliance programs or measures to prevent bribery of government officials.  U.S. firms underscore to their Ivoirian counterparts that they are subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  Anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials and to political parties.  The country’s Code of Public Procurement No. 259 and the associated WAEMU directives cover conflicts-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

There are no special protections for NGOs involved in investigating corruption.  Whistleblower protections are also weak.

Resources to Report Corruption

Inspector General of Finance
(Brigade de Lutte Contre la Corruption)
Mr. Lassina Sylla
Inspector General
TELEPHONE: +225 20212000/2252 9797
FAX: +225 20211082/2252 9798
HOTLINE: +225 8000 0380
http://www.igf.finances.gouv.ci/
info@igf.finances.gouv.ci

High Authority for Good Governance
(Haute Autorité pour la Bonne Gouvernance)
Mr. N’Golo Coulibaly
President
TELEPHONE: +225 272 2479 5000
FAX: +225 2247 8261
https://habg.ci/
Email: info@habg.ci

Police Anti-Racketeering Unit
(Unité de Lutte Contre le Racket –ULCR)
Mr. Alain Oura
Unit Commander
TELEPHONE: +225 272 244 9256
info@ulcr.ci

Social Justice
(Initiative pour la Justice Sociale, la Transparence et la Bonne Gouvernance en Côte d’Ivoire)
Ananeraie face pharmacie Mamie Adjoua
Abidjan
TELEPHONE:  +225 272 177 6373
socialjustice.ci@gmail.com

10. Political and Security Environment

Following peaceful and inclusive legislative elections in March 2021, CDI entered a period of stability.  Major opposition parties participated and won a meaningful number of seats in elections internationally deemed credible.  The political leadership clearly recognizes that internal and regional security are prerequisites for sustained economic growth and longer-term stability.  All political parties participated in a structured Political Dialogue aimed at fostering reconciliation and strengthening democratic institutions, including dispute resolution mechanisms.  The fifth round of the Political Dialogue concluded in March 2022 and produced a consensus list of tangible recommendations to the President of the Republic.  The next presidential election is not due until 2025, so there is now a window of opportunity for the country’s political leaders to focus on difficult reforms.

The Ivoirian government has demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing insecurity in the region by strengthening its capacity to counter terrorism, strengthen social resilience, professionalize law enforcement, strengthen its justice system, and improve border security.  In June 2021, CDI and France inaugurated the International Academy for the Fight Against Terrorism (AILCT) near Jacqueville, west of Abidjan. The aim of this academy is to train relevant cadres (e.g., prosecutors, forensic investigators) and security forces from the African continent to strengthen capacity to prevail against self-styled jihadists within respect for law and human rights, thereby reinforcing ties between the population and the state.  This comes at a time of increased security challenges emanating from the Sahel and spilling over into CDI’s northern region.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

The official unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, 5.5 percent in the 15-24 age group; however, unemployment is difficult to measure in the informal sector, which is estimated to account for as much as 80 percent of the Ivoirian economy.  Of the non-agricultural workforce, 47 percent is employed in the informal economy.  Official statistics fail to fully account for the large informal economy throughout the country, and do not accurately portray the general dearth of well-paying employment opportunities.  Despite the government’s efforts, child labor remained a widespread problem in rural and urban areas, notably on cocoa and coffee plantations, as well as in artisanal gold mining areas and in domestic work.

There are significant shortages of skilled labor in fields requiring higher education, including information technology, engineering, finance, management, health, and science.  The Ivoirian government is working with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to build and develop four technical and vocational training centers as part of a six-year Compact valued at some $536 million that will end in August 2025. The Compact comprises two projects: road transportation and education.

Labor laws favor the employment of Ivoirians in private enterprises.  Any vacant position must be advertised for two months.  If after two months no qualified Ivoirian is found, the employer may recruit a foreigner provided it plans to recruit an Ivoirian to fill the position within the next two years.

There are no restrictions on employers adjusting employment in response to fluctuating market conditions.  Employees terminated for reasons other than theft or flagrant neglect of duty have the right to termination benefits.  Unemployment insurance and other social-safety programs exist for employees laid off for economic reasons.  For the roughly 60-80% percent of workers employed in the informal sector, unemployment insurance is not an option.  However, there are other social-safety-net programs that apply to informal economy workers, including monthly stipends and waiving of universal health care fees.

Labor laws are not waived to attract or retain investment.

Collective bargaining agreements are in effect in many major business enterprises and sectors of the civil service.  A prolonged teachers’ strike in 2019 was submitted for arbitration but due to the fractured nature of the teachers’ unions, not all parties agreed to the decision.

Labor disputes are submitted to the labor inspector for amicable settlement before engaging in any legal proceedings.  If this attempt to settle the dispute fails, then the labor court can be engaged to resolve the dispute.

No strike has posed an investment risk during the last year.

There are no gaps between Ivoirian and international labor standards in law or practice that pose a reputational risk to investors.

The government did not adopt any new labor-related laws or regulations in 2021.  In 2017, the government passed a law forbidding most forms of child labor for children under 12 and restricting it for minors aged 13 to 17.  The law’s passage put Ivoirian law on par with ILO standards for child labor.  The government established the National Surveillance Council (Conseil National de Surveillance, or CNS) and the Interministerial Committee (CIM – Conseil Interministériel). These agencies deal with child labor issues, especially in the cocoa sector.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) N/A N/A 2020 $61,349 www.worldbank.org/en/country
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet/
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2020 -$1 BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/direct-investment-and-multinational-
enterprises-comprehensive-data
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2020 2.1% UNCTAD data available at

https://stats.unctad.org/handbook/EconomicTrends/
Fdi.html    

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI 
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward $11,997 Total Outward $2,520
France $2,532 21.1% Burkina Faso $426 16.9%
Canada $1,217 10.1% Mali $246 9.8%
United Kingdom $986 8.2% Liberia $227 9%
Morocco $801 6.7% Ghana $180 7.1%
Mauritius $664 5.5% Benin $177 7%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The DRC has not defined Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) for most industries, but the Labor Code includes provisions to protect employees, and there are legal provisions that require companies to protect the environment. The Global Compact Network DRC, a public-private consortium affiliated with the United Nations, encourages companies operating locally to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.

The GDRC has taken actions of limited impact to support RBC by encouraging companies to develop and adhere to a code of ethics and respect for labor rights and the environment. However, the DRC does not possess a legal framework to protect the rights of consumers, and there are no existing domestic laws to protect individuals from adverse business impacts.

Reports of children working in the DRC’s artisanal mines has led to international pressure to find ways to ensure the DRC’s minerals supply chain is free of child labor. Concerns over the use of child labor in the artisanal mining of copper and cobalt have led to worries about the use of Congolese resources served to discourage potential purchasers. USG assistance programs to build capacity for labor inspections and enforcement are helping to address these concerns.

Development pressures have resulted in reports of violations of environmental rights. In one case, a prominent local businessman is seeking to develop a dam in a national park in the southeastern province of Haut Katanga. There is a case in eastern DRC of a local developer pressuring an environmental defender to end his activism.

There are no known high-profile and controversial cases of private sector entities having a negative impact on human rights.

With regard to human rights, labor rights, consumer protection, environmental protection, and other laws/regulations designed to protect individuals from the adverse effects of business, the GDRC faces many challenges in enforcing domestic laws effectively and fairly.

The GDRC has no known corporate governance, accounting, or executive compensation standards to protect shareholders.

There are independent NGOs, human rights organizations, environmental organizations, worker/trade union organizations, and business associations that promote or monitor RBC and report misconduct and violation of good governance practices. They monitor and/or defend RBC and are able to do their work freely.

The DRC has adopted OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas as defined by the United Nations Group of Experts, as well as various resolutions of the UN Security Council related to business and human rights in the Congolese mining sector. There are also existing domestic measures requiring supply chain due diligence for companies that source minerals that may originate from conflict-affected areas in DRC.

The DRC participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. More information is available at https://www.itierdc.net/ . The DRC publishes reports on its revenue from natural resources. There are domestic transparency measures requiring disclosure of payments to governments and of RBC/Business and Human Rights policies or practices. The mining code provides domestic transparency measures requiring the disclosure of payments made to governments, though they appear to be infrequently enforced. PROMINES, a technical parastatal body financed by the GDRC and the World Bank, aims to improve the transparency of the artisanal mining sector. Amnesty International and Pact Inc. have also published reports related to RBC in the DRC mining sector.

The DRC has a private security industry but is not a party to the Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies. It does not support the International Code of Conduct or Private Security Service Providers, nor does it participate in the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers’ Association (ICoCA).

9. Corruption

The DRC constitution and legal code include laws intended to fight corruption and bribery by all citizens, including public officials. The Tshisekedi government has used public prosecutions of high-level officials and the creation of an anti-corruption unit (APLC) to improve the DRC’s anti-corruption enforcement. Prosecutions have led to jail terms but often subsequent early releases. The 2021 edition of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranked the DRC 169th out of 180 countries, with a score of 19 out of 100, up from 18 out of 100 the previous year.

Anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials and political parties. In March 2020, President Tshisekedi created the National Agency for the Prevention and Fight Against Corruption (APLC). Currently corruption investigations are ongoing for three Managing Directors of SOEs.

The country has laws or regulations to address conflicts of interest in the awarding of public contracts or procurement. Conflicts of interest committed in the context of a public contract and a delegation of public service are punishable by a fine of USD 12,500 to USD25,000.

The government through regulatory authorities encourages or requires private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials.

Law 017-2002 of 2002, establishes the code of conduct for public officials, which provides rules of conduct in terms of moral integrity and professional ethics and the fight against corruption in socio-professional environments. Private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

The DRC is a signatory to both the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption but has not fully ratified the latter. The DRC is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery. The DRC ratified a protocol agreement with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on fighting corruption.

NGOs such as the consortium “The Congo is Not for Sale,” have an important role in revealing corrupt practices, and the law protects NGOs in a whistleblower role. However, in 2021 whistleblowers from Afriland First Bank that alleged to the international NGO Global Witness interaction between sanctioned individual Dan Gertler and the bank were subjected to prosecution and, in a private proceeding, sentenced to death in absentia. Although the government worked with Global Witness to contest the case, it remained unresolved as of early 2022. NGOs report governmental or other hindrance to their efforts to publicize and/or address corruption. The Observatory of Public Expenditure (ODEP), which works with civil society organizations, raises awareness of the social impact of the execution of finance laws in order to improve transparency and accountability in the management of public finances; to participate in the fight against corruption; and to promote citizen involvement in each stage of the budget process.

U.S. firms see corruption and harassment by local security forces as one of the main hurdles to investment in the DRC, particularly in the awarding of concessions, government procurement, and taxation treatment.

10. Political and Security Environment

The DRC has a history of armed group activity, sometimes of a politicized nature and particularly in the east of the country, and of elections-related violence and civil unrest. The 2018 election, which took place after years of delay marked by protests that were in some instances violently repressed, was marred by irregularities, but most citizens accepted the announced result, and the election aftermath was calm. In January 2019, Felix Tshisekedi became President in the DRC’s first peaceful transition of power. Following President Felix Tshisekedi’s establishment of a new political alliance known as the “Sacred Union,” Tshisekedi appointed Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde as Prime Minister in April 2021.

The security situation continues to be a concern and the U.S. Embassy, through its travel advisories ( https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/DemocraticRepublicoftheCongoDRC.html), keeps a list of areas where it does not recommend travel by U.S. citizens. The security situation in eastern DRC remains unstable. Some 15-20 significant armed groups are present and inter-communal violence can affect the political, security, and humanitarian situation. Several towns in eastern DRC continue to be reported to be under attack by armed groups or temporarily under their control.

The foreign terrorist organization-designated ISIS-DRC (aka the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group) in eastern DRC is one of the country’s most notorious and intractable armed groups and its members have shown no interest in demobilizing. In May 2021, Tshisekedi declared a “state of siege” – effectively martial law – in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, installing military governors and ramping up Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) operations against ISIS-DRC/ADF and other armed groups. The state of siege has been accompanied by problematic human rights practices; the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has documented violations including extrajudicial killings by FARDC and police, while military governments have restricted civil society and political activists and prosecuted some for criticizing the state of siege.

US citizens and interests are not being specifically targeted by armed groups, but anyone can easily fall victim to violence or kidnapping by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset tracks political violence in developing countries, including the DRC, https://acleddata.com/ . Kivu Security Tracker ( https://kivusecurity.org/ ) is another database for information on attacks in eastern DRC. The Department of State continues to advise U.S. citizen travelers to review the Embassy’s Travel Advisory and country information page ( https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/DemocraticRepublicoftheCongoDRC.html) for the latest security information.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

The DRC labor market has a large, low-skilled workforce with high youth unemployment. Women make up 47 percent of the labor force. Expatriates frequently work in jobs requiring technical training in the key mining sector. Approximately 85 percent of the nonagricultural labor force works in the informal sector. About 60 percent of the total labor force works in agriculture.

Informal employment dominates the labor market in the DRC. According to the World Bank, the DRC has one of the highest rates of informal work in the world, with about 80 percent of urban workers engaged in the informal economy. The Congolese trade union confederation estimates that the sector employs 97.5 percent of the country’s workforce. Informal workers in the artisanal mining sector have raised worries about the use of child labor in mining, forcing companies to go through an accreditation system to show they do not use child labor. It takes many forms and is characterized by the non-respect or non-application of labor standards related to minimum wage, working hours, safety and other social standards related to the social health system, retirement, etc. The informal sector’s share of GDP is estimated at nearly 55 percent. The EGI-ODD results show that slightly more than 91 percent of jobs in the non-agricultural sectors are informal, meaning that these workers do not have a contract, receive paid vacations, or family allowances. By gender, 94 percent of women’s jobs in the nonagricultural sector are informal, compared to 87.7 percent for men.

DRC labor law stipulates that for companies with more than 100 employees, ten percent of all employees must be local. If the general manager is a foreigner, his or her deputy or secretary general must be a Congolese national. The government may waive these provisions depending on the sector of activity and available expertise. There are no onerous conditionality, visa, residency, or work permit requirements that impede the mobility of foreign investors and their employees.

The DRC faces a shortage of skilled labor in all sectors. There are few formal vocational training programs, although Article 8 of the labor law requires all employers to provide training to their employees. To address the high unemployment rate, the GDRC has enacted a policy giving Congolese preference in hiring over expatriates. Laws prevent companies from laying off workers in most cases without compensation. These restrictions discouraged hiring and encouraged the use of temporary contracts instead of permanent employment. There is no government safety net to compensate laid-off workers.

There are no labor laws waived in order to attract or retain investment, nor are there additional/different labor law provisions in special economic zones, foreign trade zones, or free ports compared to the general economy. The law grants and guarantees equal treatment to all national and foreign investors.

Congolese law bans collective bargaining in some sectors, particularly by civil servants and public employees, and the law does not provide adequate protection against anti-union discrimination. While the right to strike is recognized, there are provisions which require unions to obtain authorization and to undergo lengthy mandatory arbitration and appeal procedures before going on strike. Unions often strike to obtain wage increases or payment of back wages and seek to make gains through negotiation with employers.

The DRC government has ratified all eight core International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions, but some Congolese laws continue to be inconsistent with the ILO Forced Labor Convention.

No strikes in the past year have posed an investment risk and government’s reaction.

According to some businesses, the government does not effectively enforce relevant employment laws. DRC law prohibits discrimination in employment and occupation based on race, gender, language, or social status. The law does not specifically protect against discrimination based on religion, age, political opinion, national origin, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV-positive status. Additionally, no law specifically prohibits discrimination in the employment of career public service members.

Labor law defines different standard workweeks, ranging from 45 to 72 hours, for various jobs, and prescribes rest periods and premium pay for overtime. Employers in both the formal and informal sectors often do not respect these provisions. The law does not prohibit compulsory overtime.

The labor code specifies health and safety standards, but the government does not effectively enforce labor standards in the informal sector, and enforcement is uneven to non-existent in the formal sector. The Ministry of Labor employs 200 labor inspectors, but the Labor Inspector General reports that funding is not enough to facilitate the conduct of efficient labor inspections.

No new labor related laws or regulations have been enacted in the past year, and no bills are pending.

Djibouti

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There is nascent but growing awareness among both companies and consumers in Djibouti of Responsible Business Conduct (RBC). Businesses which might harm the environment are, in general, obligated to conduct studies on the environmental impact before proceeding with their project. The government does not promote RBC in a systematic way, although it does acknowledge good corporate social responsibility and covers it favorably in state media. However, the government does not factor RBC policies or practices into its procurement decisions. There are no corporate governance, accounting, or executive compensation standards to protect stakeholders. The government does not adhere to OECD guidelines in RBC matters. There have been reports that the government does not effectively and fairly enforce domestic laws relating to labor rights, environmental protections, consumer protections, and human rights. There are no independent NGOs, investment funds, worker organizations, or associations that monitor RBC in Djibouti. Djibouti has a salt extraction industry, but it does not participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative or the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices;

Trafficking in Persons Report;

Guidance on Implementing the “UN Guiding Principles” for Transactions Linked to Foreign Government End-Users for Products or Services with Surveillance Capabilities;

U.S. National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises; and;

Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory 

Department of the Treasury

OFAC Recent Actions

Department of Labor

Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor Report;

List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor;

Sweat & Toil: Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking Around the World and;

Comply Chain

 

The national climate strategy includes a number of actions to strengthen or build capacity in the field with a view of reducing the vulnerability of the coastal zone to climate change. Priority is on addressing extreme floods, inundations, and marine submersion.

Post is not aware of any government introduction of policies to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

There are government policies that establish marine protected areas in order to contribute to the conservation of Djibouti’s marine biodiversity and other desirable ecological benefits.

In order to support coastal populations affected by climate change, the government has put in place a program to improve their resilience and mitigate their vulnerability while adopting a co-management approach to protect marine resources.

9. Corruption

Djibouti has several laws to combat corruption by public officials. These laws were either passed by the government or contained in the Penal Code. However, there have been no records of cases to combat corruption by public officials. Corruption laws are extended to all family members of officials and across political parties, but they have not been applied in a non-discriminatory manner. Djibouti ranked 128 of 180 countries on the 2021 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. Djibouti does not have laws or regulations to counter conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

Djibouti is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. There are two government entities responsible for investigating corruption and enforcing the regulations. The State Inspector General (SGI) is tasked with ensuring human and material resources in the public sector are properly utilized. The Court of Auditors is mandated to verify and audit all public establishments for transparency and accountability, and to implement necessary legal sanctions. Both institutions are mandated to produce annual corruption reports. Despite the legal mandates, both institutions lack the authority to push for meaningful reform. The National Commission for Anti-Corruption is also mandated to enforce the laws on combatting corruption and provide safe haven for whistleblowers. This Commission launched a program in March 2018 to urge high-ranking government officials to publicly declare all of their assets, with little success. The contracting code and other laws passed by Djibouti contain provisions to counter conflict-of-interest contracts or government procurement.

According to a law passed in 2013, the government requires private and public companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prevent and prohibit bribery of public officials. However, these codes have not been implemented. Likewise, the government requirement that private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance to detect and prevent bribery of government officials is not enforced. Djibouti is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Djibouti is a signatory country of the UN Convention against Corruption.

U.S. firms have not specifically noted corruption as an obstacle to foreign direct investment in Djibouti, but there were allegations of foreign companies having to meet requirements such as renting houses owned by senior officials or hiring certain employees as a condition of receiving government procurement contracts. In addition, one company reported harassment of employees by local competitors. Prosecution and punishment for corruption is rare.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency responsible for combating corruption is listed below:

Fatouma Mahamoud AbdillahiPresidentCommission Nationale Independante pour la Prevention et de Lutte Contre la CorruptionPlateau du Serpent+253 21 35 16 03 anticorruption@intnet.d j

No “watchdog” organizations are present in Djibouti.

10. Political and Security Environment

Djibouti has seen only very limited episodes of political violence over the last two decades.  In the last ten years, there have been no known incidents of political violence leading to damage to foreign investments.  Both the ruling coalition party and the recognized opposition parties favor foreign direct investment into Djibouti and local attitudes towards foreigners are positive.

Djibouti held presidential elections April 9, 2021, with President Ismael Omar Guelleh winning a fifth consecutive term with 98% of the vote. His 22-year reign has contributed to stability and economic growth, but questions of succession and subsequent instability remain.

Djibouti was recently awarded the International Peace Award by the journal Jeune Afrique for its secure environment, despite being surrounded by countries facing instability.  According to data acquired by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, Djibouti’s instances of violence and disorder have significantly declined in the past three years.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Djibouti’s official unemployment rate is 47%. Youth unemployment, defined locally as the share of the labor force between age 15 and 24 without work but that is available and actively seeing employment, has remained between 11% and 12% in the past three decades. Estimates of a sizeable informal labor market of up to 75% exist in Djibouti, with a larger informal market outside of the capital city of Djibouti. The informal market consists mostly of individual operating units, is poorly structured, and is concentrated in trade, import-export, construction, various services and handicrafts. In Djibouti, women are largely predominant in the activities of the informal economy. The formal labor market is heavily service- or government-oriented with growing markets in construction, logistics, and transportation. Skilled Djiboutian workers, especially in high-demand trades such as construction, are in short supply.

Djibouti has complicated labor laws that favor the employee, especially in the areas of disputes and termination. Vocational and professional training facilities remain limited. The World Bank, the Ministry of Finance, USAID, and other entities are working on a variety of initiatives to address the shortage of workforce development programs. The government has promoted entrepreneurship as a means of stimulating the economy. The government, in partnership with the World Bank and European Union, opened the entrepreneurship and leadership center (CLE – Centre Leadership Entreprenariat ) to assist start-up companies.

Foreign workers are legally allowed to work in Djibouti only if their qualifications or expertise are not available among the nationals, as determined by the Ministry of Labor through the National Agency for Employment, Training, and Professional Integration (ANEFIP). This requirement is not strictly implemented. In January 2017, the cost for a work permit was reviewed and classified in three different categories based on the type of profession with respective annual fees of 50,000 Djibouti francs (USD 281), 100,000 Djibouti francs (USD 563) and Djibouti francs 200,000 (USD 1,125). ANEFIP maintains a database of Djiboutian job-seekers and issues work permits to foreign workers.

Employers have to abide by the Labor Code. Workers who are laid off get more compensation than employees who are fired. No unemployment insurance or other social safety net programs exist for workers laid off for economic reasons. Only those workers who contributed to the social insurance for 25 years and are sixty years of age are entitled to retirement benefits.

Minimum wage is DJF 45,000 (USD 254) per month. By law, all employers are obligated to make social security payments on behalf of their employees, through the National Council for Social Security. Two large labor unions exist in Djibouti, but only the Djiboutian Workers Union is recognized by international organizations.

Labor laws are not waived to attract investment, but the investment code and free zones have separate legal provisions to attract investment. By law, labor unions are independent of the government and employers. In practice they can be influenced by the government and/or employers. In case of labor disputes, the Labor Inspector will bring together the employer and the employee to settle the case acting as a mediator. If the mediation fails, then the case will be sent to the Court. The process is opaque and the results are not publicized.

In November 2020, the National Assembly amended the Labor Code to require companies employing 11 or more employees to report annually on the status of its workforce. This report aims to prevent companies from hiring foreigners illegally, not respecting legally allowed pregnancy leave, and/or illegally firing employees.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2019 $3,346 2020 $3,380 www.worldbank.org/en/country
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://apps.bea.gov/international/
factsheet/
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/
direct-investment-and-multinational-
enterprises-comprehensive-data
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2020 58.3% UNCTAD data available at

https://unctad.org/topic/investment/
world-investment-report
  

* Ministry of Finance and Economy

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Data not available.

Equatorial Guinea

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The government does not have a clearly defined vision on responsible business conduct (RBC) for companies operating in the country. Rather, it encourages such practices through individual decrees and enforcement of laws and policies. The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, for example, mandates that international oil companies invest a percentage of their proceeds in local corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. Under the local content rules added to the Hydrocarbon Law in 2014, a significant portion of these funds are used to support the National Technological Institute of Mines and Hydrocarbons, which trains local nationals to work in the extractive sector. Some funds are invested in environmental projects through local and U.S.-based NGOs, while others support social projects like a human trafficking awareness campaign. All CSR projects must be approved by the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, and the Ministry receives branding and credit for all CSR initiatives even it doesn’t contribute any funding. The Ministry oversees the entire CSR process through its Department of Local Content, including selecting the project, local implementing partner(s), and location(s).

While there are significant human rights concerns in Equatorial Guinea, including arbitrary detentions and restrictions on free speech and assembly, in general these are not directly related to the investment sector. There are no alleged instances of child labor in supply chains, major land tenure issues, forced evictions of indigenous peoples, or arrests of environmental defenders. There are some cases of alleged forced labor of third country nationals working for foreign companies and foreign state-owned enterprises, which are covered in more detail in the Department of State’s Trafficking in Humans Report linked below.

As a result of Equatorial Guinea’s underdeveloped and under-resourced judicial system, laws designed to protect human rights, workers, the environment, and consumers are not always effectively enforced. The absence of labor unions and weak civil society organizations result in little third-party oversight of or advocacy for improved government actions related to RBC. A high-profile case in early 2022 resulted in the arrest of six individuals accused of putting consumers at risk by falsifying the expiration dates on products at a prominent supermarket. In 2021, national police arrested multiple individuals for falsifying official signatures and documents to engage in illegal logging.

Equatorial Guinea applied to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2010, but its application was delisted after the government missed the validation deadline. To comply with IMF recommendations, it reapplied in 2019, but it once again had to withdraw its application in 2020 for failure to meet all requirements. The government has been unable to identify a civil society organization to serve as part of an effective multi-stakeholder oversight mechanism, a key component of admission into the EITI. In late 2021, the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons stated that the government would be resubmitting its application in early 2022, but as of April, no progress toward reapplying had been made public.

Equatorial Guinea is not a signatory of the Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies, nor does it participate directly in the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers’ Association (ICoCA), although several companies in the country are members.

9. Corruption

Corruption at all levels of government remains a serious issue, although the government has taken some steps to combat it. The government ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in May 2018 and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption in October 2019. In July 2020, the President issued Decree-Law No. 1/2020 on the Prevention and Fight against Corruption to bring its existing anti-corruption laws up to international standards in compliance with requirements from the IMF. The decree requires public officials to disclose all assets and sources of income, sets new rules to prevent conflicts of interests, prohibits officials from receiving most types of gifts, establishes a National Commission on the Prevention and Fight Against Corruption, and establishes punishments for corruption offenses, as well as protections for whistleblowers.

As with the investment regulatory regime, however, anti-corruption enforcement remains weak. Some anti-corruption agencies, such as a Court of Accounts and a Commission on Ethics, have been created by law but have yet to be operationalized. Other offices, such as those of the anti-corruption prosecutor and the ombudsman, have been launched but remain weak and under-resourced. While some high-profile corruption cases against low- and mid-level officials were prosecuted in 2021, a culture of impunity remains among higher level leaders. Despite public disclosure of assets being included in both the anti-corruption law and the amended 2012 constitution, many public officials have yet to comply. Many high-level officials continue to have ownership of private sector businesses with no oversight of conflict of interest, contract negotiations, or anti-nepotism mechanisms.

Law No. 2/2014 on Civil Servants of the State sets forth responsibilities and prohibited actions of public workers, and some autonomous entities and SOEs have established their own codes of conduct. In 2019, the government called for the establishment of a Commission on Ethics to facilitate reporting by public officials of acts of corruption, but it is not yet operational.

Through harassment and intimidation, the government prevents civil society organizations from advocating on any issues that it considers to be political, and it does not offer protection for entities investigating corruption. NGOs of all kinds, but especially those engaging on issues of human rights and good governance, have difficulty obtaining legal registration through the Ministry of Interior and Local Corporations, some waiting for years without an official answer despite multiple attempts.

Corruption is reportedly present in many stages of the business cycle, including during procurement and awarding of licenses, as well as in regulatory enforcement and dispute settlement

10. Political and Security Environment

Politically motivated arbitrary detentions do occur. Equatorial Guinea does not have a recent history of political violence or civil disturbance, due in part to significant government controls on political opposition and civil society. Over 50 percent of the population has official membership in the ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE), which has maintained control of the legislative, executive, and, by extension, judicial branches since its founding in 1987. The Convergence for Social Democracy is the only legal, non-aligned opposition party, while 16 minor parties make up the “aligned opposition” and are closely affiliated with the PDGE. Legislative elections are expected to take place in 2022, with presidential elections anticipated in 2023. During its November 2021 national convention, the PDGE surprised many observers by not announcing whether President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has led the country since taking power in 1979, would run for his final constitutionally authorized term. If a new PDGE candidate is named for the 2023 presidential elections or following President Obiang’s final term, some observers predict in-fighting within the party and/or the ruling family that could lead to temporary political instability. In almost all official meetings and speeches, Equatorial Guinea’s top leaders warn of the many internal and external threats faced by the country. Some of these warnings results from thwarted coup attempts in 2004, 2009, and 2017, as well as increasing instability in West and Central Africa, but they may also be designed to solidify popular support for the PDGE and the Obiang family.

Maritime piracy remains a critical threat in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG). While reported attacks dropped from 81 in 2020 to 34 in 2021, all 57 of the global piracy-related kidnappings in 2021 occurred in the GoG. The year-to-year decrease in incidents was in part the result of several foreign governments sending vessels to patrol the waters of the GoG, including the Russian, Brazilian, and Danish navies. Following the 2019 hijacking of a supply vessel in transit to Exxon-Mobil’s offshore facility and the October 2020 on-land attack on an oil compound, the government required all ships operating in Equatorial Guinea’s water to have an armed security officer, provided by Equatorial Guinea’s military, on board. Some international oil companies are instead attempting to procure their own armed security vessels, although the government has yet to provide final approval. Despite these efforts, five high-profile attacks in and around Equatorial Guinea’s waters occurred in November and December 2021.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

In December 2021, the Parliament passed General Labor Law No. 4/2021, updating the regulations governing Equatorial Guinea’s labor law. This new law was designed to strengthen workers’ rights and create streamlined procedures for arbitrating labor disputes. It also raised the retirement age from 60 to 65. While the government has not published the law’s text online, in March 2022 it organized a public session to provide information on the new regulations to private companies.

Labor disputes may be heard by the legislature or in the courts, and decisions often favor the employee. This can be especially true for foreign firms. Labor disputes involving companies are frequently resolved through legislative hearings, after which the company may be obligated to pay a substantial compensation to the local employee. Employers are required to make significant severance payments to separated employees, even when employment demands fluctuate due to market conditions. Currently, the government does not provide any unemployment insurance or other social safety net programs to assist laid-off workers.

Due to its small labor pool and underdeveloped education system, Equatorial Guinea has a consistent shortage of both skilled and unskilled local labor. Foreign laborers make up an important segment of all sectors of the economy, and dominate in highly skilled professions, including engineers, pilots, and doctors. Despite local skilled labor shortages, the National Content Law of Equatorial Guinea requires that 70 percent of foreign oil company’s staff consist of local nationals. Furthermore, before hiring an expatriate worker, these companies must demonstrate to the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons that they have been unable to find a suitable local employee during a period of 30 days.

While official statistics are scarce, anecdotal evidence suggests that youth unemployment is widespread and that women remain under-represented in the formal economy. A study conducted by the Ministry of Finance in 2017 estimated that the informal sector is responsible for 32 percent of Equatorial Guinea’s GDP. This informal sector, which includes the provision of both goods and services, grew quickly following the start of an economic recession in 2015, which was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from a union of small farmers and the taxi association, the government has not recognized any labor unions, so collective bargaining is not common. The government allows small collectives and associations to register but does not permit them to engage in labor advocacy. There have not been any strikes during the last year that posed an investment risk, as the government typically restricts strikes or protests. There is no evidence of the government waiving labor laws to attractive foreign investments. Equatorial Guinea joined the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 1981 and has ratified the ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, the Abolition of Forced Labor Convention, and the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention.

Eritrea

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Most large enterprises in Eritrea are operated directly or jointly by the GSE or PJDF, and there is no general awareness of the concept of “responsible business conduct” (RBC).  However, on some issues, especially environmental protection, many businesses take great care to act responsibly.  Due to a lack of transparency, it is unknown if the GSE has taken any measures to encourage RBC; if it has, these efforts are not well publicized.

According to numerous reports from international NGOs (operating outside of Eritrea), the United Nations, and the U.S. Government, the GSE does not fairly and effectively enforce its domestic laws in relation to human rights, including labor rights. Any products created by state-owned or parastatal organizations is likely to involve forced labor through the government’s national service system. However, Eritrea has rather stringent safeguards for environmental protections.

There are no public capital markets inside of Eritrea and only a small number of publicly traded companies operate inside of Eritrea. Due to lack of transparency, it is impossible to determine if the GSE has established any standard of corporate governance, accounting and executive compensation to protect shareholders.

There are no independent NGOs, investment funds, worker organizations, unions or business associations in Eritrea.

Due to lack of transparency, it is impossible to determine if the GSE encourages adherence to OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas. Individual mining companies participate in programs such as the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, but this participation is not mandated by the GSE.

9. Corruption

Eritrean laws criminalize corruption by public officials and by any who claim influence over public officials, which would include family members and political parties.  Due to limited transparency within the government, it is unclear the extent to which the GSE applies these laws, though evidence suggests little corruption among high-level government officials but significant petty corruption at the local level.

There are no specific provisions concerning conflicts of interest.

There is no available information to suggest that the GSE requires private companies to establish internal codes that prohibit bribery of public officials, and it is unlikely that the government does so.  It is likely that some, but not all, of the large foreign private companies use internal controls, ethics or compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery.

Eritrea is not a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption or any other international anti-corruption initiatives.  There are no independent NGOs in Eritrea, including those that investigate corruption.  There are no U.S. firms in Eritrea to provide an opinion on corruption as an impediment to FDI, but it is unlikely to be a serious impediment.

10. Political and Security Environment

There is no history of politically motivated violence or civil disturbance.

In 2015, there were public reports that a Canadian-operated mine in Eritrea was damaged by explosions caused by either bombs or mortars. The mine continued to operate and there were conflicting accounts of who was responsible for the explosion(s).  This one incident does not seem to have had a continuing impact on the investment environment.

Due to Eritrea’s single-party political system, it is difficult to know how politicized or secure the country is, as information on public opinion and security matters does not flow freely.  However, the level of politicization and security does not seem to have changed in recent years.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

The most important factor influencing the labor market in Eritrea is the GSE’s National Service program, which, in practice, due (the GSE claims) to a long-standing state of emergency, subjects a large portion of the labor force to indefinite government service, working at very low wages across a large swath of the employment spectrum and unable to pursue alternative employment on penalty of imprisonment. All university graduates require a release from National Service before they can legally pursue other employment opportunities.

There is no reliable data on unemployment. Foreign labor is mostly unknown, aside from the small number of multinational companies. Migrant labor, in the sense of Eritreans moving from place to place for work, is mostly restricted to the agricultural sector, and even there it is a small part of the labor force given the dominance of subsistence farming in the agricultural sector. Female participation in the economy is high.

While there are shortages of specialized labor in many sectors of the economy, particularly in the areas of administration, the international mining facilities are largely able to find enough sufficiently skilled workers; in many cases these are National Service employees seconded from a relevant ministry.  Many small Eritrean companies blame National Service for the paucity of skilled employees available in the market.  Leaving a National Service position without authorized release can result in imprisonment.  Due to National Service, Eritrea is a Tier 3 country for Trafficking in Persons, which results in sanctions against the government.

The informal economy plays a significant role in the Eritrean economy, though there is no data to show how significant. Those who evade National Service are only able to work in the informal economy. Domestic work is completely unregulated.

According to the GSE’s stated policy, the large international mining facilities currently operating in Eritrea are required to hire Eritrean workers wherever possible and to offer training programs for Eritrean workers.

All workers have the right under Eritrean law to severance if removed from a job, regardless of the reason for removal (termination for cause, layoff, or resignation.)  The amount of severance depends on the salary and the length of accrued service.  Moreover, notice must be given any time an employment agreement ends, with some exception for malfeasance on either side, again determined by how long the employee has worked.  There are no known official safety nets for those laid off for economic reasons.  Officially, no labor laws have been waived in order to attract or retain investment, but as most large investments are completed through private negotiations between the government and/or PFDJ and the outside entity, it is impossible to know the exact nature of provisions of these agreements.

There is one legal labor union in Eritrea, the National Confederation of Eritrean Workers (NCEW).  The NCEW engages in collective bargaining for those workers who qualify, but as most workers are in National Service, very few benefit.  The NCEW also represents workers in labor dispute management.  Eritrea has a Labor Relations Board which hears disputes, made up of seven members of the NCEW, seven members of the employers’ association, and one government official.

There have been no labor protests or strikes during the past year.

The use of those serving in National Service for civilian jobs, and the indefinite nature of that service, continues to pose reputational risks for organizations doing work in Eritrea.  A Canadian company that used to run a mine in Eritrea was sued in Canadian court over accusations that it employed National Service workers; the case was settled confidentially out of court in 2020.  An EU development project has come under fire after accusations of forced labor.  There are a number of other areas (informal sector, child labor, minimum wage) where Eritrean law does not meet international standards.  No new laws have been introduced in the last year, nor are any new laws expected.

Eswatini

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

Ethiopia

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Some larger international companies in Ethiopia have introduced corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Most Ethiopian companies, however, do not officially practice CSR, though individual entrepreneurs engage in charity, sometimes on a large scale. There are efforts to develop CSR programs by MOTRI in collaboration with the World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other institutions.

The government encourages CSR programs for both local and foreign direct investors but does not maintain specific guidelines for these programs, which are inconsistently applied and not controlled or monitored. The Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce also has a corporate governance institute, which promotes responsible business conduct among private business enterprises.

The GOE does not publish data on the number of children who are victims of forced labor. The Ethiopian Central Statistics Agency’s 2015 National Child Labor Survey and 2021 Labor Force and Migration Survey did not assess forced labor.

On January 1, 2022, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that due to human rights concerns related to the conflict in northern Ethiopia, Ethiopia no longer met the eligibility criteria for African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preferences. Ethiopia will continue to undergo AGOA’s annual review process and may regain eligibility once it meets the criteria.

The 2020 Investment Law requires all investors to give due regard to social and environmental sustainability values including environmental protection standards and social inclusion objectives. The 2002 Environmental Impact Assessment Proclamation number 299/2002 mandates any government agency issuing business licenses or permits for investment projects ensure that federal or relevant regional environmental agencies authorize the project’s implementation. In practice, environmental laws and regulations are not fully enforced due to limited capacity at government regulatory bodies.

In 2014, the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) admitted Ethiopia as a candidate-member. In 2019, EITI found Ethiopia made meaningful progress in implementing EITI standards. The Commercial Code requires extractive industries and other businesses to conduct statuary audits of their financial statements at the end of each financial year.

9. Corruption

The Federal Ethics and Anticorruption Proclamation number 1236/2020 aims to combat corruption involving government officials and organizations, religious organizations, political parties, and international organizations. The Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) is accountable to parliament and charged with preventing corruption among government officials by providing ethics training and education. MOJ is responsible for investigating corruption crimes and prosecutions. The Office of the Ombudsman is responsible for ensuring good governance and preventing administrative abuses by public offices.

Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures perceived levels of public sector corruption, rated Ethiopia’s corruption at 39 (the score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of zero to 100, with the former indicating highly corrupt and the latter indicating very clean). Its comparative rank in 2021 was 87 out of 180 countries, a seven-point improvement from its 2020 rank. In 2020 the American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia polled its members and asked what the leading business climate challenges were; transparency and governance ranked as the 4th leading business climate challenge, ahead of licensing and registration, and public procurement.

Ethiopian and foreign businesses routinely encounter corruption in tax collection, customs clearance, and land administration. Many past procurement deals for major government contracts, especially in the power generation, telecommunications, and construction sectors, were widely viewed as corrupt. Allegations of corruption in the allocation of urban land to private investors by government agencies are a major source of popular discontent in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Ethiopia is a signatory to the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. Ethiopia is also member of the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities. Ethiopia signed the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2003, which was eventually ratified in November 2007. It is a criminal offense to give or receive bribes, and bribes are not tax deductible.

10. Political and Security Environment

Ethnic conflict – often sparked by historical grievances or resource competition, including land disputes – has resulted in varying levels of violence across Ethiopia. According to the 2022 Global Humanitarian Overview, there were an estimated 4.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ethiopia at the end of 2021, with high levels of need also identified among non-displaced people living in conflict-affected areas. The primary cause of displacements was conflict and insecurity, followed by drought and seasonal floods and flash flooding.

Most significantly, in early November 2020, a conflict broke out between a regional political party in the Tigray Region and the federal government. The conflict quickly enlarged, with Eritrean troops present in parts of Tigray Region, and Amhara Region forces controlling much of Western Tigray. The conflict in northern Ethiopia has led to many deaths, widespread displacements, extensive destruction of infrastructure, widespread gross human rights violations, gender-based violence, a vast reduction in public services, and widespread hunger.

Insecurity, often driven by ethnic tensions, persists in many other areas, notably in the southern and western Oromia Region; eastern Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region; and in the Hararges on the border of the Somali Region. In western Oromia, the Oromo Liberation Army-Shane and other unidentified armed groups have intensified attacks against public and local government officials; this violence has spilled over into other parts of Oromia. In far western Ethiopia, ethnic violence and clashes in Benishangul-Gumuz Region have continued throughout 2021 and into early 2022, leaving hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. Amhara has experienced altercations in 2022 between regional security forces and youth militias.

When Prime Minister Abiy came to power in 2018, political space opened significantly, although it has since regressed especially after the government declared a State of Emergency in November 2021. While the State of Emergency was lifted in February 2022, during its implementation thousands of people, mostly of Tigrayan ethnicity, were arbitrarily detained and freedom of the press was significantly curtailed. Constitutional rights, including freedoms of assembly and expression, are generally supported at the level of the federal government, though the protection of these rights remains uneven, especially at regional and local levels. While opposition parties mostly operate freely, authorities, especially at the sub-national level, have employed politically motivated procedural roadblocks to hinder opposition parties’ efforts to hold meetings or other party activities; this was especially true in the run-up to the June 2021 general election.

The space for media and civil society groups has generally become freer following reforms instituted by Prime Minister Abiy. Still, journalism in the country remains undeveloped, social media is often rife with unfounded rumors, and government officials occasionally react with heavy-handedness, especially to news they feel might spur social unrest, resulting in self-censorship. Civil society reforms have spurred an expansion of the sector, though many civil society groups continue to struggle with capacity and resource issues.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

The national unemployment rate in February 2021 was 8 percent according to the 2021 Labor Force and Migration Survey. The unemployment rates for men and women were 5 and 11.7 percent, respectively. The law only gives refugees and asylum seekers the opportunity to work on a development project supported by the international community that economically benefits both refugees and citizens or to earn wages through self-employment. The law prohibits discrimination with respect to employment and occupations. However, there are legal restrictions on women’s employment, including limitations on occupations deemed dangerous and in industries, such as mining and agriculture. Women have fewer employment opportunities than men. Around 46.3 percent of people were working in the informal sector nationally according to the 2021 Labor Force and Migration Survey.

According to a 2020 International Labor Organization labor market assessment across all sectors, there was a generally higher demand for highly skilled workers, followed by medium-skilled workers; low-skilled workers had the lowest demand, especially in construction and manufacturing sectors. In terms of supply, there was generally an oversupply of low- and medium-skilled workers across major sectors such as agriculture, construction, and manufacturing. The Ministry of Labor and Skills, in collaboration with other international and national stakeholders, provides trainings for technical and vocational trainers.

The investment law gives employment priority for nationals and provides that any investor may employ duly qualified expatriate experts in the positions of “higher management, supervision, trainers and other technical professions” required for the operation of business only when it is ascertained that Ethiopians possessing similar qualifications or experiences are not available.

There is no restriction on employers adjusting employment to respond to fluctuating market conditions. The labor law allows employers to terminate employment contracts with notice when demand falls for the employer’s products or services and reduces the volume of work or profit. The law differentiates between firing and layoffs.

The national labor law recognizes the right to collective bargaining, but this right was severely restricted under the law. Negotiations aimed at amending or replacing a collectively bargained agreement must take place within three months of its expiration; otherwise, the prior provisions on wages and other benefits cease to apply. The constitution and the labor law recognize the right of association for workers.

Labor divisions are established at the federal and regional level. Employers and workers may also introduce social dialogue to prevent and resolve labor disputes amicably. The Ministry of Labor and Skills assigns councilors or arbitrators when a dispute is brought to the attention of the Ministry or the appropriate authority by either of the parties to the dispute.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (M USD) 2020/21** $111.3 2020 $107.6 www.worldbank.org/en/country 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country (M USD, stock positions) 2021 $741 N/A N/A https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet/ 
Host country’s FDI in the United States (M USD, stock positions) 2020 N/A N/A N/A http://bea.gov/international/direct_
investment_multinational_companies_
comprehensive_data.htm
 
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2020-21** 10% 2020 2.22% www.worldbank.org/en/country 

*National Bank of Ethiopia and Ethiopian Investment Commission

**Ethiopian Fiscal Year 2020-21, which begins on July 8, 2020.

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Data regarding inward direct investment are not available for Ethiopia via the IMF’s Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS) site ( http://data.imf.org/CDIS ).

Gabon

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There is a general awareness of responsible business conduct (RBC) among both producers and consumers; however, there are no formal rules or regulations pertaining to RBC in Gabon.

Gabon has several NGO’s working primarily in the environment, human rights, and mining sectors. The political labor unions in Gabon have taken the lead in promoting and monitoring RBC, and they are able to work freely. With a push from these labor unions, Gabon fairly enforces labor rights laws and regulations intended to protect individuals from adverse business impacts. However, Gabon has not effectively enforced consumer protection laws and regulations.

While Gabon is widely praised as a leader in environmental protection and has been praised as a positive example in Africa, pollution remains a problem and prosecution is weak and penalties lacking.

Gabon has not put in place corporate finance, accounting, and executive compensation standards to protect shareholders. There are no domestic measures requiring supply chain due diligence for companies that source minerals.

Gabonese authorities state that the government is committed to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) principles. Gabon was a candidate for the EITI beginning in 2007. By December 2012, Gabon was required to have completed an EITI validation that demonstrated compliance with the initiative’s rules. However, due to the non-respect of deadlines and the non-performance of Gabon’s National EITI Committee, the International Council of the EITI voted on February 27, 2013, to exclude Gabon from the application process. Under the current IMF program, Gabon rejoined the EITI on October 2021.

There is no information on national legislation regarding private security companies. Gabon is not a signatory of The Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies. Little information is available on the private security industry in Gabon. An estimate from 2015 nevertheless indicated that the sector in Gabon employs around 7,000 PSC personnel, indicating that it is a significant actor in the Gabonese security landscape.

9. Corruption

The Gabonese penal code criminalizes abuse of office, embezzlement, passive and active bribery, trading in influence, extortion, offering or accepting gifts, and other undue advantages in the public sector, yet enforcement remains limited and official impunity is a problem. Private sector corruption is criminalized whenever a given company is related to a public entity. Punishments for public officials found guilty of soliciting or accepting bribes include prison sentences ranging from two to 10 years, and a fine of CFA 5 million (USD $8,572). Corruption is rarely prosecuted in Gabon, except in limited high-profile cases. In 2020, Transparency International listed Gabon at 129 of 179 countries.

The government established the Commission to Combat Illicit Enrichment (CNLCEI) in 2004; however, in the summer of 2018, the CNLCEI’s five-year mandate was not renewed. Its regulations did not extend to the family members of civil servants or to political parties.

There are no known laws or regulations to counter conflicts of interest in awarding contracts or government procurement. There is no information about any action on the part of the government to encourage or require private companies to establish codes of conduct that prohibit the bribery of public officials. Some private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

Gabon is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and is a member of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa (Groupe daction contre le blanchiment dargent en Afrique Centrale, or GABAC). However, no international or regional watchdog organizations operate in Gabon. Local civil society lacks the capacity to play a significant role in highlighting cases of corruption.

Companies reportedly contend with a high risk of corruption when dealing with the Gabonese extractive industries. Gabon has vast oil, manganese, and timber resources; however, contracting and licensing processes lack transparency.

10. Political and Security Environment

Violence related to politics is relatively rare in Gabon. Elections, however, can lead to heightened tensions or violence.

While the 2018 legislative and local elections took place without major incident, violence did break out on August 31, 2016, after the National Electoral Commission announced that the incumbent ABO defeated his opponent Jean Ping in the presidential election by a margin of less than 2%. Protestors took to the streets, attempting to burn the National Assembly building. Non-governmental organizations stated the government’s use of excessive force to disperse demonstrators resulted in approximately 20 deaths and over 1000 arrests; the opposition claimed at least 50 people were killed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on Gabon’s economy since March 2020. Measures to contain cases included closing several economic sectors, which increased the unemployment rate, with around 12,500 Gabonese losing their jobs (Minister of Labor announcement, January 2021). The social tension was high in February 2021 when further restrictions were announced, including a 6PM to 5AM curfew; this led to peaceful protests, occasionally marked by riots, during which two people were killed in Libreville and Port-Gentil.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Gabon has a population of approximately 2.2 million; third country nationals (TCNs) make up roughly one-third of the population. Many young Gabonese are unable to acquire vocational skills and are thus excluded from the labor market. A report in October 2018 indicated that 60% of Gabonese under 30 are unemployed. This is due to the bad quality of the basic education system, insufficient output of technical and vocational training, and a lack of resources and effectiveness in the education sector.

Foreign firms report a shortage of highly skilled Gabonese labor. Chinese industrial companies, in particular, import the majority of their workers from China. Authorization from the Ministry of Labor is required to hire foreigners. Reforms adopted in 2010 in the education and research system represent a step towards developing service training and encouraging PPPs. For example, the Petroleum and Gas Institute, located in Port Gentil and supported by the Gabonese government and oil industry, has been training engineers specialized in oil-related technical areas since 2014.

The COVID 19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the devastating impact it has had on Gabon’s informal sector. According to the Directorate General of Taxes (DGI), a May 2017 International Monetary Fund (IMF) survey ranked Gabon as having the “most important” informal sector in Central Africa. It was ranked 33rd out of 37 countries with the informal sector representing between 40 and 50 percent of GDP. According to the results of surveys carried out in the field by DGI teams, of the 1,400 companies identified at the biggest African market of Libreville called Mont-Bouet market, 487 were operating in the informal sector. That meant that meant that none are registered by the Administration, nor do they pay taxes.

In 2011 the Gabonese Minister of Commerce estimated that 200,000 people work in the informal economy. The presence of the informal sector leads to losses of around 400 billion XAF on the state budget, he claimed.

When hiring workers, firms must give priority to Gabonese nationals. If no Gabonese worker with the appropriate qualifications can be found, a firm is expected to hire a Gabonese to work along with the foreigner and, within a reasonable time, the Gabonese worker should replace that foreigner.

Labor laws differentiate between layoffs and firing. There is no unemployment insurance or other social safety net program for workers laid off for economic reasons. However, the GSEZ is not subject to the same foreign labor restrictions as the rest of the country.

Collective bargaining is common in Gabon. Gabon’s French-inspired labor code recognizes the right of workers to form and join independent unions and bargain collectively, and prohibits antiunion discrimination. The government observes the resolution of labor disputes and takes an active interest in labor-management relations. Unions in each sector of the economy negotiate with employers overpay scales, working conditions, and benefits.

However, the right to strike is limited or restricted. Strikes may be called only after eight days’ advanced notice and only after arbitration fails. Public sector employees are not allowed to strike if public safety could be jeopardized. The law does not define essential services sectors in which workers are prohibited from striking. Nevertheless, public and private sector strikes are frequent and disruptive. From February-June 2018, Gabon court clerks were on strike, limiting the functions of the justice system. The civil servants in the financial authorities initiated strikes several times in the past few years, slowing customs processing and work done in the tax, custom, treasury, and hydrocarbons sectors.

The Gabonese government strictly enforces the labor code’s mandatory retirement age of 65.

Gabon has ratified most of the International Labor Organization (ILO) laws and conventions. There are no gaps in compliance in law or practice with international labor standards that may pose a reputational risk to investors.

A new Gabonese Labor Code is working its way through the legislative process. The draft reforms concern several key issues, including the strengthening of protections for workers’ rights, fighting against discrimination and eliminating gender inequalities, opening up the formal labor market to new categories of work and codifying telework. The new code should also improve the employability of young people and simplify work authorization procedures for large projects. It will affect trade union representative and other professional elections. It will also strengthen apprenticeship, which brings the world of vocational training closer to that of employment and promotes professional integration and retraining.

Ghana

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment 

8. Responsible Business Conduct 

There is no specific responsible business conduct (RBC) law in Ghana, and the government has no action plan regarding OECD RBC guidelines.

Ghana has been a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative since 2010.  The government also enrolled in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights in 2014.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is gaining more attention among Ghanaian companies.  The Ghana Club 100 is a ranking of the top performing companies, as determined by GIPC.  It is based on several criteria, with a 10 percent weight assigned to corporate social responsibility, including philanthropy.  Companies have noted that Ghanaian consumers are not generally interested in the CSR activities of private companies, with the exception of the extractive industries (whose CSR efforts seem to attract consumer, government, and media attention).  In particular, there is a widespread expectation that extractive sector companies will involve themselves in substantial philanthropic activities in the communities in which they have operations.

Guinea

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The 2013 Mining Code includes Guinea’s first legal framework outlining corporate social responsibility.  Under the provisions of the code, mining companies must submit social and environmental impact plans for approval before operations can begin and sign a code of good conduct, agreeing to refrain from corrupt activities and to follow the precepts of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).  However, lack of capacity in the various ministries involved makes government monitoring and enforcement of corporate social responsibility requirements difficult, a gap that some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are filling.  In February 2019, Guinea was found to have achieved meaningful progress in implementing EITI standards.  The EITI Board outlined eight corrective actions, including disclosing more information on infrastructure agreements, direct subnational payments, and quasi-fiscal expenditures.  The Board noted that the EITI should play a role in overseeing the new Local Economic Development Fund (FODEL).  Mining companies continue to note a lack of transparency in the expenditure of revenues by the National Agency for Mining Infrastructure (ANAIM).

The 2019 Environmental Code also has specific provisions regarding environmental and social due diligence on any development projects.  The Code requires each development project to conduct an environmental impact study which includes a list of mitigation measures for any negative impact.

Guinea has laws that protect the population from adverse business impacts however, these laws are not effectively enforced.  In the last few years, there were several cases of private enterprise having an adverse impact on human rights, especially in the mining and energy sectors.  The government is often reluctant to fully enforce legislation regarding responsible conduct and the mitigation of these impacts.  There are several local and international organizations that are promoting and monitoring the implementation of RBCs.  Guinea is not signatory of the Montreux document on Private Military and Security Companies.

9. Corruption

According to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index, Guinea lost 13 points and was ranked 150 out of 180 countries listed.

Guinea passed an Anti-Corruption Law in 2017, and in April 2019, a former director of the Guinean Office of Advertising was sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling GNF 39 billion (approximately USD four million), though in June 2019, he was acquitted by the Appeals Court and was elected a member of the National Assembly in March 2020.  It is not clear whether the Anti-Corruption Law was used to prosecute the case.  According to a 2019 Afrobarometer survey, at least 40 percent of Guineans reported having given a government official a bribe, while a 2016 World Bank Enterprise Survey reported that of 150 firms surveyed, 48.7 percent reported that they were expected to give “gifts” to public officials to get things done, but only 7.9 percent reported having paid a bribe.

The business and political culture, coupled with low salaries, have historically combined to promote and encourage corruption.  Requests for bribes are a common occurrence.  Though it is illegal to pay bribes in Guinea, there is little enforcement of these laws.  In practice, it is difficult and time-consuming to conduct business without giving “gifts” in Guinea, leaving U.S. companies, who must comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, at a disadvantage.

Although the law provides criminal penalties for corruption, the law does not extend to family members of government officials. It does include provisions for political parties.  According to the World Bank’s 2018 Worldwide Governance Indicators, corruption continues to remain a severe problem, and Guinea is in the 13th percentile, down from being in the 15th percentile in 2012.  Public funds have been diverted for private use or for illegitimate public uses, such as buying vehicles for government workers.  Land sales and business contracts generally lack transparency.

Guinea’s Anti-Corruption Agency (ANLC) is an autonomous agency established by presidential decree in 2004.  The ANLC reports directly to the President and is currently the only state agency focused solely on fighting corruption, though it has been largely ineffective in its role with no successful convictions.  The ANLC’s Bureau of Complaint Reception fields anonymous tips forwarded to the ANLC. Investigations and cases must then be prosecuted through criminal courts.  According to the ANLC, during the past year there were no prosecutions as a result of tips.  The agency is underfunded, understaffed, and lacks computers and vehicles.  The ANLC is comprised of 52 employees in seven field offices, with a budget of USD 1.1 million in 2018.

Former President Conde’s administration named corruption in both the governmental and commercial spheres as one of its top agenda items.  In November 2019, Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria, and President Alpha Conde reached an agreement through which the Commission will assist Guinea to establish an anti-corruption agency; however, it is not clear if that meant reforming the existing anti-corruption agency or establishing a new anti-corruption agency.

In January 2021, Beny Steinmetz, an Israeli businessman and billionaire was sentenced to five years in jail in Geneva for bribing the wife of Guinea’s late President Lansana Conté to gain the rights to one of the world’s richest iron-ore deposits.  He was also ordered to pay a 50 million Swiss franc (USD 56 million) fine.  Steinmetz has long claimed to be a victim of a vast international conspiracy to deprive him of the rights to the Simandou project.  He plans to appeal his case.

Transition President COL Doumbouya created the Court to Repress Economic and Financial Crimes (CRIEF) to handle cases involving embezzlement, corruption, and misuse of public funds over one billion GNF (approximately $110,000) in December 2021.  As of April 2022, the court has focused on collecting evidence for corruption cases against businesses tied to and officials that served in former President Conde’s government.

 

A 2016 survey by the ANLC, the Open Society Initiative-West Africa (OSIWA), and Transparency International found that among private households, 61 percent of the respondents stated they were asked to pay a bribe for national services and 24 percent for local services.  Furthermore, 24 percent claimed to have paid traffic-related bribes to police, 24 percent for better medical treatment, 19 percent for better water or electricity services, and 8 percent for better judicial treatment.

Guinea is a party to the UN Anticorruption Convention.  http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/signatories.html

Guinea is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery.  http://www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/countryreportsontheimplementationoftheoecdanti-briberyconvention.htm

Since 2012, Guinea has had a Code for Public Procurement (Code de Marches Publics et Delegations de Service Public) that provides regulations for countering conflicts of interest in awarding contracts or in government procurements.  In 2016, the government issued a Transparency and Ethics charter for public procurement that provides the main do’s and don’ts in public procurement, highlighting avoidance of conflict of interest as a priority.  The charter also includes a template letter that companies must sign when bidding for public contracts stating that they will comply with local legislation and public procurement provisions, including practices to prevent corruption.

Since April 2020, Government of Guinea officials and family must complete the asset declaration form which is available on the Court of Audit website.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at the government agency or agencies that are responsible for combating corruption:

National Agency to Fight Corruption (ANLC)
Cite des Nations, Villa 20, Conakry, Guinea
Korak Bailo Sow, Permanent Secretary
+224 622 411 796
ddiallo556@gmail.com
+224 620 647 878
cc@anlcgn.org

Contact at a “watchdog” organization:

Transparency International
Dakar, Senegal
+221-33-842-40-44
forumcivil@orange.sn  

Guinea Association for Transparency
Oumar Kanah Diallo, President
+224 622 404 142
okandiallo77@gmail.com
agtguinee224@gmail.com 

10. Political and Security Environment

Guinea has had a long history of political repression, with more recent episodes of politically-motivated violence around elections.  The country suffered under authoritarian rule from independence in 1958 until its first democratic presidential election in 2010.  It has seen continued political violence associated with national and local elections since 2010, culminating in the most recent September 2021 coup d’etat.

On September 5, 2021 Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya and Guinean military special forces seized power and detained former President Alpha Conde through a coup d’état.  COL Doumbouya declared himself Guinea’s head of state, dissolved the government and National Assembly and suspended the constitution.  Guinea is currently governed by the National Committee for Reunification and Development (CNRD), which is led by COL Doumbouya and comprised primarily of military officials.  On September 27, 2021 COL Doumbouya released the Transitional Charter which supersedes the constitution until a new Constitution is promulgated; Guinea’s penal and civil codes remains in force.  On October 1, 2021 the Supreme Court Justice installed COL Doumbouya as Head of State, Transition President, CNRD President, and Commander-in-Chief of Security Forces.  On January 22, 2022 the National Transition Council, the transition government’s legislative body, was installed but no timeline for future elections or return to civilian rule was provided as of April 2022.

In March 2020, the former Conde administration amended the constitution through a referendum that allowed former President Conde to seek a third term in office.  Observers noted the process was not transparent, inclusive, or consultative.  Major opposition parties boycotted the referendum and accompanying legislative elections.  This resulted in resetting presidential term limits and the ruling party, the Rally for the Guinean People, gaining a super majority in the National Assembly.  Domestic and international observers raised concerns regarding widespread violence and voting irregularities in the legislative elections, including closed and ransacked polling stations.

In October 2020 President Alpha Conde ran for reelection for a third term under the new constitution.  International and domestic observers raised concerns about widespread electoral violence, restrictions on freedom of assembly, the lack of transparency in vote tabulation, and inconsistencies between the announced results and tally sheet results from polling stations.  Violent protests during both elections closed businesses in major population centers, resulted in about 150 deaths, and the arbitrary detention of hundreds of people including several prominent opposition figures.  Political intimidation and arbitrary detention of opposition members continued for several months after the election.

The local populace in Boke, Bel-Air, and Sangaredi disrupted road and/or railroad traffic on at least three occasions in 2017 and at least twice in 2018, in response to grievances over employment, lack of services, and other issues.  Although none of these events targeted American or foreign investors, they were disruptive to business in general and eroded confidence in the security situation under which investors must operate in Guinea.  Street violence is difficult to predict or avoid, but generally does not target westerners.

Presidential elections in 2015 sparked violent protests in Conakry, but clashes between police and demonstrators were largely contained.  In addition to political violence, sporadic and generally peaceful protests over fuel prices, lack of electricity, labor disputes, and other issues have occurred in the capital and sometimes beyond since 2013.  In February 2017, seven civilians died in confrontations with security services during large protests against education reforms.  After two days of violent protests in March 2018, teachers’ unions and the government agreed to a raise of 40 percent.  These protests over teacher union pay became intermingled with political protests over voting irregularities in the February 4 local elections.  The political opposition claims the government is responsible for the deaths of over 90 people during political protests over the past eight years.

Other instances of violence occurred in 2014 and 2015 during the Ebola epidemic when local citizens attacked the vehicles and facilities of aid workers.  The Red Cross, MSF (Doctors Without Borders) and the World Health Organization (WHO) also reported cases of property damage (destroyed vehicles, ransacked warehouses, etc.).  On September 16, 2014, in the Forest Region village of Womei, eight people were killed by a mob when they visited the village as part of an Ebola education campaign. The casualties included radio journalists, local officials, and Guinean health care workers.

The small mining town of Zogota, located in Guinea’s Forest Region, saw the deaths of five villagers, including the village chief, during August 2012 clashes with security forces over claims that the Brazilian iron-mining company Vale was not hiring enough local employees and was instead bringing workers from other regions of Guinea.  The ensuing instability led to Vale evacuating all expatriate personnel from the town.

Following the death of President Lansana Conte on December 22, 2008, a military junta calling themselves the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) took power in a bloodless coup.  Immediately following the coup, the U.S. government suspended all but humanitarian and election assistance to Guinea.  The African Union (AU) and ECOWAS suspended Guinea’s membership pending democratic elections and a relinquishment of power by the military junta.  In September 2009, junta security forces attacked a political rally in a stadium in Conakry, killing 150 people, and raping over a hundred women.

The state had persecuted political dissidents and opposition parties for decades.  The Sekou Toure regime (1958-1984) and the Lansana Conte regime (1984-2008) were marked by political violence and human rights abuses.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Guinea has a young population and a high unemployment rate.  Potential employees often lack specialized skills.  The country has a poor educational system and lacks professionals in all sectors of the economy. Guinea has deficits in specialized skills needed for large-scale projects of any kind.

According to a 2019 World Bank report on “Employment, productivity and inclusion of youth”, in 2017 Guinea’s economy was based on services (49 percent of GDP), mining and industry (37 percent) and agriculture (10 percent).  The tendencies show that employment in Guinea is like other countries in the region, with a high level of employment in the informal sector.  According to the 2018 World Bank Development Indicators, approximately 65 percent of Guineans above 15 years old, (56 percent males and 44 percent females) were employed in the formal or informal sectors.  Of those employed, 52 percent were working in agricultural sector, 34 percent in commerce, and 14 percent in industry and manufacturing.

In March 2020, the National Assembly revised the Children’s Code to increase protections and rights afforded to minors.  The new code provides increased penalties for offenses that expose children to violence, sexuality, the display or dissemination of obscene images, and messages not intended for children.  The new code also increases penalties relating to child labor, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and the fight against child pornography.  Under the new code children between the ages of 12 and 14 can perform light work, which does not meet international standards, as it applies to children under age 13.  In addition, the new code does not prescribe the number of hours per week permitted for light work, nor does it specify the conditions under which light work may be done. Moreover, these laws only apply to workers with written employment contracts, leaving self-employed children and children working outside of formal employment relationships vulnerable to exploitation.

Guinea’s National Assembly adopted a new labor code in February 2014 which protects the rights of employees and is enforced by the Ministry of Technical Education, Vocational Training, Employment and Labor.  The Labor Code sets forth guidelines in various sectors, the most stringent being the mining sector.  Guidelines cover wages, holidays, work schedules, overtime pay, vacation, and sick leave.  The Labor Code also outlaws all discrimination in hiring, including on the basis of sex, disability, and ethnicity.  It also prohibits all forms of workplace harassment, including sexual harassment.  However, the law does not provide antidiscrimination protections for persons based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Although the law provides for the rights of workers to organize and join independent unions, engage in strikes, and bargain collectively, the law also places restrictions on the free exercise of these rights.  The Labor Code requires unions to obtain the support of 20 percent of the workers in a company, region, or trade that the union claims to represent.  The code mandates that unions provide ten days’ notice to the labor ministry before striking, but the code does allow work slowdowns. Strikes are only permitted for professional claims.  The Labor Code does not apply to government workers or members of the armed forces.  While the Labor Code protects union officials from anti-union discrimination, it does not extend that same protection to other workers.

The law prohibits child labor in the formal sector and sets forth penalties of three to ten years imprisonment and confiscation of resulting profits.  The law does not protect children in the informal sector.  The minimum age for employment is 16.  Exceptions allow children to work at age twelve as apprentices for light work in such sectors as domestic service and agriculture, and at 14 for other work.  A new child code was adopted at the National Assembly in December 2019, though it was never enacted by former President Conde.  The new child code provides more severe sentences for violations related to child labor.

The Labor Code allows the government to set a minimum monthly wage through the Consultative Commission for Labor and Social Laws.  The minimum wage for all sectors was established in 2013 at 440,000 GNF (approximately USD 50).  There is no known official poverty income level established by the government.

The law mandates that regular work should not exceed ten-hour days or 48-hour weeks, and it mandates a period of at least 24 consecutive hours of rest each week, usually on Sunday.  Every salaried worker has the legal right to an annual paid vacation, accumulated at the rate of at least two workdays per month of work.  There also are provisions in the law for overtime and night wages, which are a fixed percentage of the regular wage.  The law stipulates a maximum of 100 hours of compulsory overtime a year.

The law contains general provisions regarding occupational safety and health, but neither former President Conde’s government nor the transition government have established a set of practical workplace health and safety standards.  Moreover, no orders have been issued laying out the specific safety requirements for certain occupations or for certain methods of work called for in the Labor Code.  All workers, foreign and migrant included, have the right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions without penalty.

Authorities rarely monitor work practices or enforced the workweek standards and the overtime rules.  Teachers’ wages are low, and teachers sometimes have gone for months without pay.  When salary arrears are not paid, some teachers live in abject poverty.  From 2016-2018, teachers conducted regular strikes and as a result and were promised a 40 percent increase in pay.  Initially they received only ten percent, but in March 2018, the government began to pay the remaining 30 percent.  In February 2019, the teacher’s union accepted the government proposal at the time and returned to work.  In January 2020, the teachers started an indefinite strike demanding higher wages and the re-running of a census of currently employed teachers.  As of end of March 2020, the teachers’ strike was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite legal protection against working in unsafe conditions, many workers feared retaliation and did not exercise their right to refuse to work under unsafe conditions.  Accidents in unsafe working conditions remain common.  The government banned artisanal mining during the rainy season to prevent deaths from mudslides, but the practice continues.

Pursuant to the Labor Code, any person is considered a worker, regardless of gender or nationality, who is engaged in any occupational activity in return for remuneration, under the direction and authority of another individual or entity, whether public or private, secular, or religious.  In accordance with this code, forced or compulsory labor means any work or services extracted from an individual under threat of a penalty and for which the individual concerned has not offered himself willingly.

A contract of employment is a contract under which a person agrees to be at the disposal and under the direction of another person in return for remuneration.  The contract may be agreed upon for an indefinite or a fixed term and may only be agreed upon by individuals of at least 16 years of age, although minors under the age of 16 may be contracted only with the authorization of the minor’s parent or guardian.  An unjustified dismissal provides the employee the right to receive compensation from the employer in an amount equal to at least six months’ salary with the last gross wage paid to the employee being used as the basis for calculating the compensation due.

The Investment Code obliges new companies to prioritize hiring local employees and provide capacity training and promotion opportunities for Guineans, a sentiment echoed by public remarks from Transition President COL Doumbouya and other members of the transition government.

Kenya

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The Environmental Management and Coordination Act (1999) establishes a legal and institutional framework for responsible environment management, while the Factories Act (1951) safeguards labor rights in industries.  The Mining Act (2016) directs holders of mineral rights to develop comprehensive community development agreements that ensure socially responsible investment and resource extraction and establish preferential hiring standards for residents of nearby communities.  The legal system, however, has remained slow to prosecute violations of these policies.

The GOK is not a signatory to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct, and it is not yet an Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) implementing country or a Voluntary Principles Initiative signatory.  Nonetheless, good examples of corporate social responsibility (CSR) abound as major foreign enterprises drive CSR efforts by applying international standards relating to human rights, business ethics, environmental policies, community development, and corporate governance.

9. Corruption

Corruption is pervasive and entrenched in Kenya and international corruption rankings reflect its modest progress over the last decade.  The Transparency International (TI) 2021 Global Corruption Perception Index ranked Kenya 128 out of 180 countries, its second-best ranking, and a marked improvement from its 2011 rank of 145 out of 176.  Kenya’s score of 30, however, remained below the global average of 43 and below the sub-Saharan Africa average of 33.  TI cited lack of political will, limited progress in prosecuting corruption cases, and the slow pace of reform in key sectors as the primary drivers of Kenya’s relatively low ranking.  Corruption has been an impediment to FDI, with local media reporting allegations of high-level corruption related to health, energy, ICT, and infrastructure contracts.  Numerous reports have alleged that corruption influenced the outcome of government tenders, and some U.S. firms assert that compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act significantly undermines their chances of winning public procurements.

In 2018, President Kenyatta began a public campaign against corruption.  While GOK agencies mandated to fight corruption have been inconsistent in coordinating activities, particularly regarding cases against senior officials, cabinet, and other senior-level arrests in 2019 and 2020 suggested a renewed commitment by the GOK to fight corruption.  In 2020, the judiciary convicted a member of parliament to 67 years in jail or a fine of KES 707 million (approximately USD 7 million) for defrauding the government of KES 297 million (approximately USD 2.9 million).  The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), in 2019, secured 44 corruption-related convictions, the highest number of convictions in a single year in Kenya’s history.  The EACC also recovered assets totaling more than USD 28 million in 2019 – more than the previous five years combined.  Despite these efforts, much work remains to battle corruption in Kenya.

Relevant legislation and regulations include the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act (2003), the Public Officers Ethics Act (2003), the Code of Ethics Act for Public Servants (2004), the Public Procurement and Disposal Act (2010), the Leadership and Integrity Act (2012), and the Bribery Act (2016).  The Access to Information Act (2016) also provides mechanisms through which private citizens can obtain information on government activities; however, government agencies’ compliance with this act remains inconsistent.  The EACC monitors and enforces compliance with the above legislation.

The Leadership and Integrity Act (2012) requires public officers to register potential conflicts of interest with the relevant commissions.  The law identifies interests that public officials must register, including directorships in public or private companies, remunerated employment, securities holdings, and contracts for supply of goods or services, among others.  The law requires candidates seeking appointment to non-elective public offices to declare their wealth, political affiliations, and relationships with other senior public officers.  This requirement is in addition to background screening on education, tax compliance, leadership, and integrity.

The law requires that all public officials, and their spouses and dependent children under age 18, declare their income, assets, and liabilities every two years.  Information contained in these declarations is not publicly available, and requests to obtain and publish this information must be approved by the relevant commission.  Any person who publishes or makes public information contained in a public officer’s declarations without permission may be subject to fine or imprisonment.

The Access to Information Act (2016) requires government entities, and private entities doing business with the government, to proactively disclose certain information, such as government contracts, and comply with citizens’ requests for government information.  The act also provides a mechanism to request a review of the government’s failure to disclose requested information, along with penalties for failures to disclose.  The act exempts certain information from disclosure on grounds of national security.  However, the GOK has yet to issue the act’s implementing regulations and compliance remains inconsistent.

The private sector-supported Bribery Act (2016) stiffened penalties for corruption in public tendering and requires private firms participating in such tenders to sign a code of ethics and develop measures to prevent bribery.  Both the constitution and the Access to Information Act (2016) provide protections to NGOs, investigative journalism, and individuals involved in investigating corruption.  The Witness Protection Act (2006) establishes protections for witnesses in criminal cases and created an independent Witness Protection Agency.  A draft Whistleblowers Protection Bill has been stalled in Parliament since 2016.

President Kenyatta directed government ministries, departments, and agencies to publish all information related to government procurement to enhance transparency and combat corruption.  While compliance is improving, it is not yet universal.  The information is published online (https://tenders.go.ke/website/contracts/Index).

Kenya is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and in 2016 published the results of a peer review process on UNCAC compliance:  (https://www.unodc.org/documents/treaties/UNCAC/CountryVisitFinalReports/2015_09_28_Kenya_Final_Country_Report.pdf).  Kenya is also a signatory to the UN Anticorruption Convention and the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery, and a member of the Open Government Partnership.  Kenya is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.  Kenya is also a signatory to the East African Community’s Protocol on Preventing and Combating Corruption.

10. Political and Security Environment

Kenya’s 2017 national election was marred by violence, which claimed the lives of nearly 100 Kenyans, a contentious political atmosphere, which pitted the ruling Jubilee Party against the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA), as well as political interference and attacks on key institutions by both sides.  In November 2017, the Kenyan Supreme Court unanimously upheld the October 2017 repeat presidential election results and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in an election boycotted by NASA leader Raila Odinga.  In March 2018, President Kenyatta and Odinga publicly shook hands and pledged to work together to heal the political, social, and economic divides highlighted by the election.  The GOK, civil society actors, private sector, and religious leaders are implementing a number of initiatives to promote peace in advance of the next national election in August 2022.

The United States’ Travel Advisory for Kenya advises U.S. citizens to exercise increased caution due to the threat of crime and terrorism, and not to travel to counties bordering Somalia and to certain coastal areas due to terrorism.  Due to the high risk of crime, it is common for private businesses and residences to have 24-hour guard services and well-fortified property perimeters.

Instability in Somalia has heightened concerns of terrorist attacks, leading businesses and public institutions nationwide to increase their security measures.  Tensions flare occasionally within and between ethnic communities in Kenya.  Regional conflict, most notably in Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan, sometimes have spill-over effects in Kenya.  There could be an increase in refugees entering Kenya due to drought and instability in neighboring countries, adding to the already large refugee population in the country.

Kenya and its neighbors are working together to mitigate threats of terrorism and insecurity through African-led initiatives such as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Eastern African Standby Force (EASF).  Despite attacks against Kenyan forces in Kenya and Somalia, the Government of Kenya has maintained its commitment to promoting peace and stability in Somalia.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

In 2021, Kenya’s employed labor force was recorded at 17.4 million.  Kenya’s informal economy is estimated to employ about 80 percent of the work force and to contribute 34 percent to Kenya’s gross domestic product.  Informal enterprises are mainly run by women, have low levels of innovation, lack social security coverage, job security, and low levels of unionization.  Kenya’s constitution mandates that no gender hold more than two-thirds of any positions in all elective or appointive bodies.  Gender balance and regional inclusivity are key facets of public appointments.  The Government of Kenya has not, however, ensured regional inclusivity in its appointments and public service human capital reports show dominant regional communities in appointments.  The gender mandate is not mandatory for private sector companies.  The private sector, however, has been instrumental in advancing gender balance in its work force composition.  NSE-listed companies have 36 percent female board representations.

The Government of Kenya mandates local employment in the category of unskilled labor.  The Kenyan government regularly issues permit for key senior managers and personnel with special skills not available locally.  For other skilled labor, any enterprise, whether local or foreign, may recruit from outside if the required skills are not available in Kenya.  However, firms seeking to hire expatriates must demonstrate that they conducted an exhaustive search to find persons with the requisite skills in Kenya and were unable to find any such persons.  The Ministry of EAC and Regional Development, however, has noted plans to replace this requirement with an official inventory of skills that are not available in Kenya.  A work permit can cost up to KES 400,000 (approximately USD 4,000).

Kenya has one of the highest literacy rates in the region at 90 percent.  Investors have access to a large pool of highly qualified professionals in diverse sectors from a working population of over 47.5 percent out of a population of 47.6 million people.  Expatriates are permitted to work in Kenya provided they have a work (entry) permit issued under the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act (2011).  In December 2018, the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary issued a directive requiring foreign nationals to apply for their work permits prior to entering Kenya and to confirm that the skill they will provide is unavailable in Kenyan via the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection’s Kenya Labor Market Information System (KLMIS).  KLMIS provides information regarding demand, supply, and skills available in Kenya’s labor market (https://www.labourmarket.go.ke/labour/supply/).  Work permits are usually granted to foreign enterprises approved to operate in Kenya as long as the applicants are key personnel.  In 2015, the Directorate of Immigration Services (DIS) expanded the list of requirements to qualify for work permits and special passes.  Issuance of a work permit now requires an assured income of at least USD 24,000 annually or documented proof of capital of a minimum of USD 100,000 for investors.  Exemptions are available, however, for firms in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, or consulting sectors with a special permit.  International companies have complained that the visa and work permit approval process is slow, and some officials request bribes to speed the process.  Since 2018, the DIS has more stringently applied regulations regarding the issuance of work permits.  As a result, delayed or rejected work permit applications have become one of the most significant challenges for foreign companies in Kenya.

A company holding an investment certificate granted by registering with KenInvest and passing health, safety, and environmental inspections becomes automatically eligible for three class D work (entry) permits for management or technical staff and three class G, I, or J work permits for owners, shareholders, or partners.  More information on permit classes can be found at https://kenya.eregulations.org/menu/61?l=en.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), in 2019, the formal sector, excluding agriculture, employed 18.1 million people, with nominal average earnings of KES 778,248 (USD 7,780) per person per annum.  Kenya has the highest rate of youth joblessness in East Africa.  According to the 2019 census data, 5,341,182 or 38.9 percent of the 13,777,600 youths eligible to work are jobless.  Employment in Kenya’s formal sector was 2.9 million in 2019 up from 2.8 million in 2018.  The government is the largest employer in the formal sector, with an estimated 865,200 government workers in 2019.  In the private sector, agriculture, forestry, and fishing employed 296,700 workers while manufacturing employed 329,000 workers.  However, Kenya’s large informal sector – consisting of approximately 80 percent of the labor force – makes accurate labor reporting difficult.

The GOK has instituted different programs to link and create employment opportunities for the youth, published weekly in GOK’s “MyGov” newspaper insert.  Other measures include the establishment of the National Employment Authority which hosts the National Employment Authority Integrated Management System website that provides public employment service by listing vacancies ( https://neaims.go.ke/).  The Kenya Labour Market Information System (KLMIS) portal (https://www.labourmarket.go.ke/), run by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection in collaboration with the labor stakeholders, is a one-stop shop for labor information in the country.  The site seeks to help address the challenge of inadequate supply of crucial employment statistics in Kenya by providing an interactive platform for prospective employers and job seekers.  Both local and foreign employers are required to register with National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) within 30 days of operating.  There are no known material compliance gaps in either law or practice with international labor standards that would be expected to pose a reputational risk to investors.  The International Labor Organization has not identified any material gaps in Kenya’s labor law or practice with international labor standards.  Kenya’s labor laws comply, for the most part, with internationally recognized standards and conventions, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection is currently reviewing and ensuring that Kenya’s labor laws are consistent with the constitution.  The Labor Relations Act (2007) provides that workers, including those in export processing zones, are free to form and join unions of their choice.

Collective bargaining is common in the formal sector but there is no data on the percentage of the economy covered by collective bargaining agreements (CBA).  However, in 2019 263 CBAs were registered in the labor relations court with the Wholesale and Retail trade sector recording the most, at 88.  The law permits workers in collective bargaining disputes to strike but requires the exhaustion of formal conciliation procedures and seven days’ notice to both the government and the employer.  Anti-union discrimination is prohibited, and the government does not have a history of retaliating against striking workers.  The law provides for equal pay for equal work.  Regulation of wages is part of the Labor Institutions Act (2014), and the government has established basic minimum wages by occupation and location.

The GOK has a growing trade relationship with the United States under the AGOA framework which requires compliance with labor standards.  The Ministry of Labor is reviewing its labor laws to align with international standards as labor is also a chapter in the Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the U.S.  In 2019, the government continued efforts with dozens of partner agencies to implement a range of programs for the elimination of child and forced labor.  However, low salaries, insufficient resources, and attrition from retirement of labor inspectors are significant challenges to effective enforcement.  Employers in all sectors routinely bribe labor inspectors to prevent them from reporting infractions, especially regarding child labor violations.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (USD) 2020 $96.01 billion 2019 $101.01 billion https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.
MKTP.CD?locations=KE
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2019 $353 M BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2019 $-16 M BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2019 1.2% 2020 0.1% https://unctad.org/webflyer/world-investment-report-2021

*Host Country Statistical Source: Central Bank of Kenya, Foreign Investment Survey 2020  

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Data not available.

Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment
Data not available.

Lesotho

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

In Lesotho, responsible business conduct (RBC) is understood as technical business culture which adheres to environmental, social and governance principles that improve the ease of doing business, levels the playing field and manages risk to attract and keep investors. There is a general awareness of RBC and corporate social responsibility among both producers and consumers.  The government maintains and enforces domestic laws with respect to labor and employment rights, consumer protections, and environmental protections.  Labor laws and regulations are rarely waived in order to attract investment, and the government does not compromise on environmental laws.

The Government of Lesotho through the LNDC (which is the Government of Lesotho’s Investment Promotion Agency) subscribes and implements globally accepted due diligence standards as prescribed by the OECD as well as UNCTAD. The government through the assistance of UNCTAD reviewed Lesotho Investment Policy of 2003 and has developed the Investment Policy of 2016. Foreign and local enterprises tend to follow generally accepted corporate social responsibility principles such as those contained in OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.  Firms that pursue CSR are viewed favorably by society, but CSR does not necessarily provide any advantages in dealing with the government.

The country has limited tools to protect human rights, labor rights, consumer rights and the environment. The Labor Court has been established to address labor issues. The Consumer Protection Unit is established under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. However, the offices of this unit are only available in one district. The country is yet to establish Human Rights Commission and the Tribunal on Environment matters.

The Lesotho Companies Act of 2011 provides for standard and adaptable requirements for incorporation, organization, operation, and liquidation of companies to encourage efficient and responsible management of companies to protect shareholders and other key stakeholders. Furthermore, the government has assisted the Lesotho Institute of Directors (IoD) in the development of the Mohlomi Corporate Governance Code sponsored by the African Development Bank (ADB). The code was launched in September 2021. This code will provide universal best practices guidance for good corporate governance for Lesotho.

The IoD promotes and monitors responsible business conduct. The local NGO, the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC), also monitors and advocates for responsible business conduct.

Although Lesotho has an extractive/mining industry, it does not participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), since it does not extract/produce any of the minerals supported through the initiative.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices;

Trafficking in Persons Report;

Guidance on Implementing the “UN Guiding Principles” for Transactions Linked to Foreign Government End-Users for Products or Services with Surveillance Capabilities;

U.S. National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises; and;

Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory

Department of the Treasury

OFAC Recent Actions

Department of Labor

Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor Report;

List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor;

Sweat & Toil: Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking Around the World and;

Comply Chain

Climate Issues

The Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho (GOKL) has a climate Change Strategy. In 2018, the governemnt prepared the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) which sets a 35 % reduction target in Green House Gases (GHG) emission by 2030. The private sector is expected to reduce net GHG emissions by 10% by 2030. The GOKL developed its National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) 2017-2027 to preserve biodiversity. Lesotho’s procurement policies do not include environmental or green growth considerations.

9. Corruption

Lesotho’s Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) is mandated to prevent and to combat corruption.  The country has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption of public officials.  Parliament passed anticorruption legislation in 1999 that provides criminal penalties for official corruption.  The DCEO is the primary anticorruption organ and investigates corruption complaints against public sector officials.  The Amendment of Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 2006 enacted the first financial disclosure laws for public officials.  On February 5, 2016, the government issued regulations to initiate implementation of the financial disclosure laws for public officials who must file their declarations annually by April 30.  The law may also be applied to private citizens if deemed necessary by the DCEO.  The law prohibits direct or indirect bribery of public officials, including payments to family members of officials and political parties.  On June 25, 2020, the parliament passed the amendment on Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 2006, which will allow the DCEO to investigate money laundering issues beyond national boundaries. This amendment provides the DCEO with the power to work together with similar institutions from other countries in combating corruption.

The Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act of 2008 (amended in 2017) and Public Financial Management and Accountability Act of 2011 serve as additional anti-corruption laws.  The Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act (section 14 (1)) and Public Procurement Regulations of 2007 have provisions that address conflicts-of-interest in awarding government procurement contracts.  Section 6 (g) (h) (i) of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 1999 encourages private companies to develop internal controls to prevent corruption.  Corruption is most pervasive in government procurement, awarding licenses, and customs fraud.

While the GOKL has made significant efforts to implement its laws, many officials continue to engage in corruption with impunity.  The DCEO claims it cannot effectively undertake its mission because it lacks adequate resources. The country does not have instruments to protect NGOs investigating corruption. Corruption is pervasive in government procurement, provision of licenses, work permits, and residence permits. The 2020 Afrobarometer survey reflected increasing perceptions of government official corruption from 28% in 2017 to 46% in 2020. The study also showed increasing perception of members of parliament corruption increasing from 22% in 2017 to 45% in 2020.

To prevent corruption and economic offences, the DCEO encourages companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials.  Many companies have effective internal controls, ethics, and programs to detect and prevent bribery.

No U.S. firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to foreign direct investment in Lesotho.  Giving or accepting a bribe is a criminal act under the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 2006, the penalty for which is a minimum of 10,000 maloti (USD 667) or 10 years imprisonment.  Local companies cannot deduct a bribe to a foreign official from taxes.

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery

Lesotho acceded to the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2005, but it is not yet a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.  Lesotho acceded to the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption in 2003.  The country is also a member of the Southern African Development Community Protocol against corruption, the Southern African Forum against corruption, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG).

10. Political and Security Environment

Since 2012, Lesotho has been governed through coalition governments which did not last beyond three years resulting in snap elections.  In April 2020, the National Assembly passed the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution which curtailed the Prime Minister’s power to call snap elections. (Note: The constitution states that elections should be held every five years and the next elections are scheduled for October 2022. End Note.) The impulsion of the main political party in the current coalition has left the National Assembly increasingly polarized, and the political environment is very unpredictable.

On May 14, 2021, textiles factory workers country-wide engaged on a massive violent protest which claimed two lives. They blocked roads and vandalized the buildings to put pressure on the government to publish 2020 and 2021 gazettes. The workers requested wages to be increased by 20 percent while employers offered to provide an increase between 3 and 5 percent. On June 7, the workers ended their three weeks protest following Lesotho Textile Exporter’s Association (LTEA) letter of June 4 to the trade unions which warned workers would be dismissed for participating in an illegal protest. On June 16, the government published a gazette on minimum wage increase reflecting 14 percent increment for the textiles workers and 9 percent for other private sector workers for the 2021/22 financial year. The increment was implemented with effect on July 1.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Lesotho’s 2019 Labor Force Survey reflected official unemployment rate as 22.5 percent and youth unemployment at 29.1 percent. The report reflected the formal sector represented 41.1 percent of the of the total employment while the informal sector and household sector represented 40.5 percent and 18.4 percent, respectively. Males constituted 52.8 percent of those employed while females constituted 47.2 percent. About 77.3 percent of international migrant workers were females working in elementary occupations. The report reflected most international migrants were from South Africa, followed by Zimbabwe and China.

Lesotho has embarked on its first Critical Skills Assessment survey to determine skills surplus and shortage. The results of the survey will be released in June. The data from the Ministry of Labor and Employment reflected engineers, doctors, and academia represented scarce skills while lawyers, teachers, nurses, and business administrators are considered to be surplus skills.

The IMF estimated the informal economy comprises of 30 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Informal sector constitutes companies that are not registered and do not pay taxes. The informal economy is characterized by labor standards deficits. There are no employment contracts or formal relationships. The government has not enforced the formal registration of these businesses.

Collective bargaining is not yet a commonly practiced phenomenon. In the private sector, there are very few trade unions and even where they exist the law does not require that collective bargaining agreements should be registered. The majority of active unions are in the textile and manufacturing sector however, they do not have the capacity to bargain with employers.

To address this shortfall, the Ministry has included legal provisions relating to the establishment of bargaining councils in the Labor Code Draft Bill section 135.

During the reporting period the textiles factory workers and nurses embarked on strikes. Issues of gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) were reported in one textile factory. The Ministry of Labor together with social partners have decided to ratify the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 190 on gender-based violence and harassment as a first step towards ensuring that frameworks are reviewed to adequately address GBV in the workplace.

The International Labor Organization has identified gaps in the following international labor standards:

ILO Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention No. 87: the ILO requested the Public Service Act to be amended to ensure public officers can establish and join federations and confederations and affiliate with international organizations.

ILO Convention on Minimum Age No. 132 requires member states to set completion of free and compulsory primary education at 15 years in line with the minimum age into employment to close the gap between minimum age of employment and completion of primary education. In Lesotho, the completion of primary education is at 13 years of age.

The Labor Code Order of 1992 and the Constitution of 1993 require hiring of citizens; however, non-citizens can be hired with a work permit. The Labor Code No. 24 of 1992 Section 79 (2) only puts a restriction on employees who have been fairly dismissed for misconduct that they are not entitled to claim for payment of severance upon termination of their contract of employment. Furthermore, the Labor Code (Code of Good Practice) Notice, 2003 provides for fair dismissals and grounds that may warrant for dismissals and layoffs.

In Lesotho there are currently no economic zones; however, the law permits waivers in order to attract investment. The law provides for freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively.

The country has various labor dispute resolution mechanisms in place.  This includes both formal and informal mechanisms.  LNDC is one key institution that deals with labor disputes.  For example, LNDC intervenes in strikes and tries to reconcile workers and employers.  When this informal process fails, the more formal process of the Directorate of Dispute Prevention & Resolution (DDPR) can be engaged which can consist of conciliation and arbitration.  The Labor Code Amendment Act of 2000 established the DDPR, which serves as a semi-autonomous labor tribunal independent of the government, political parties, trade unions, and employers and employer organizations.  The Labor Court and the Labor Court of Appeal are the key judiciary entities dealing with labor disputes. The Labor Court reviews the decisions of the DDPR while the Labor Appeal Court reviews the decisions of the Labor Court.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2019 $2,486 2020 $1,880 www.worldbank.org/en/country
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2021 $1,430 2020 $3 BEA data available at https://apps.bea.gov/international/
factsheet/
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/
direct-investment-and-multinational-
enterprises-comprehensive-data
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2018 32.7 2020 19.9 UNCTAD data available at

https://unctad.org/topic/investment/
world-investment-report
  

* Source for Host Country Data: Central Bank of Lesotho

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Data not available.

Liberia

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Liberian authorities have not clearly defined responsible business conduct (RBC). The Liberian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, includes RBC requirements in policies such as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Strategy (2020-2030), the National Climate Change Response Strategy (2018), and the National Adaptation Plan (2020-2030).   Foreign companies are encouraged, but not required, to publicly disclose their policies, procedures, and practices to highlight their RBC practices.

Some non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), and workers organizations/unions promote or monitor foreign company RBC policies and practices. However, NGOs and CSOs monitoring or advocating for RBC do not conduct their activities in a structured and coordinated manner, nor do they tend to monitor locally owned companies.

Most Liberians are generally unaware of RBC standards.  Generally, the government expects foreign investors to offer social services to local communities and contribute to a government-controlled social development fund for the area in which the enterprise conducts its business. Some communities complain that these contributions to social development funds do not reach them.  The government frequently includes clauses in concession agreements that oblige investors to provide social services such as educational facilities, health care, and other services which other governments typically provide. Foreign investors have reported that some local communities expect benefits in addition to those outlined in formal concession agreements.

Liberia is a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The National Bureau of Concessions monitors and evaluates concession company compliance with concession agreements, but it does not design policies to promote and encourage RBC. Some NGOs report that several concessions have violated human or labor rights, including child labor and environmental pollution. Liberia has several private security companies, but the country is not a signatory to the Montreux Document on Private and Security Companies. Private security companies are regulated by the Ministry of Justice, and they perform a range of tasks such as providing security or surveillance to large businesses, international organizations, diplomatic missions, and some private homes.

9. Corruption

Liberia has laws against economic sabotage, mismanagement of funds, bribery, and other corruption-related acts, including conflicts of interest. However, Liberia suffers from corruption in both the public and private sectors. The government does not implement its laws effectively and consistently, and there have been numerous reports of corruption by public officials, including some in positions of responsibility for fighting corrupt practices. On December 9, 2021, the United States Treasury Department sanctioned Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson under the Global Magnitsky Act for personally enriching himself through pay-for-play funding schemes with government ministries and organizations. In 2021, Liberia ranked 136 out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index . See http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview .

The  Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission     (LACC) currently cannot directly prosecute corruption cases without first referring cases to the  Ministry of Justice     (MOJ) for prosecution. If the MOJ does not prosecute within 90 days, the LACC may then take those cases to court, although it has not exercised this right to date. The LACC continues to seek public support for the establishment of a specialized court to exclusively try corruption cases.

In October 2021 the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), launched “The Anti-Corruption Innovation Initiative Project.” LACC will hire at least 15 officers around the country who will report on corruption to the LACC. LACC is also developing a national digital platform for the public to report corruption.

Foreign investors generally report that corruption is most pervasive in government procurement, contract and concession awards, customs and taxation systems, regulatory systems, performance requirements, and government payments systems.  Multinational firms often report paying fees not stipulated in investment agreements. Private companies do not have generally agreed and structured internal controls, ethics, or compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of public officials. No laws explicitly protect NGOs that investigate corruption.

Liberia is signatory to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on the Fight against Corruption, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC), and the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), but Liberia’s association with these conventions has done little to reduce rampant government corruption.

10. Political and Security Environment

President Weah’s inauguration in January 2018 marked the first peaceful transfer of power in Liberia from one democratically elected president to another since 1944. International and domestic observers have said midterm senatorial and special elections since then have been largely peaceful, although there were reported instances of vote tempering, election violence, intimidation, and harassment of female candidates. Liberia’s relatively free media landscape has led to vigorous pursuit of civil liberties, resulting in active, often acrimonious political debates, and organized, non-violent demonstrations. Liberia adopted a press freedom law in 2019, but there have been reports and instances of violence and harassment against the media and journalists. Numerous radio stations and newspapers distribute news throughout the country. The government has identified land disputes and high rates of youth and urban unemployment as potential threats to security, peace, and political stability.

The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), a peacekeeping force, withdrew from Liberia in March 2018 and turned over responsibility for security to the government. Protests and demonstrations may occur with little warning. The Armed Forces of Liberia and law enforcement agencies, including the Liberia National Police (LNP) , Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) , and Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) , maintain security in the country. There are also many private security firms. Most security personnel are in the capital city Monrovia and other urban areas. The effectiveness of soldiers and police is limited by lack of money and poor infrastructure.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

With a literacy rate of just under 50 percent, much of the Liberian labor force is unskilled.  Most Liberians, particularly those in rural areas, lack basic vocational or computer skills.  Liberia has no reliable data on labor force statistics, such as unemployment rates.  Government workers comprise the majority of formally employed Liberians.

An estimated four out of five Liberian workers engage in “vulnerable” or “informal” employment. Many work in difficult and dangerous conditions that undermine their basic rights.  The Ministry of Labor (MOL) largely attributes high levels of vulnerable and informal employment to the private sector’s inability to create employment.  There is an acute shortage of specialized labor skills, particularly in medicine, information and communication technology, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Migrant workers are employed throughout the country, particularly in service industries, artisanal diamond and gold mining, timber, and fisheries.

The predominantly female workers who sell in markets and on the streets face significant challenges, including a lack of access to credit and banking services, limited financial literacy and business training, few social protections or childcare options, harassment from citizens and local authorities, and poor sanitation within marketplaces. Through the Bureau of Small Business Administration (SBA) at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, businesses owned by female informal workers are being formalized using a “one-stop shop” registration mechanism. Development partners are also designing programs aimed at empowering women businesses and entrepreneurs.

Liberia’s labor law, the 2015 Decent Work Act, gives preference to employing Liberian citizens, and most investment contracts require companies to employ a defined percentage of Liberians, including in top management positions. In 2021, the Ministry of Labor issued an order that restricts certain employment opportunities in commercial business establishments with branches in Monrovia and other parts of the country to Liberians. The order was the result of a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Labor and the Liberia Chamber of Commerce  calling for the creation of five hundred jobs for new college and university graduates.

Foreign companies often report difficulty finding local skilled labor. Child labor is a problem, particularly in extractive industries. The Decent Work Act guarantees freedom of association and gives employees the right to establish labor unions. Employees can become members of organizations of their own choosing without prior authorization. Workers, except for civil servants and employees of state-owned enterprises, are covered by the Act.  The Act allows workers’ unions to conduct activities without interference by employers. It also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of membership in or affiliation with a labor organization. Unions are independent from the government and political parties.  Employees, through their associations or unions, often demand and sometimes strike for better compensation. When company ownership changes, workers sometimes seek payment of obligations owed by previous owners or employers.

The Decent Work Act provides that labor organizations, including trade or employees’ associations, have the right to draw up constitutions and rules regarding electing representatives, organizing activities, and formulating programs.

There were no major labor union-related negotiations affecting workers or the labor market during 2021.

While the law prohibits anti-union discrimination and provides for the reinstatement of workers dismissed because of union activities, it allows for dismissal without cause provided the company pays statutory severance packages. The Decent Work Act sets out fundamental rights of workers and contains provisions on employment and termination of employment, minimum conditions of work, occupational safety and health, workers’ compensation, industrial relations, and employment agencies.  It also provides for periodic reviews of the labor market as well as adjustments in wages as the labor conditions dictate. The government does not waive labor laws to attract or retain investment, but the National Investment Commissions (NIC) provides investment incentives based on economic sectors and geographic areas (see Investment Incentives in section 4 above).

The MOL does not have an adequate or effective inspection system to identify and remedy labor violations and hold violators accountable. It lacks the capacity to effectively investigate and prosecute unfair labor practices, such as harassment or dismissal of union members or instances of forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking.

Libya

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There is not a general awareness of, expectation of, or standards for responsible business conduct (RBC) in Libya, nor of businesses’ obligation to proactively conduct due diligence to ensure they are doing no harm (including with regards to environmental, social, and governance issues). The Libyan government has not taken measures to define or encourage RBC, such as promoting the OECD or UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights or establishing a national contact point or ombudsman for stakeholders to get information or raise concerns about RBC. As far as domestic laws exist in relation to human rights, labor rights, consumer protection, environmental protections, and other laws/regulations intended to protect individuals from adverse business impacts, the capacity of the government to enforce these laws is very limited.

Libya is not a signatory of the Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies, and is not a participant in the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers’ Association (ICoCA).

9. Corruption

Foreign firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI; corruption is pervasive in virtually all sectors of the economy, especially in government procurement. Officials frequently engage with impunity in corrupt practices such as graft, bribery, nepotism, money laundering, human smuggling, and other criminal activities. Although Libyan law provides some criminal penalties for corruption by officials, the government does not enforce the law effectively. Internal conflict and the weakness of public institutions further undermine enforcement. No financial disclosure laws, regulations, or codes of conduct require income and asset disclosure by appointed or elected officials.

The Libyan Audit Bureau, the highest financial regulatory authority in the country, has made minimal efforts to improve transparency. The Audit Bureau has investigated mismanagement at the General Electricity Company of Libya that had lowered production and led to acute power cuts. Other economic institutions such as the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank published some economic data during the year.

Libya has signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention. It is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

10. Political and Security Environment

There is a significant recent history of politically-motivated damage and seizure by force of economic infrastructure and installations, particularly in the oil and gas industry. Most recently, forces allied with Libyan National Army Commander Haftar forced the near-total shutdown of Libya’s energy sector in January 2020, which was eventually lifted in September 2020. The October 2020 ceasefire and the peaceful transfer of power in March 2021 to a unity government has markedly reduced the civil disturbances that had been a daily occurrence. However, militias also shut down Libya’s largest oil field in December 2021. Moreover, due to the postponement of elections (scheduled for December 2021), the political scene is further complicated by questions regarding the tenure of the current interim prime minister, as the House of Representatives nominated a new interim prime minister in February 2022, who to date has not been able to take power. As a result of this instability, rival armed groups have continued to jockey for control over the country’s political institutions and economic resources, which means that insecurity and instability remains a cause for concern.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Libya’s labor market is characterized by a dominant public sector that employs 85 percent of the active labor force in the Libyan economy, according to the World Bank. Just four percent of the labor force works for private firms. The Libyan labor market has many skilled workers with high levels of education, but high public sector wages and benefits result in outsized expectations among job seekers, particularly among the highly-skilled. The World Bank has estimated Libya’s unemployment rate to be around 20 percent, and youth unemployment to be around 50 percent – numbers that, given the already bloated public sector, indicate a lack of private sector jobs for skilled and unskilled Libyans. The World Bank also noted significant “mismatches” between the skills Libyan degree holders possess and those demanded by foreign and domestic employers in Libya. The 2010 Investment Law permits investors to hire foreign workers when national substitutes are not available.

The law does not provide the right for workers to form and join independent unions. Formal sector workers are automatically members of the General Trade Union Federation of Workers but can opt out on request. Foreign workers are not permitted to organize. Workers are permitted to bargain collectively, but the law stipulates that cooperative agreements must conform to the “national economic interest,” thus significantly limiting collective bargaining. The government has the right to set and cut salaries without consulting workers. According to Freedom House, some trade unions formed after the 2011 revolution, but they remain in their infancy, and collective-bargaining activity was severely limited due to the ongoing hostilities and weak rule of law. There is no data available about the prevalence of collective bargaining, or about the effectiveness of labor dispute or arbitration services.

Workers may call strikes only after exhausting all conciliation and arbitration procedures. Over the past year, employees organized spontaneous strikes, boycotts, and sit-ins in a number of workplaces. The government or one of the parties has the right to demand compulsory arbitration, though state penalties for noncompliance were not sufficient to deter violations.

The law does not criminalize all forms of forced or compulsory labor.  Article 425 of the penal code criminalized slavery and prescribed penalties of five to 15 years’ imprisonment. Article 426 criminalized the buying and selling of slaves and prescribed penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.  However, other forms of forced labor were not criminalized.  The government did not effectively enforce these laws, and the resources, inspections, and penalties for violations were not commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes such as kidnapping. There have been numerous anecdotal reports of migrants and IDPs being subjected to forced labor by human traffickers. The informal economy, largely composed of migrants, is concentrated in the agricultural, construction, and domestic help sectors. Private employers have sometimes used detained migrants from prisons and detention centers as forced labor on farms or construction sites; when the work was completed or the employers no longer required the migrants’ labor, employers returned them to detention facilities.

The law prohibits children younger than 18 from being employed except in a form of apprenticeship. It was unclear whether child labor occurred, and no information was available concerning whether the law limits working hours or sets occupational health and safety restrictions for children. It was not clear whether the government had the capacity to enforce compulsory or child labor laws, nor was it clear whether non-enforcement of these laws posed a commercial risk to investors.

Malawi

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Corporate entities in Malawi have a well-developed sense of responsible business conduct (RBC) and incorporate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into their business practices. Corporate entities make a point to publicize their CSR activities in the local media. There are no established laws or regulations governing RBC or CSR. As a candidate to the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), the government is promoting RBC in the mining sector.

There are a variety of laws and regulations to protect the environment and on waste disposal for producers and consumers. All foreign and domestic enterprises are expected to adhere to the national and local laws and regulations regarding employment and compensation, the work environment, industrial safety, age limits, and minimum wages. However, there is a lack of resources for meaningful enforcement of laws and regulations and no comprehensive reporting mechanism to track violations.

There is no history of any laws or regulations being waived to attract investment, nor of the government factoring in RBC practices into its procurement decisions. There are no verified reports of high profile or controversial instances of any private sector entity impacting human rights or related resolutions. In the recent past, the media reported on complaints by indigenous communities against government MDAs related to land or natural resource allocations. Most land allocation complaints are related to development projects and are decided by the courts or in mediation. There is a general lack of government enforcement and reporting on human rights, labor rights, environment protections because of budget and capacity constraints.

The private sector is required to adhere to international accounting standards. Executive compensation requirements are not defined. The law requires all Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) listed companies to publish their annual audited accounts in local newspapers. Listed companies are also required to publicly declare profits, dividends, planned takeovers, major portfolio investments, and all relevant information for shareholders to make informed decisions.

The Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI), the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), the Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy, Institute for Sustainable Development, Consumers Association of Malawi, Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), and Natural Resources Justice Network are civil society organizations that monitor and advocate freely for CSR and RBC in Malawi. Malawi does not adhere to OECD Guidelines for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas. There are no domestic requirements for due diligence by companies engaged in the supply chain of minerals that may originate from conflict-affected areas.

The EITI Board approved Malawi as a candidate country in 2015. Malawi’s Validation was completed in 2018, and the EITI Board concluded that Malawi has made meaningful progress overall in implementing the EITI Standards. The Board determined Malawi must carry out corrective actions regarding the findings of the initial assessment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the final assessment has been delayed until sometime in 2022. Failure to achieve meaningful progress on the second validation will result in suspension in accordance with the EITI Standard.

9. Corruption

Corruption remains a major challenge for firms operating in Malawi. Corruption, fraud, bribery of public officials, illicit payments, misuse of funds, and conflicts of interest are not uncommon. A number of high-profile government scandals have occurred during all recent presidential administrations. President Lazarus Chakwera dissolved his cabinet in January 2022 over a corruption scandal. Corruption in all forms is illegal in Malawi. However, enforcement is insufficient and slow. The Corrupt Practices Act established the independent Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which works with other anti-corruption bureaus in the region but is consistently under-staffed and under-resourced. The Act widened the definition of corruption to include offences for abuse of office and possession of unexplained wealth. The Act also provides protection for whistleblowers. The ACB encourages private sector companies and institutions to develop and implement corruption prevention policies as a way of mainstreaming anti-corruption initiatives into their operations. The business sector may join forces to collectively engage in the fight against corruption, but no formal mechanism currently exists. Some companies employ their own fraud controls, but to date fraud identified through internal controls has failed to result in any high-level prosecutions.

Malawian law requires all public officials from all levels of government to declare their assets and business interests. However, access to view or obtaining copies of the declarations is difficult at best. However, the law does not extend to family members. The Political Parties Act requires all political parties to disclose source of funds. If corruption evidence implicates family members or members of a political party the ACB has the power to build a case against accomplices and bring them to court. All public officials are required to disclose any conflict of interest and to recuse themselves from any deliberation or decision-making process in relation to the conflict. However, there is no clear definition of what constitutes conflict of interest. Despite have the legal framework in place, in practice the requirements for public asset declarations, political party financial reporting, and conflict of interest disclosures are rarely enforced, and noncompliance is high.

Malawi is party to the UN Convention Against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. According to Malawi law, citizens have a right to form NGOs focused on anti-corruption or good governance and these NGOs are free to accept funding from any domestic or foreign sources. Malawi’s civil society and the media play an important and visible role in fighting corruption, investigating, and uncovering cases of corruption. Specific firms with U.S. affiliations have noted irregularities in tender processes and mining licensing but have nonetheless continued to pursue business opportunities. Although some progress has been made, corruption remains a major obstacle to businesses in Malawi.

10. Political and Security Environment

Malawi continues to enjoy a stable and democratic government. Since the end of one-party rule in 1994, the country has had 7 peaceful presidential and 6 parliamentary elections. In 2020, Malawians voted for a new government in a court sanctioned presidential re-run ousting the then ruling party. Although political divisions exist, Malawi has no significant tribal, religious, regional, ethnic, or racial tensions that might lead to widespread violence. Incidents of labor unrest occasionally occur but are usually non-violent. Despite instances of political uncertainty there are no nascent insurrections or politically motivated activities of major concern to investors. Democratic processes in Malawi are well established, and destabilizing unrest is unlikely.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Most working-age individuals in Malawi live in rural areas and are involved in the informal sector and subsistence agriculture. The informal economy covers 89 percent of the labor force. Informal employment is primarily small-scale, minimally capitalized, and relies on household members for labor. Across all age groups, more males are employed than females. Informal employment is usually easier to get, is less stable, and usually pays far less than minimum wage. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly and adversely affected the informal sector.

Child labor remains a problem. A 2015 Child Labor Survey found 38% of children aged 5-17 are active in child labor. In November 2019, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency issued a Withhold Release Order against tobacco from Malawi due to child and forced labor concerns. As of February 2022, three companies were granted waivers enabling them to export tobacco to the U.S.

Due to capital requirements, all foreign investors are categorized in the formal sector. Labor laws cut across all sectors and the courts may get involved in any labor dispute.

Skilled and semi-skilled labor is scarce and skilled employment opportunities are extremely limited. Despite the Gender Equality Act in 2013, discrimination against women is pervasive, and women still have lower literacy and education levels and less access to employment opportunities. Occupational categories with skills shortages include accountants, economists, engineers, lawyers, IT, and medical/health personnel. Malawi has six public universities that provide bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in several fields including accountancy, economics, engineering, medicine, education, agriculture, and administration. In response to a need for skilled tradesmen, the government is expanding its network of vocational schools. The University of Malawi and the privately owned Catholic University are accredited to offer law degrees. There are few PhD programs that usually enroll few candidates.

Employment, immigration laws, and regulations require that any local or foreign investor prioritize hiring of nationals except in cases where the needed skills are not available locally. There are no restrictions on employers adjusting employment to respond to fluctuating market conditions so long as such adjustments comply with employment laws and regulations. There are also no social safety net programs for workers laid off due to economic reasons nor are employers required to have employment insurance for their employees. There are no provisions for labor laws to be waived to attract or retain investment in Malawi nor are there additional or different labor law provisions in Export Processing and Special Economic zones for purpose of promoting exports.

Aside from military or police personnel, all workers are legally permitted to form and join trade unions without previous authorization or excessive requirements. Unions must register with Registrar of Trade Unions and Employers’ Organizations in the Ministry of Labor. Most unions are affiliated with the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) with a membership of approximately 300,000 workers. Despite the membership size, the MCTU Unions power is limited and weak. The government is a signatory to the ILO Convention protecting worker rights, ratified all eight of the fundamental International Labor Conventions, and the Forced Labor Protocol to fast-track implementation of Target 8.7, but enforcement is weak due to a serious labor inspector shortage and resource constraints. The Occupation Safety, Health and Welfare Act of 1997 is scheduled for review in 2022. Government designated labor officers, police officers and immigration officers also serve as trafficking in persons (TIP) enforcement officers.

The Industrial Relations Court (IRC) has jurisdiction over labor disputes and other issues relating to employment. An aggrieved party may appeal the decision of the IRC to the High Court of Malawi but only on matters of law or jurisdiction, the IRC decision is final and binding on all other matters. The Labor Relations Act (LRA) governs labor-relations management in Malawi’s formal sector. Employers, labor unions, and the government lack sophistication regarding labor relations/disputes. There have not been any major strikes that posed any serious investment risk since 2012. In October 2021, government amended LRA and the Employment Act. The LRA amendment allows an employer to deduct wages from an employee who strikes for more than three days per annum and authorizes the Minister of Labor to designate categories of workers as essential, thereby prohibiting them from striking or lockdowns. The LRA removed the requirement of employer and employee panelists in the IRC, thereby loosening the bottleneck at the IRC. Amendments to the Employment Act prohibits forced and tenancy labor, provides special working conditions for pregnant and breastfeeding female employees, provides for paternity leave, and makes provisions for deduction of wages for the period an employee is absent from work due to participation in a strike.

Mauritania

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

Mauritius

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The National Committee for Corporate Governance (NCCG) was established under Section 63 of the Financial Reporting Act (2004) and is the coordinating body responsible for all matters pertaining to corporate governance in Mauritius. The NCCG was attached to the Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance until 2021, when it was recognized as a corporate body following an amendment to the Financial Reporting Act. The purpose of the Committee is to: (i) establish principles and practices of corporate governance; (ii) promote the highest standards of corporate governance; (iii) promote public awareness about corporate governance principles and practices; and (iv) act as the national coordinating body responsible for all matters pertaining to corporate governance. The latest Code of Corporate Governance for Mauritius (2016) was launched on February 13, 2017 and can be accessed at https://nccg.mu/full-code. In 2021, the NCCG also launched a Corporate Governance Scorecard to introduce an objective and quantitative element for companies to report on compliance. The Financial Reporting Council (FRC), also set up under the Financial Reporting Act (2004), aims to advocate for the provision of high-quality reporting of financial and non-financial information by public interest entities and to improve the quality of accountancy and audit service. Mauritius does not have a dedicated center for research on corporate governance.

The Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance was established following the December 2014 elections. Its mandate is to provide guidance and support for enforcement of good governance and the eradication of corruption. In 2015, the Financial Services Commission introduced a Code of Business Conduct as part of its Fair Market Conduct Program. The Financial Services Commission has also introduced several measures in 2020 and 2021 to comply with recommendations made by the Financial Action ask Force for enhancing anti-money laundering and combatting terrorism financing standards.

The Mauritius Institute of Directors (MIoD) is an independent, private sector-led organization that also promotes high standards and best practices of corporate governance, with additional information available at http://www.miod.mu .

In 2017, the government set up a National Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Foundation, which operated under the Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment. In 2019, this foundation became the National Social Inclusion Foundation (NSIF). The NSIF is managed by a council consisting of members from the private and public sectors, civil society, and academia. Under the 2016 Finance Act, every company registered in Mauritius must set up a CSR fund and annually contribute the equivalent of 2 percent of its taxable income from of the previous year. In 2017 and 2018, companies were required to remit at least 50 percent of their CSR funds to tax authorities for the National CSR Foundation. The required contribution increased in 2019 to 75 percent for CSR funds set up on or after January 1, 2019. The NSIF is supposed to channel the money to NGO projects in priority areas identified by the government. These priority areas are poverty alleviation, educational support, social housing, family protection, people with severe disabilities, and victims of substance abuse. Further details can be found on the NSIF and MRA websites: https://www.nsif.mu  and https://www.mra.mu/download/CSRGuide.pdf .

9. Corruption

The prevalence of corruption in Mauritius is low by regional standards, but graft and nepotism nevertheless remain concerns and are increasingly a source of public frustration. Several high-profile cases involving corruption have reinforced the perception that corruption exists at the highest political levels, despite the fact that Mauritian law provides for criminal penalties for corruption by officials. According to Transparency Mauritius, the absence of a law regulating the financing of political parties fuels corruption. A former prime minister was arrested in 2015 on allegations of money laundering, though courts have since dismissed all charges. The state prosecutors appealed the last dismissal in late 2019 and court proceedings are ongoing, with the latest hearing held in February 2022. A minister in the previous government stepped down in 2016 after allegations of bribery. In March 2017, allegations surfaced concerning possible political interference in the Financial Services Commission’s issuance of an investment banking license to Angolan billionaire Alvaro Sobrinho, who is being investigated for alleged corruption in Portugal. In March 2018, the president of Mauritius resigned after press reported that she bought apparel, jewelry, and a laptop computer with a credit card provided by an NGO financed by the same Angolan businessman. In June 2020, the prime minister dismissed his deputy prime minister following allegations of bribery and corruption in a public energy contract. In February 2021, the minister of commerce stepped down amid allegations of corruption and abuse of power.

Investors should know that while the constitution and law require arrest warrants to be based on sufficient evidence and issued by a magistrate, police may detain an individual for up to 21 days under a “provisional charge” based on a reasonable suspicion, with the concurrence of a magistrate. Two French businessmen claimed that, in February 2015, authorities held them against their will. A U.S. investor has been unable to leave Mauritius since February 1, 2020, without charges filed against him.

In 2002, the government adopted the Prevention of Corruption Act, which led to the establishment of an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). ICAC has the power to investigate corruption and money laundering offenses and can also seize the proceeds of corruption and money laundering. The director and board members of ICAC are nominated by the prime minister. The Good Governance and Integrity Reporting Act of 2015 was announced as a measure to recover “unexplained wealth” and came into force in early 2016. Critics of the act dislike its presumption of guilt, which requires the accused to demonstrate a lawful source of questionable assets, as well as the application of the law retroactively for seven years. The 2018 Declaration of Assets Act (DoA) entered into force in June 2019 and defines which public officials are required to declare assets and liabilities to the ICAC. These public officials include members of the National Assembly, mayors, chairpersons and chief executive officers of state-owned enterprises and statutory bodies, among others. This declaration is published on the website of ICAC: https://www.icac.mu/declaration-of-assets/disclosure-of-declarations/ .

Mauritius’ rating by the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International improved in 2021. The country was rated the 49th least-corrupt nation out of 180 countries, compared to 52nd in 2020 and 56th in 2019. However, Mauritius retained its first rank in overall governance in Africa for the 10th consecutive year, according to the 2020 Ibrahim Index of African Governance.

U.S. investors, in conversations with embassy personnel, have not identified corruption as an obstacle to investment in the country. They have, however, encountered attempts for bribery.

Although the country lacks laws on political party financing, Mauritius has legislation to combat corruption by public officials. These include laws dealing with the declaration of assets, asset recovery, prevention of corruption, anti-money laundering, and criminal offenses related to abuse of office by public officials.

However, legal loopholes exist, and enforcement is weak. Allegations of corruption and misallocation of government contracts by public entities occurred in 2020, namely the use of emergency procurement procedures during the pandemic to allegedly enrich friends and family of those in power.

According to Transparency Mauritius, more companies have introduced control and risk management protocols and adopted code of ethics and good business conduct, even if these do no target government officials. The Prevention of Corruption Act targets mainly the public sector, but there is no whistleblower protection law.

Mauritius has ratified the UNCAC, but has not yet adopted all the recommendations, such as the criminalization of corruption in the private sector. According to Transparency Mauritius, NGOs involved in fighting corruption are not given enough protection and funding.

10. Political and Security Environment

Mauritius has a long tradition of political and social stability. Civil unrest and political violence are uncommon. Free and fair national elections are held every five years with the last general elections held in November 2019. Those most recent elections took place without incident. The current prime minister, Pravind Jugnauth previously served as finance minister, and was appointed prime minister 2017 after his father resigned (in accordance with the constitution). Jugnauth won reelection in 2019. In August 2020 and February 2021, civilians engaged in mass protests following allegations of corruption and mismanagement by the government. The protests were orderly and without incident.

Crime rates are low, but petty and violent crime can occur. Visitors should keep track of their belongings at all times due to the potential for pickpocketing and purse-snatching, especially in crowded and tourist areas. Visitors should also avoid walking alone, particularly on isolated beaches and at night, and should avoid demonstrations.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

According to the GoM, employment of Mauritians stood at 476,100 in September 2021 (289,100 males and 187,000 females), a decrease from 507,100 in 2020, and 591,000 in 2019. The number of unemployed stood at 49,800 in September 2021, a decrease from 52,200 in 2020. In 2019, the number of unemployed was estimated at 39,700. The unemployment rate for the third quarter of 2021 was estimated at 9.5 percent, compared to 10.5 percent in the second quarter of 2021 and 10.4 percent in the third quarter of 2020. Employment in large establishments (employing 10 or more persons) as of March 2021 was estimated at 305,532 (186,227 male and 119, 305 female) out of which 30, 013 were foreign workers (23,961 males and 6,052 females).

The labor market remains restricted by rising unemployment among graduates and low-skilled workers, and a high number of unemployed women. It is further characterized by a persistent mismatch between qualifications of the unemployed and the skills required in an increasingly services-oriented economy. Government labor market programs aimed at building human capital have been extended, with policies to develop skills of the unemployed focusing on apprenticeships and placements. In November 2016, the government introduced the National Skills Development Program (NSDP), a fully-funded technical training program for youth, which was still running as of April 2020. The NSDP is managed by the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), which operates under the Ministry of Education and is responsible for promoting the development of the labor force in Mauritius. The HRDC, with technical and financial support from the French development agency, is also devising a National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) for 2020-2024. The aim of the NSDS is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of skills development programs. The HRDC, in collaboration with the Economic Development Board (EDB), has also established a Skills Development Support Scheme for Foreign Direct Investment to support foreign investors in training their employees. Through this scheme, the HRDC provides eligible employers up to 80 percent of the total amount disbursed on training; the remaining 20 percent is incurred by the employer. The objective is to develop technical expertise and specialization, and likewise boost the skills base for attracting FDI.

In 2018, the government introduced the SME Employment Scheme, which allows SMEs to employ recent graduates, whose monthly stipends are paid by the government for one year. In 2019, the government expanded the program to diploma holders.

In 2017, the National Assembly passed the National Employment Act. This act repealed the Employment and Training Act and introduced a modern legislative framework. The act provides the labor market with information on supply and demand of skills, job seekers, and training institutions; promotes placement and training of job seekers, including young persons and persons with disabilities; and promotes labor migration and home-based work.

In November 2017, the Equal Opportunities Act was amended to protect prospective employees with criminal records from discrimination when being considered for recruitment or promotion.

In 2018, the government introduced a minimum monthly wage of 9,000 Mauritian rupees (approximately $209) for all workers, which impacted over 100,000 low-paid workers. In November 2019, the cabinet, following a recommendation from the National Wage Consultative Council, increased the minimum wage again to 10,200 rupees ($237), effective January 2020. The minimum wage was further increased to 10,575 rupees ($246) in January 2022.

Workers’ rights are protected under the 2019 Workers’ Rights Act. The legislation provides, among others: a portable retirement gratuity fund; fair compensation in case of termination; harmonization of working conditions in different sectors; the flexibility to request the right to work from home either on a full- or part-time basis; and equal remuneration for equal work. The act also expands the Equal Opportunities Act through several measures against discrimination in employment and occupation.

Trade unions are independent of the government and employers. Mauritius has an active trade union movement that about 25 percent of the workforce, and labor-management relations are generally positive. The last major strike affecting the economy took place in 1979. The government generally seeks to avoid strikes through a system that promotes settlement through negotiation or arbitration. Disputes are resolved at the Conciliation and Mediation Section of the Ministry of Labor or at the Commission for Conciliation and Mediation. If the matter is not resolved, it is referred to the Employment Relations Tribunal. Mauritius participates actively in the annual International Labor Organization (ILO) conference in Geneva, Switzerland, and adheres to ILO core conventions protecting workers’ rights.

Morocco

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Responsible business conduct (RBC) has gained strength in the broader business community in tandem with Morocco’s economic expansion and stability. The Moroccan government does not have any regulations requiring companies to practice RBC nor does it give any preference to such companies. However, companies generally inform Moroccan authorities of their planned RBC involvement. Morocco joined the UN Global Compact network in 2006 and in 2022 counts 24 private company as signatories, including the Confederation General des Entreprises du Maroc (CGEM), Morocco’s largest private sector lobbying group that represents more than 90,000 private companies. The Compact provides support to companies that affirm their commitment to social responsibility. While there is no legislation mandating specific levels of RBC, foreign firms and some local enterprises follow generally accepted principles, such as the OECD RBC guidelines for multinational companies. NGOs and Morocco’s active civil society are also taking an increasingly active role in monitoring corporations’ RBC performance. In 2017 a non-governmental National Observatory for RBC (ORSEM) was created with the objective of promoting responsible business practices, and in 2021, in collaboration with AtlantaSanad Assurance, a Moroccan insurance company, published its first corporate social responsibility guide. Morocco does not currently participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) or the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, though it has held some consultations aimed at eventually joining EITI. No domestic transparency measures exist that require disclosure of payments made to governments. There have not been any cases of high-profile instances of private sector impact on human rights in the recent past. Morocco is not a signatory of the Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies, and Post is unaware of any private military companies operating in the country.

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

9. Corruption

In February 2021, Morocco was placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) “grey list” of countries of concern regarding money laundering and terrorist financing. Following the grey list designation, Morocco made a high-level commitment to work with the FATF and Middle East and North Africa FATF to strengthen the effectiveness of its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime. Morocco has taken steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime, including passing new AML legislation, but significant challenges remain.

In Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index  , Morocco’s score dropped by one point causing its ranking to fall one additional position to 87th out of 180 countries. According to the State Department’s 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, Moroccan law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but the government generally did not implement the law effectively. Officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. There were reports of government corruption in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches during the year.

According to the Global Corruption Barometer Africa 2019 report published in July 2019, 53 percent of Moroccans surveyed think corruption increased in the previous 12 months, 31 percent of public services users paid a bribe in the previous 12 months, and 74 percent believe the government is doing a bad job in tackling corruption.

The 2011 constitution mandated the creation of a national anti-corruption entity. Morocco formally established the National Authority for Probity, Prevention, and Fighting Corruption (INPLCC) but it did not become operational until 2018 when its board was appointed by the king. The INPLCC is tasked with initiating, coordinating, and overseeing the implementation of policies for the prevention and fight against corruption, as well as gathering and disseminating information on the issue. In 2021 parliment passed Law No 19-46 to strengthen INPPLC’s effectiveness in its fight against corruption, creating an integrated framework aimed at improving cooperation and coordination, criminalizing corruption, and improving prevention efforts. Additionally, Morocco’s anti-corruption efforts include enhancing the transparency of public tenders and implementation of a requirement that senior government officials submit financial disclosure statements at the start and end of their government service, although their family members are not required to make such disclosures. Few public officials submitted such disclosures, and there are no effective penalties for failing to comply. Morocco does not have conflict of interest legislation. In 2018, thanks to the passage of an Access to Information (AI) law, Morocco joined the Open Government Partnership, a multilateral effort to make governments more transparent. As part of its 2021-2023 Open Government National Action Plan, Morocco launched a national portal for open government , to share its various commitments and allow its citizens to monitor progress and submit their suggestions and concerns. Although the Moroccan government does not require that private companies establish internal codes of conduct, the Moroccan Institute of Directors (IMA) was established in June 2009 with the goal of bringing together individuals, companies, and institutions willing to promote corporate governance and conduct. IMA published the four Moroccan Codes of Good Corporate Governance Practices. Some private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. Morocco signed the UN Convention against Corruption in 2007 and hosted the States Parties to the Convention’s Fourth Session in 2011. However, Morocco does not provide any formal protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption. For more information on corruption issues, please view the Human Rights Report. Although the U.S. Mission is not aware of cases involving corruption regarding customs or taxation issues, American businesses report encountering unexpected delays and requests for documentation that is not required under the FTA or standardized shipping norms.

Resources to Report Corruption

National Authority for Probity, Prevention, and Fighting Corruption (INPPLC)

Avenue Annakhil, Immeuble High Tech, Hall B, 3eme etage, Hay Ryad-Rabat
+212-5 37 57 86 60
Contact@inpplc.ma

Transparency International National Chapter 
24 Boulevard de Khouribga, Casablanca 20250
Telephone number: +212-22-542 699
Contact@transparencymaroc.ma

10. Political and Security Environment

Morocco enjoys political stability. There has not been any recent damage to commercial facilities and/or installations with a continued impact on the investment environment. Demonstrations occur in Morocco and usually center on economic, social, or labor issues. Demonstrations can attract hundreds to thousands of people in major city centers. Participants are typically, but not always, non-violent and the demonstrations are peaceful and orderly.

Morocco has historically experienced terrorist attacks. Travelers should generally exercise increased caution due to terrorism as terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Morocco. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Visitors are encouraged to consult the Department of State’s Morocco Travel Advisory for the most current information.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

In the Moroccan labor market, many Moroccan university graduates cannot find jobs commensurate with their education and training, and employers report insufficient skilled candidates. The educational system does not prioritize STEM literacy and industrial skills and many graduates are unprepared to meet contemporary job market demands. In 2011, the Moroccan government restructured its employment promotion agency, the National Agency for Promotion of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC), to assist new university graduates prepare for and find work in the private sector that requires specialized skills. The government also is pursuing a strategy to increase the number of students in vocational and professional training programs. The Bureau of Professional Training and Job Promotion (OFPPT), Morocco’s main public provider for professional training, has made several large-scale investments to address the country’s skills gap, counting more than 390 training centers with a capacity to attend 500,000 individuals annually. According to official government figures, unemployment stood at slightly above pre-pandemic levels at 11.8 percent in early 2022, with youth (ages 15-24) unemployment spiking at over 26 percent in 2020. The female labor participation rate remains extremely low at 21.6 percent, ranking 180 out of 189 countries surveyed in a 2018 World Bank survey. Of the female population in the work force, unemployment remains higher than average at 13.2 percent. The World Bank and other international institutions estimate that actual unemployment – and underemployment – rates may be higher. According to a study by Morocco’s central bank, Morocco made considerable progress incorporating its informal economy, which now hovers slightly below 30 percent of GDP. In 2021 newly elected Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch announced an aggressive plan to create 1 million jobs in the private and public sector over his government’s five-year mandate, which in part will be accomplished by increasing government positions, encouraging growth and hiring in the private sector, and further legitimizing Morocco’s informal sector.

Pursuing a forward-leaning migration policy, the Moroccan government has regularized the status of over 50,000 sub-Saharans migrants since 2014. Regularization provides these migrants with legal access to employment, employment services, and education and vocation training. The majority of sub-Saharan migrants who benefitted from the regularization program work in call centers and education institutes, if they have strong French or English skills, or domestic work and construction.

Under Moroccan Labor Code, Law Number 65-99, there are two types of employment contracts: fixed-term and permanent. Under a fixed-term labor contract, the duration of employment ends on a defined date and early termination initiated by the employer will result in damages equivalent to the amount of corresponding wages for the remainder of the contract. A permanent employment contract can be terminated at any time through the implementation of a well-defined dismissal procedure. The law prohibits the dismissal of an employee without a valid reason and failure to follow these very strict procedure would likely result in the Labor Court ruling the dismissal to be unfair and result in damages being awarded to the dismissed employee. In the case of economic or structural layoffs, the employer must notify the employee’s union presentative and seek permission from the provincial governor prior to conducting any layoffs. In the case of dismissal for misconduct, the bar of proving gross misconduct is typically high and it is common for labor courts to rule in the favor of the dismissed employee – even those who commit a blatant act of gross misconduct – if the employer does not follow the dismissal procedure properly.

Dismissals deemed as unfair carry heavy financial penalties to employers. In the case of a dismissal determined to be unfair of an employee who has worked six months or more in the same company, the Labor Code dictates the employer must compensate the dismissed employee including pay-in-lieu of notice, indemnity, damages, and other miscellaneous costs. These costs balloon as the seniority and base salary of the dismissed employee increases. Cases where employers and employees go to court are rare, as both sides typically opt for an amicable resolution settled out of court which allows employers to negotiate reduced compensation payments and quicker payouts to the employee. Businesses have the added incentive to settle outside of court since Labor Courts have a reputation of siding with the employee on wrongful dismissal lawsuits. Labor law is applicable in all sectors of employment; there are no specific labor laws to foreign trade zones or other sectors. More information is available from the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Economic Diplomacy unit.

Morocco has roughly 20 collective bargaining agreements in the following sectors: Telecommunications, automotive industry, refining industry, road transport, fish canning industry, aircraft cable factories, collection of domestic waste, ceramics, naval construction and repair, paper industry, communication and information technology, land transport, and banks. The sectoral agreements that exist to date are in the banking, energy, printing, chemicals, ports, and agricultural sectors.

According to the State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices, the Moroccan constitution grants workers the right to form and join unions, strike, and bargain collectively, with some restrictions (S 396-429 Labor Code Act 1999, 65-99). The law prohibits certain categories of government employees, including members of the armed forces, police, and some members of the judiciary, from forming or joining unions and from conducting strikes. The law allows several independent unions to exist but requires 35 percent of the total employee base to be associated with a union for the union to be representative and engage in collective bargaining. The government generally respected freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. Employers limited the scope of collective bargaining, frequently setting wages unilaterally for the majority of unionized and nonunionized workers. Domestic NGOs reported that employers often used temporary contracts to discourage employees from affiliating with or organizing unions. Legally, unions can negotiate with the government on national-level labor issues.

Labor disputes (S 549-581 Labor Code Act 1999, 65-99) are common, and in some cases result in employers failing to implement collective bargaining agreements and withholding wages. Trade unions complain that the government sometimes uses Article 288 of the penal code to prosecute workers for striking and to suppress strikes. Labor inspectors are tasked with mediation of labor disputes. In general, strikes occur in heavily unionized sectors such as education and government services, and such strikes can lead to disruptions in government services but usually remain peaceful.

In response to the widespread difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Morocco’s Special Commission for the Development Model presented King Mohammed VI the New Development Model in May 2021. This model will serve as a roadmap for Moroccan development with a special focus on decreasing poverty, improving social services and expanding social security protections.

Chapter 16 of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA) addresses labor issues and commits both parties to respecting international labor standards.

Mozambique

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Larger companies and foreign investors in Mozambique tend to follow their own responsible business conduct (RBC) standards.  For some large investment projects, RBC-related issues are negotiated directly with the GRM.  RBC is an increasingly high-profile issue in Mozambique, especially in the extractive industries, where some projects require resettlement of communities.

The GRM joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in May 2009.  The EITI Governing Board labeled Mozambique as a compliant country in 2012, and Mozambique continues to make meaningful progress towards implementing the EITI standards.

Following the emergence of a violent extremist insurgency in northern Mozambique in 2017, the GRM turned to private military companies (PMCs) to provide logistical and tactical support to Mozambican military and police forces in 2020 and 2021. In March 2021, Amnesty International accused one PMC operating in Mozambique of carrying out indiscriminate attacks on civilians. The GRM’s contract with this PMC ended on April 6, 2021. Mozambique is not a signatory of the Montreaux Document on Private Military and Security Companies, does not support the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers, and does not participate as a government in the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers’ Association. In March 2021, officials from the Ministries of Defense and Justice and the semi-independent Human Rights Commission participated in a series of workshops organized by the Center for Democracy and Development on the Voluntary Principles of Security and Human Rights in Cabo Delgado Province.

9. Corruption

While corruption remains a major concern in Mozambique, the GRM has undertaken some steps to address the problem. Working with the IMF, it published the July 2019 Diagnostic Report on Transparency, Governance and Corruption , which identifies 29 anti-corruption reform measures. The March 2022 IMF agreement intends to use these measures as benchmarks for subsequent reforms.

The Mozambican judicial system conducted a trial for 19 defendants in the “hidden debts” case, hearing from more than 70 witnesses. The trial was aired publicly in a positive step to counter the perception that senior Mozambican government officials can commit crimes with impunity. The Maputo City Court has set sentences for August 1, 2022; the court has announced it is considering seizing assets of the accused to partially compensate the nation for the over $2 billion in fraudulent state-backed loans.

Mozambique’s civil society and journalists remain vocal on corruption-related issues.  Action related to the “hidden debts” scandal is being led by a civil society umbrella organization known as the Budget Monitoring Forum (Forum de Monitoria de Orcamento, FMO) that brings together around 20 different organizations for collective action on transparency and corruption issues.  A civil society organization that participates in the FMO, the Center for Public Integrity (CIP), also continues to publicly pressure the GRM to act against corrupt practices.  CIP finds that many local businesses are closely linked to the GRM and have little incentive to promote transparency.

10. Political and Security Environment

In July 2021, Mozambican security forces deployed to Cabo Delgado Province were joined by Rwandan and SADC military contingents. Since that time, the combined forces have made security gains against the Islamic State in Mozambique (ISIS-M). However, the ongoing insurgency continues to deter investment in northern Mozambique. Sporadic terrorist attacks continue to occur, mainly against civilians, in the northern provinces. As of mid-2022, TotalEnergies had yet to resume construction of its Area 1 LNG facility following suspension of its operations and declaration of force majeure in April 2021.

The United States designated ISIS-M as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist Group in March 2021. ISIS provides support to combatants in northern Mozambique and occasionally claims credit for their attacks. Since 2017, the ISIS affiliate carried out more than 500 deliberate attacks against unarmed civilians, causing an estimated 3,100 deaths and up to 800,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). As of April 2022, the GRM had begun implementing plans to stabilize the region with support from the international donor community and encouraging IDPs to return to their homes.

Following the ceasefire and peace agreement signed in August 2019, Mozambique’s disarmament, demobilization, and re-integration (DDR) of ex-combatants from political opposition group Renamo is nearing conclusion. The October 2021 death of Mariano Nhongo, leader of the Renamo Military Junta splinter group, corresponded with a drop in the number of attacks along major highways in Manica and Sofala provinces.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), an estimated six million Mozambicans, or 80 percent of the economically active population in Mozambique, work in the informal sector. Mozambique’s Ministry of Labor generally had not effectively enforced minimum wage, hour of work, and occupational safety and health standards in the informal economy; labor law is only enforced in the formal sector.

There is an acute shortage of skilled labor in Mozambique.  As a result, many employers hire foreign employees who have required skills.  The GRM limits the number of expatriates a business can employ in relation to the number of Mozambican citizens it employs.  The GRM passed labor regulations in 2016 strengthening the requirement for employers to devise skills transfer programs to train Mozambican nationals to eventually replace the foreign workers.

The constitution and law provide that workers, with limited exceptions, may form and join independent trade unions, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively, although unions must be approved by the government.  The GRM takes 45 days to register employers’ or workers’ organizations, a delay the ILO has deemed excessive. Approximately three percent of the labor force is affiliated with trade unions.  An employee fired with cause does not have a right to severance, while employees terminated without cause do.  Unemployment insurance does not exist and there is not a social safety net program for workers laid off for economic reasons. The law does not allow workers to strike until a complex mediation and arbitration process has been conducted, which typically takes two to three weeks. The law also provides for voluntary arbitration for “essential services” personnel monitoring the weather and fuel supply, postal service workers, export-processing-zone workers, and those loading and unloading animals and perishable foodstuffs.

With support from international donors, the GRM is reviewing its Labor Law to align with international conventions related to forced labor, health and safety issues in mining, and the worst forms of child labor.  The proposed revisions would extend the maternity leave period from 60 to 90 days; address sexual harassment; incorporate special conditions in the fisheries sector; provide for telework and intermittent work; address suspension of contracts in cases of force majeure or for technological, structural or market reasons; address private employment agencies; and provide for recruitment of retired persons. CTA and donors are applying pressure for the draft law to be reviewed by the Labor Consultative Commission (CCT) then sent to the Council of Ministers and the Parliament for approval.

Namibia

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Most large firms, including SOEs, have well defined (and publicized) social responsibility programs that provide assistance in areas such as education, health, environmental management, sports, and small and mid-sized enterprise (SME) development. Many firms include Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) programs within their larger Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. Firms operating in the mining sector – Namibia’s most lucrative industry – generally have visible CSR programs that focus on education, community resource management, environmental sustainability, health, and BEE. Many Namibian firms have HIV/AIDS workplace programs to educate their employees about how to prevent contracting and spreading the virus/disease. Some firms also provide anti-retroviral treatment programs beyond what may be covered through government and private insurance systems.

Namibia’s mining sector is considered a leader in the region for its sound mining policy and responsible business conduct. Namibia ranked as the best jurisdiction in Africa on its mining policy in a 2019 Fraser Institute survey. The Namibian Chamber of Mines ( https://chamberofmines.org.na ) is an independent association of mining businesses that monitors and encourages responsible business practices and corporate social responsibility from its members and the mining industry at large. Namibia is also a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI), which seeks to promote sound mining governance and resilient energy mineral supply chains. Namibia is not a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

9. Corruption

The Anti-Corruption Act of 2003 created an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which began operations in 2006. The ACC attempts to complement civil society’s anti-corruption programs and support existing institutions such as the Ombudsman’s Office and the Office of the Attorney

General. Anti-corruption legislation is in place to combat public corruption, but often is not well-implemented due to budgetary constraints. In a nationwide survey commissioned by the ACC and released in 2016, corruption was listed at the third-most important development challenge facing Namibia (6 percent, after unemployment at 37 percent and poverty at 30 percent). 78 percent of survey respondents rated corruption as “very high” in Namibia. The highest result comes from those in rural areas. Namibia’s 2021 rating by Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index worsened to 58 out of 180 from a score of 57 in 2020. Afrobarometer has also reported a downward trend regarding perception of corruption in Namibia over the past decade.

In 2019, Namibia was embroiled in a fishing industry corruption scandal in which government ministers and business leaders were charged and imprisoned for allegedly co-opting the national fishing quota system for personal gain. The scandal allegedly cost Namibia billions of U.S. dollars and has tarnished the reputation of the ruling political party. The accused are in prison awaiting trial. The scandal has resulted in Namibia and its ACC taking a closer look at other industries susceptible to corruption, but many Namibians criticize the government for not doing enough to combat corruption

Namibia has signed and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union’s African Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. Namibia has also signed the Southern African Development Community’s Protocol against Corruption.

10. Political and Security Environment

Namibia has been a stable multiparty and multiracial democracy since becoming independent in 1990. The protection of human rights is enshrined in the Namibian Constitution, and the government generally respects those rights. Political violence is rare and damage to commercial projects and/or installations as a result of political violence is unlikely. The State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights for Namibia provides additional information.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Namibian law allows for the formation of independent trade unions to protect workers’ rights and to promote sound labor relations and fair employment practices. The law provides for the right to form and join independent unions, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively on specific issues; however, the law prohibits workers in certain sectors, such as the police, military, and correctional facilities, from joining unions. Except for workers in services designated as essential, such as public health and safety, workers may strike once mandatory conciliation procedures are exhausted and 48 hours’ notice is given to the employer and labor commissioner. Workers may take strike actions only in disputes involving specific worker interests, such as pay raises.

Namibia has ratified all of the International Labor Organization’s fundamental conventions. Businesses operating within export processing zones are required to adhere to the Labor Act. The 2007 Labor Act contained a provision that prohibited the hiring of temporary or contract workers (“labor hire”), but the provision was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The Labor Amendment Act of 2012 introduced strict regulations with respect to the use of temporary workers, according to which temporary workers must generally receive equal compensation and benefits as non-temporary workers.

Child labor in Namibia occurs in certain sectors, such as domestic and agricultural work, and its occurrence and prevalence are difficult to verify. Although Namibia has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor, there continue to be gaps in Namibia’s domestic legal framework.

There is a shortage of specialized skilled labor in Namibia. Employers often cite labor productivity and the shortage of skilled labor as the biggest obstacles to business growth. The most recent Global Competitiveness Report (2019) ranked Namibia 94th out of 141 economies. An inadequately educated workforce, access to financing, and low innovation capability are listed in the report as the most problematic factors for doing business.

The government offers manufacturing companies special tax deductions of up to 25 percent if they provide technical training to employees. The government will also reimburse companies for costs directly related to employee training under approved conditions.

As of April 1, 2014, the Namibian government implemented a Vocational Education and Training (VET) levy to facilitate and encourage vocational education and training. The levy, which is payable to the Namibia Training Authority (NTA), is imposed on every employer with an annual payroll of at least NAD 1,000,000 (approximately USD 54,000), at the rate of one percent of the employer’s total annual payroll. The NTA will collect and administer the levy and will use the funds to provide financial and technical assistance to employers, vocational training providers, employees, students, and other bodies to promote vocational education and training. In addition, companies can get a rebate from NTA of up to 50 percent of training costs for their employees.

The role of the informal economy in Namibia cannot be underestimated, as it provides integral support to more formal business activities. According to the most recent Namibian Labour Force Survey (2018), the informal economy employs more than half of employed Namibians. Informal economic activity includes small-scale entrepreneurs, traders, and service providers such as cleaners, cooks, and laborers. Informal economic activity is the primary employment means of women in rural areas. Namibian economic analysts posit that informal sector activities contribute to around 70 percent of GDP in any given year.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($B USD) 2021 $12.2 2020 $10.6 www.worldbank.org/en/country 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 $-78 2018 N/A BEA data available at https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet/ 
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2020 $0 2020 $0 BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/direct-investment-and-multinational-enterprises-comprehensive-data 
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2021 49.3% 2018 48.7% UNCTAD data available at
https://unctad.org/system/files/official-document/wir2021_en.pdf 

* Source for Host Country Data: Namibia Statistics Agency and Bank of Namibia

A glaring omission from the International Monetary Foundation’s (IMF) report on inward direct investment to Namibia is China’s contribution, which the Bank of Namibia reports as 42.4% of the total in 2021 and 39.5% in 2020. China is included in the Bank of Namibia’s report but is omitted from the IMF reports. The Embassy assesses that China’s investment in Namibia is increasing not decreasing. Notorious tax haven British Virgin Islands is a notable top destination for inward direct investment sources into Namibia. There are some other discrepancies between the information reported in the IMF report and the Bank of Namibia’s report, such as the inclusion of Botswana in 2020.

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data (2020)
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward 6,342 100%

Data Not Available

China 1,975 39.5%
South Africa 1,975 29.7%
Mauritius 517 8%
United Kingdom 353 4.2%
British Virgin Islands 136 2.3%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Source: IMF Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS) https://data.imf.org/?sk=40313609-F037-48C1-84B1-E1F1CE54D6D5&sId=1482331048410  and the Bank of Namibia’s 2021 Annual Report .

Niger

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There is a general awareness of expectations regarding RBC, as well as business’ obligations to proactively conduct due diligence and do no harm.

Ordinance No. 97-001 of 10 January 1997 on the Institutionalization of Environmental Impact Assessments, Article 4 of which states: “Activities, projects or programs of development which, by the importance of their size or their impact on the natural and human environments, may affect the latter are subject to prior authorization from the Minister of the Environment. This authorization is granted on the basis of an assessment of the consequences of the project activities or the program updated by an environmental impact study prepared by the promoter.”

For example, in the extractive industries sector, the GoN has focused on ensuring existing obligations are met and that communities benefit from investments. Nigerien law states that 15 percent of revenues derived from extractive industries must be returned to the municipality affected by the project. However, such payments are difficult to track and the GoN is not active or engaged in follow-up.

There have been no high-profile instances of private sector impact on human rights in the recent past.

The GoN attempts to enforce domestic laws related to human rights, labor rights, consumer protection, and environmental protections. However, a lack of resources makes such enforcement difficult and only somewhat effective.

The government has not put in place corporate governance, accounting, and executive compensation standards.

There is limited NGO focus on responsible business practices. Those looking at transparency in contracts and business practices are generally able to work freely regarding engagement with businesses.

Niger is not a member of the OECD and does not adhere to OECD guidelines, including those related to supply chains of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas. There are no Nigerien-owned companies that deal exclusively with minerals, including those that may originate from conflict-affected areas.

Niger was officially readmitted to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative in February 2020 after a three-year absence. The constitution mandates full disclosure of all payments from foreign government stemming from mining operations, as well as publication of all new exploration and exploitation contracts in the mining sector. However, in practice, payments from foreign countries to GoN officials have at times been controversial due to non-reporting of such payments.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

9. Corruption

The constitution, adopted in 2010, contains provisions for greater transparency in government reporting of revenues from the extractive industries, as well as the declaration of personal assets by government officials, including the President. On April 6th, 2021 President Bazoum Mohamed submitted a written sworn statement of his assest to the National Court of Auditors and made the fight against corruption central to his five-year term program.

The High Authority for the Fight against Corruption and Related Offenses (HALCIA) has the authority to investigate corruption charges within all government agencies. HALCIA is limited by a lack of resources and a regulatory process that is still developing. Despite the limitations, HALCIA was able to conduct a number of successful investigations during 2020-2021. Laws related to anti-corruption measures are in place and apply to government officials, their family members, and all political parties.

Legislation on Prevention and Repression of Corruption was passed into law in January 2018; a strategy for implementation was still pending in 2022. Niger has laws in place designed to counter conflict of interest in awarding contracts and/or government procurements. Bribery of public officials by private companies is officially illegal, but occurs regularly despite GoN denunciations of such conduct.

Law number 2017-10 of March 31, 2017, prohibits bribery of public officials, international administrators, and foreign agents, bribes within the private sector, illicit enrichment and abuse of function by public authorities. The High Authority Against Corruption and Relating Crimes (HALCIA) is further tasked with working with private companies on internal anti-corruption efforts. Bribery of public officials, however, occurs on a regular basis. Though most companies officially discourage such behavior, internal controls are rare except among the largest (mostly foreign) enterprises. The government/authority encourages or requires private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials. Some private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

The government does not provide any additional protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption.

The government/authority encourages or requires private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials. Some private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

Niger has joined several international and regional anti-corruption initiatives including the UN Convention against Corruption in 2008, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption in 2005, and the Protocol on Combating Corruption of the economic community of the states of West Africa (ECOWAS) in 2006. Niger is alsoa member state of the GIABA, which is an institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in West Africa.

As of April 2022, there is only one large U.S. telecommunications firm invested in Niger, although it gained its assets through acquisition of a U.K. company. This low number is due to reasons that include, but are not limited to, the perception of corruption. Cases of suspected corruption occasionally appear in media reports concerning GoN procurement, the award of licenses and concessions and customs.

Resources to Report Corruption

Maï Moussa Elhadji Basshir, President
High Authority to Combat Corruption and Related Infractions (HALCIA)
BP 550 Niamey – Niger
(227) 20 35 20 94/ 95/ 96/ 97
contact@halcia.ne 

Wada Maman
President
Transparency International Niger (TI-N)
BP 10423, Niamey – Niger
(227) 20 32 00 96 / 96 28 79 69
anlcti@yahoo.fr 

10. Political and Security Environment

Niger has been politically stable since 2010, when the most recent of Niger’s coup d’états (there have been four since 1990) concluded within less than a year in a return to democratic governance. The most recent general elections were held in in December 2020, with a presidential run-off in February 2021. President Bazoum Mohamed was elected in the first democratic transfer of executive power in Niger’s history. Although Niger’s politics are often contentious and antagonistic, political violence is rare. Most parties agree that national security and peaceful cohabitation among Niger’s ethnicities are the government’s principal priority. However, protests and strikes about non-payment of salaries for public employees, lack of funding for education, and general dissatisfaction with social conditions remain a concern.

Public protest over issues like poverty, corruption, and unemployment can also sometimes turn violent. In 2020, police arrested several protesters engaged in burning tires and vandalizing property in protest of embezzlement at the Ministry of National Defense. Protests also followed the government’s announcement of social lockdown procedures in March 2020 to respond to COVID-19.

Niger experiences security threats on three distinct border areas. Niger is a founding member of the G5 Sahel fighting terrorism in the Sahel while integrating the poverty reduction dimension to mitigate the effects of youth underemployment and violent extremism. The collapse of the Libyan state to the north has resulted in a flow of weapons and extremists throughout the Sahel region. Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa terrorists regularly launch attacks in the Diffa Region in Niger’s southeast. Jama’at al Nusrat al-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), which is a loose affiliation of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Macina Liberation Front (MLF), Ansar Dine, and al-Mourabitoun; along with ISIS-Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS), threaten Niger’s northern and northwestern borders. Terrorists regularly crossed the Mali border to attack civilian and security sites in the Tillaberi and Tahoua regions. Niger has a history of western residents and aid workers being kidnapped by terrorist groups or kidnapping for ransom gangs, as recently as October 2020. So far, more than 40 out of the 266 communes in Niger are in a state of emergency. The State Department’s Travel Advisory for Niger from April 2022 advises travels to be aware that violent crimes including robbery are common and terrorism is a threat.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Niger has an abundance of available labor, primarily unskilled. One of the most pressing concerns within the Ministry of Labor is the lack of jobs available to recent high school and university graduates, who often face long spells of unemployment or underemployment. There is very high unemployment among young workers, many of whom are uneducated and illiterate. Migration from the rural areas to the cities is a problem, as the majority of recently-arrived workers are unskilled. Such workers most often turn up in the informal economy. While informal activities are generally not reported, the World Bank estimates from 2021 stated that between 70 and 80 percent of the non-agricultural workforce is in the informal economy. Niger, as part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must accept laborers from neighboring ECOWAS states. While such laborers do exist within the Nigerien economy, this phenomenon is not common enough to cause friction and/or widespread resentment among local laborers.

The informal economy in Niger is vast and employs a majority of the nation’s population not involved in subsistence farming. In cities, most workers in the non-government sector are employed in an informal manner, including domestic services, markets and vending, and construction and maintenance. U.S. companies are encouraged to avoid informal employment arrangements as it presents a liability to Ministry of Labor inspectors.

Given both the need for foreign direct investment and the abundance of available labor within the country, labor laws are mostly modified, rather than waived to accommodate foreign firms. Many large foreign firms, including Orano and CNPC, are allowed to bring workers into the country provided that Nigerien laborers make up a substantial percentage of the overall workforce. As a member of ECOWAS, Niger routinely accepts labor, as obligated, from other member states.

According to Article 9 of Niger’s 2010 Labor Code, firms must hire Nigerien nationals via direct recruitment or through public or private hiring agencies.

There are no restrictions on employers regarding hiring or laying off employees to respond to fluctuating market conditions. However, before making the decision, the employer must consult with the Inspector of Labor. An employee laid off for economic reasons receives, in addition to severance pay, a non-taxable allowance paid by the employer equal to one month’s gross salary.

Given both the need for foreign direct investment and the abundance of available labor within the country, labor laws are mostly modified, rather than waived to accommodate foreign firms. Currently there are no special economic zones in Niger.

Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are generally respected and workers routinely exercise them. Unions have exercised the right to bargain collectively for wages above the legal minimum in the formal sectors and to improve working conditions.

Niger’s labor code, adopted in September 2012, and its decree No. 2017-682/PRN/MET/PS of August 2017 regulates employment, vocational training, remuneration, collective bargaining, labor representation, and labor disputes. The code also establishes the Consultative Commission for Labor and Employment, the Labor Court and regulates the Technical Consultative Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. The Labor Code lays out clear procedures for dispute resolution mechanisms in its Title VII on labor disputes. Labor hearings are public except at the reconciliation stage.

Although strikes are routine and common, most stem from non-payment of salaries and unsatisfactory working conditions existing within the public sector. Such strikes do not pose an investment risk.

Although Niger has ratified the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor and the ILO Convention 138 on the minimum age for employment, traditional caste-based servitude is still practiced in some parts of the country. In addition, child labor remains a problem particularly in the agricultural sector and the commercial and artisanal mining sectors. Gender discrimination is quite common within all workplaces.

There were no labor related laws or regulation enacted during the last year. The Labor Code adopted in September 2012 and its decree No. 2017-682/PRN/MET/PS of August 2017 with the regulatory part of the Labor Code remains the most recent legislation related to labor.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2019 $11,191 2020 $13,741 www.worldbank.org/en/country
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://apps.bea.gov/international/
factsheet/
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/
direct-investment-and-multinational-
enterprises-comprehensive-data
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A N/A N/A UNCTAD data available at

https://unctad.org/topic/investment/
world-investment-report
  

* Source for Host Country Data: https://data.worldbank.org/country/niger

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data (through 2020)
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward 6,617 100% Total Outward N/A N/A
France 2,836 42%
China 2,678 40%
Turkey 240 4%
India 133 2%
Algeria 113 2%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

 

Nigeria

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There is no specific Responsible Business Conduct law in Nigeria.  Several legislative acts incorporate within their provisions certain expectations that directly or indirectly regulate the observance or practice of corporate social responsibility.  In order to reinforce responsible behavior, various laws have been put in place for the protection of the environment.  These laws stipulate criminal sanctions for non-compliance but are not consistently enforced.  There are also regulating agencies which exist to protect the rights of consumers.  Additionally, the Nigerian government has no specific action plan regarding OECD Responsible Business Conduct guidelines.

Nigeria participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and is an EITI compliant country.  Specifically, in February 2019 the EITI Board determined that Nigeria had made satisfactory progress overall with implementing the EITI Standard after having fully addressed the corrective actions from the country’s first Validation in 2017.  The next EITI Validation study of Nigeria will occur in 2022.  

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (the Commission) also ensure comprehensive standards and guidelines to direct the execution of projects with proper consideration for the environment.  These two agencies replaced the now defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and its Environmental Guidelines and Standards of 1991 for the petroleum industry.  These two agencies aim to continue the DPR’s mission to preserve and protect the environmental issues of the Niger Delta.  

The Nigerian government provides oversight relating to the competition, consumer rights, and environmental protection issues.  The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the Standards Organization of Nigeria, and other entities have the authority to impose fines and ensure the destruction of harmful substances that otherwise may be sold to the general public.  The main regulators and enforcers of corporate governance are the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Corporate Affairs Commission (which register all incorporated companies).  Nigeria has adopted multiple reforms on corporate governance.  

The Companies Allied Matter Act 2020 and the Investment Securities Act provide basic guidelines on company listing.  More detailed regulations are covered in the NSX Listing rules.  Publicly listed companies are expected to disclose their level of compliance with the Code of Corporate Governance in their Annual Financial Reports.

9. Corruption

Domestic and foreign observers identify corruption as a serious obstacle to economic growth and poverty reduction.  Nigeria ranked 154 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index.  

Businesses report that bribery of customs and port officials remains common and often necessary to avoid extended delays in the port clearance process, and that smuggled goods routinely enter Nigeria’s seaports and cross its land borders. 

Since taking office in 2015, President Buhari has focused on implementing a campaign pledge to address corruption, though his critics contend his anti-corruption efforts often target political rivals.  

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act of 2004 established the EFCC to prosecute individuals involved in financial crimes and other acts of economic “sabotage.”  Traditionally, the EFCC has achieved the most success in prosecuting low-level internet scam operators.  A relatively few high-profile convictions have taken place, such as a former governor of Adamawa State, a former governor of Bayelsa State, a former Inspector General of Police, and a former Chair of the Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority.  The EFCC also arrested a former National Security Advisor (NSA), a former Minister of State for Finance, a former NSA Director of Finance and Administration, and others on charges related to diversion of funds intended for government arms procurement.  EFCC investigations have led to 5,562 convictions since 2010, with 2,200 in 2021.  In 2020 the EFCC announced that the Buhari administration convicted 1,692 defendants and recovered over $2.6 billion in assets over the previous four-year period.  In 2021, EFCC’s investigation of a former petroleum minister resulted in seizure of properties valued more than $80M.  

The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act of 2001 established an Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to prosecute individuals, government officials, and businesses for corruption.  The Corrupt Practices Act punishes over 19 offenses, including accepting or giving bribes, fraudulent acquisition of property, and concealment of fraud.  Nigerian law stipulates that giving and receiving bribes constitute criminal offences and, as such, are not tax deductible.  Between 2019-2020 the ICPC filed 178 cases in court and secured convictions in 51 cases.  The ICPC announced in early 2022 that it had recovered cash and assets valued at 166.51 billion naira (about $400 million at the official exchange rate) from corrupt persons in the preceding two and half years.  

In 2021, the Deputy Commissioner of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and Chief of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Abba Kyari, often publicly referred to as “Nigeria’s Supercop,” was suspended from the NPF and arrested for drug dealing, evidence tampering, and corruption for reportedly accepting bribes from a Nigerian internet fraudster Ramon Abbas, popularly known as “Hushpuppi,” who pleaded guilty to money laundering in the United States.  The Nigeria Police Service Commission finalized the suspension of Kyari on July 31, following the release of unsealed court documents filed in a U.S. District Court ordering the arrest of Kyari for his involvement in a $1.1 million fraud scheme with Abbas.  Kyari is alleged to have solicited payment for the detainment and arrest of Abbas at Abbas’s behest.  

In 2016, Nigeria announced its participation in the Open Government Partnership, a significant step forward on public financial management and fiscal transparency.  The Ministry of Justice presented Nigeria’s National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership.  

Implementation of its 14 commitments has made some progress, particularly on the issues such as tax transparency, ease of doing business, and asset recovery.  The National Action Plan, which ran through 2019, covered five major themes:  ensuring citizens’ participation in the budget cycle, implementing open contracting and adoption of open contracting data standards, increasing transparency in the extractive sectors, adopting common reporting standards like the Addis Tax initiative, and improving the ease of doing business.  Full implementation of the National Action Plan would be a significant step forward for Nigeria’s fiscal transparency, although Nigeria has not fully completed any commitment to date. 

The Buhari administration created a network of agencies intended to work together to achieve anticorruption goals – the EFCC, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – and which are principally responsible for the recovery of the ill-gotten assets and diverted tax liabilities.  The government launched the Financial Transparency Policy and Portal, commonly referred to as Open Treasury Portal, in 2019, to increase transparency and governmental accountability of funds transferred by making the daily treasury statement public.  The Open Treasury Portal mandates that all ministries, departments, and agencies publish daily reports of payments in excess of N5m ($13,800).  Agencies are also required to publish budget performance reports and other official financial statements monthly. Anticorruption activists demand more reforms and increased transparency in defense, oil and gas, and infrastructure procurement.   

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act of 2007 provided for the establishment of the NEITI organization, charged with developing a framework for transparency and accountability in the reporting and disclosure by all extractive industry companies of revenue due to or paid to the Nigerian government.  NEITI serves as a member of the international Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which provides a global standard for revenue transparency for extractive industries like oil and gas and mining.  Nigeria is party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.  Nigeria is not a member of the OECD and not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

Foreign companies, whether incorporated in Nigeria or not, may bid on government projects and generally receive national treatment in government procurement, but may also be subject to a local content vehicle (e.g., partnership with a local partner firm or the inclusion of one in a consortium) or other prerequisites which are likely to vary from tender to tender.  Corruption and lack of transparency in tender processes have been a far greater concern to U.S. companies than discriminatory policies based on foreign status.  Government tenders are published in local newspapers, a “tenders” journal sold at local newspaper outlets, and occasionally in foreign journals and magazines.  The Nigerian government has made modest progress on its pledge to conduct open and competitive bidding processes for government procurement with the introduction of the Nigeria Open Contracting Portal in 2017 under the Bureau of Public Procurement.  

The Public Procurement Law of 2007 established the Bureau of Public Procurement as the successor agency to the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit.  It acts as a clearinghouse for government contracts and procurement and monitors the implementation of projects to ensure compliance with contract terms and budgetary restrictions.  Procurements above 100 million naira (approximately $243,000) reportedly undergo full “due process,” but government agencies routinely flout public procurement requirements.  Some of the 36 states of the federation have also passed public procurement legislation.

Certain such reforms have also improved transparency in procurement by the state-owned NNPC.  Although U.S. companies have won contracts in numerous sectors, difficulties in receiving payment are not uncommon and can deter firms from bidding.  Supplier or foreign government subsidized financing arrangements appear in some cases to be a crucial factor in the award of government procurements.  Nigeria is not a signatory to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.

10. Political and Security Environment

Political, criminal, and ethnic violence continue to affect Nigeria.  Boko Haram and Islamic State – West Africa (ISIS-WA) have waged violent terrorist campaigns, killing of thousands of people in the country’s North East.  Boko Haram and ISIS-WA attacked civilians, military, police, humanitarian, and religious targets; recruited and forcefully conscripted child soldiers; and carried out scores of attacks on population centers in the North East and in neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.  Abductions by Boko Haram and ISIS-WA continue.  These attacks resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries, numerous human rights abuses, widespread destruction, the internal displacement of more than three million persons, and the external displacement of at least 327,000 Nigerian refugees to neighboring countries as of the end of 2021.  ISIS-WA terrorists demonstrated increased ability to conduct complex attacks against military outposts and formations.  During 2021, ISIS-WA terrorists took over significant territory formerly held by Boko Haram.  ISIS-WA expanded efforts to implement shadow governance structures in large swaths of Borno State.

President Buhari has sought to address matters of insecurity in Nigeria.  While the terrorists maintain the ability to stage forces in rural areas and launch attacks against civilian and military targets across the North East, Nigeria is also facing rural violence in many parts of the country carried out by criminals who raid villages and abduct civilians for ransom.  Longstanding disputes between migratory pastoralist and farming communities, exacerbated by increasingly scarce resources and intensified by climate change impacts, also continue to afflict the country.  

Due to challenging security dynamics throughout the country, the U.S. Mission to Nigeria has significantly limited official travel in the North East, and travel to other parts of Nigeria requires security precautions.  The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a political separatist group declared a terrorist organization by the Nigerian government in 2013, established a militant arm in December 2020, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).  ESN has been blamed for a surge in attacks in early 2021 against Nigerian police and security installations across the South East, the region in which IPOB claims the most support.  Following extradition from Kenya and subsequent arrest of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu in June 2021, IPOB/ESN issued a “stay at home” order on Mondays for the five states of the South East (Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo).  Residents or visitors to the area who disobey the order have faced violent intimidation, which has led to a near complete shutdown of activity across the South East each Monday and other days significant to Kanu’s trial.  The U.S. Mission to Nigeria does not allow official travel in those states on days that a stay-at-home order is in place. 

Decades of neglect, persistent poverty, and environmental damage caused by oil spills and illegal refining activities have left Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta region vulnerable to renewed violence.  Though each oil-producing state receives a 13% derivation of the oil revenue produced within its borders, and several government agencies, including the Niger Delta Development Corporation (NDDC) and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, are tasked with implementing development projects, bureaucratic mismanagement and corruption have prevented these investments from yielding meaningful economic and social development in the region.  Niger Delta criminals have demonstrated their ability to attack and severely damage oil instillations at will, as seen when they cut Nigeria’s production by more than half in 2016.  Attacks on oil installations decreased due to a revamped amnesty program and high-level engagement with the region at the time, but the underlying economic woes and historical grievances of the local communities were not addressed.  As a result, insecurity in various forms continues to plague the region.  

More significant in recent years is the region’s shift from attacks against oil infrastructure to illegal oil bunkering and illicit refining.  In its July 2021 audit, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) reported that Nigeria lost 42.25 million barrels of crude oil to oil theft in 2019, valued at $2.77 billion.  While the Nigerian Navy Eastern Naval Command disclosed that it had deactivated 175 illegal refineries and seized 27 vessels throughout its area of operation over a period of 11 months during 2021, such illegal activities have nonetheless continued, and oil theft remains a significant issue for both the industry and the region’s environment.  In 2021, Nigeria reportedly lost $3.5 billion in revenue to crude oil theft, representing approximately 10% of the country’s foreign reserves, and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) still reports hundreds of oil spills each year.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Nigeria’s skilled labor pool has declined over the past decade due to inadequate educational systems, limited employment opportunities, and the migration of educated Nigerians to other countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and South Africa.  The low employment capacity of Nigeria’s formal sector means that almost three-quarters of all Nigerians work in the informal and agricultural sectors or are unemployed.  Companies involved in formal sector businesses, such as banking and insurance, possess an adequately skilled workforce.  Manufacturing and construction sector workers often require on-the-job training.  The result is that while individual wages are low, individual productivity is also low, which means overall relative labor costs can be high.  The Buhari Administration is pushing reforms in the education sector to improve the supply of skilled workers but this and other efforts run by state governments are in their initial stages.   

The labor movement has long been active and influential in Nigeria.  Labor organizations remain politically active and are prone to call for strikes on a regular basis against the national and state governments.  Since 2000, unions have successfully called eight general strikes.  While most labor actions are peaceful, difficult economic conditions fuel the risk that these actions could become violent.  

Nigeria’s constitution guarantees the rights of free assembly and association and protects workers’ rights to form or belong to trade unions.  Several statutory laws, nonetheless, restrict the rights of workers to associate or disassociate with labor organizations.  Nigerian unions belong to one of three trade union federations:  the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), which tends to represent junior (i.e., blue collar) workers; the United Labor Congress of Nigeria (ULC), which represents a group of unions that separated from the NLC in 2015; and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), which represents the “senior” (i.e., white collar) workers.  

According to figures provided by the Ministry of Labor and Employment, total union membership stands at roughly seven million.  A majority of these union members work in the public sector, although unions exist across the private sector.  The Trade Union Amendment Act of 2005 allowed non-management senior staff to join unions.  

Collective bargaining in the oil and gas industry is relatively efficient compared to other sectors. Issues pertaining to salaries, benefits, health and safety, and working conditions tend to be resolved quickly through negotiations.  Workers under collective bargaining agreements cannot participate in strikes unless their unions comply with the requirements of the law, which includes provisions for mandatory mediation and referral of disputes to the Nigerian government.  Despite these restrictions on staging strikes, unions occasionally conduct strikes in the private and public sectors without warning.  In 2021, localized strikes occurred in the education, government, energy, power, and healthcare sectors.  The law forbids employers from granting general wage increases to workers without prior government approval, but the law is not often enforced.  

In April 2019, President Buhari signed into law a new minimum wage, increasing it from 18,000 naira ($50 at the 2019 official exchange rate) to 30,000 naira ($73 at the 2021 official exchange rate) per month.  More than 15 state governments have yet to commence with the implementation of the new minimum wage. [Note:  The federal government has even threatened to sanction the management of the National Assembly over its breach of the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2019, for failing to pay its employees at the new minimum rate as of April 18, 2019.] Nigeria’s Labor Act provides for a 40-hour work week, two to four weeks of annual leave, and overtime and holiday pay for all workers except agricultural and domestic workers.  No law prohibits compulsory overtime.  The Act establishes general health and safety provisions, some of which specifically apply to young or female workers and requires the Ministry of Labor and Employment to inspect factories for compliance with health and safety standards.  Under-funding and limited resources undermine the Ministry’s oversight capacity, and construction sites and other non-factory work sites are often ignored.  Nigeria’s labor law requires employers to compensate injured workers and dependent survivors of workers killed in industrial accidents.

The Nigerian Minister of Labor and Employment may refer unresolved disputes to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) and the National Industrial Court (NIC).  In 2015, the NIC launched an Alternative Dispute Resolution Center.  Union officials question the effectiveness and independence of the NIC, believing it unable to resolve disputes stemming from Nigerian government failure to fulfill contract provisions for public sector employees.  Union leaders criticize the arbitration system’s dependence on the Minister of Labor and Employment’s referrals to the IAP.

The issue of child labor remains of great concern in Nigeria, where an estimated 15 million children under the age of 14 are working, and about half this population being exploited as workers in hazardous situations according to the International Labor Organization (ILO).  Nigeria’s laws regarding minimum age for child labor and hazardous work are inconsistent. Article 59 of the Labor Act of 1974 sets the minimum age of employment at 12, and it is in force throughout Nigeria.  The Act also permits children of any age to do light work alongside a family member in agriculture, horticulture, or domestic service.

The Federal 2003 Child Rights Act (CRA) codifies the rights of children in Nigeria and must be ratified by each State to become law in its territory.  To date, 28 states and the Federal Capital Territory have ratified the CRA, with all eight of the remaining states located in northern Nigeria. [Note: The legislatures in Kebbi and Yobe States tentatively approved the law and are only awaiting their governors’ signatures to ratify the bills.]

The CRA states that the provisions related to young people in the Labor Act apply to children under the CRA, but also that the CRA supersedes any other legislation related to children.  The CRA restricts children under the age of 18 from any work aside from light work for family members; however, Article 59 of the Labor Act applies these restrictions only to children under the age of 12.  This language makes it unclear what minimum ages apply for certain types of work in the country. 

While the Labor Act forbids the employment of youth under age 18 in work that is dangerous to their health, safety, or morals, it allows children to participate in certain types of work that may be dangerous by setting different age thresholds for various activities.  For example, the Labor Act allows children age 16 and older to work at night in gold mining and the manufacturing of iron, steel, paper, raw sugar, and glass.  Furthermore, the Labor Act does not extend to children employed in domestic service.  Thus, children are vulnerable to dangerous work in industrial undertakings, underground, with machines, and in domestic service.  In addition, the prohibitions established by the Labor Act and CRA are not comprehensive or specific enough to facilitate enforcement.  In 2013, the National Steering Committee (NSC) for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Nigeria validated the Report on the Identification of Hazardous Child Labor in Nigeria.  The report has languished with the Ministry of Labor and Employment and still awaits the promulgation of guidelines for operationalizing the report. 

The Nigerian government adopted the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition), Enforcement, and Administration Act of 2015.  While not specifically directed against child labor, many sections of the law support anti-child labor efforts.  The Violence against Persons Prohibition Act was signed into law in 2015 and, while not specifically focused on child labor, it covers related elements such as “depriving a person of his/her liberty,” “forced financial dependence/economic abuse,” and “forced isolation/separation from family and friends” and is applicable to minors.

Draft legislation, such as a new Labor Standards Act which includes provisions on child labor, and an Occupational Safety and Health Act that would regulate hazardous work, have remained under consideration in the National Assembly since 2006. 

Admission of foreign workers is overseen by the Ministry of the Interior.  Employers must seek the consent of the Ministry in order to employ foreign workers by applying for an “expatriate quota.”  The quota allows a company to employ foreign nationals in specifically approved job designations as well as specifying the validity period of the designations provided on the quota.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2021 $422,240 2020 $432,294 https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/
NY.GDP.MKTP.CD?locations=NG
 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2020 $9,405 BEA data available at BEA : Nigeria –
International Trade and Investment
Country Facts
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2020 $132 BEA data available at BEA : Nigeria –
International Trade and Investment
Country Facts
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2020 0.55% https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/
BX.KLT.DINV.WD.GD.ZS?locations=NG
 

* Source for Host Country Data: Nigerian Bureau of Statistics

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward $74,256 100% Total Outward $13,213 100%
Netherlands, The $13,640 18% United Kingdom $2,380 18%
United States $9,405 13% Netherlands, The $1,217 9%
France $8,798 12% Bermuda $1,014 8%
United Kingdom $8,132 11% Ghana $917 7%
Bermuda $7,696 10% Norway $808 6%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment
Data not available.

Republic of the Congo

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) remains a well-known concept in ROC that local communities view favorably. Foreign oil companies constitute the primary CSR actors. Telecommunications and transportation companies and banks have increasingly supported CSR initiatives to improve their public image. The government utilizes CSR contributions to help finance hospitals, education, nutrition programs, and road construction.

The government has not taken any specific measures to encourage responsible business conduct (RBC). The government has not established a national contact point or ombudsman for RBC, nor has it established a national action plan to define and drive its approach to RBC. The government encourages RBC by partnering with or endorsing companies’ CSR initiatives. RBC policies do not factor significantly into government procurement decisions.

There are no known or alleged human or labor rights concerns relating to RBC that foreign businesses should be aware of. There are no known claims in the last five years by indigenous or other communities that a government entity improperly allocated land or natural resources.

No known high-profile, controversial instances of private sector entities negatively impacting human rights exist.

The GROC enforces domestic laws related to human rights, labor rights, consumer protection, environmental protections, and commerce inconsistently.

No known corporate governance, accounting, or executive compensation standards exist to protect shareholders.

No independent NGOs, investment funds, worker organizations/unions, or business associations specifically promote or monitor RBC practices. Civil society groups promote individual matters of interest on a case-by-case basis.

ROC does not adhere to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas. No domestic measures require supply chain due diligence for companies that source minerals that may originate from conflict-affected areas.

ROC participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The latest report was published in 2020. No domestic transparency measures require the disclosure of payments made to the government and/or of RBC policies or practices.

ROC has a small private security industry. However, the use of private security companies is becoming more widespread for private companies and well-off individuals. ROC is not signatory of The Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies, and/or a supporter of the International Code of Conduct or Private Security Service Providers, and/or a participant in the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers’ Association (ICoCA).

9. Corruption

ROC adopted a law against corruption by public officials, “Code de Transparence dans les Finances Publiques,” on March 9, 2017. It adopted another comprehensive law against corruption, “Prévention et Lutte contre la Corruption et les Infractions Assimilées” on January 24, 2022. The ROC government inconsistently enforces both of these laws.

The corruption laws apply to elected and appointed officials. They do not extend to family members of officials or to political parties.

No specific laws or regulations address conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

ROC does not encourage or require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials.

Some private companies, particularly multinationals, use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

ROC is a party to the UN Anticorruption Convention.

ROC does not provide protection to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) investigating corruption. NGOs report that government corruption results in self-censoring of reporting and investigations into corruption.

U.S. firms routinely cite corruption as an impediment to investment, particularly in the petroleum sector. Corruption can be found in nearly all sectors including government procurement, award of licenses or concessions, transfers, performance requirements, dispute settlement, regulatory systems, customs, and taxation.

10. Political and Security Environment

The most recent period of civil strife and violence ended in December 2017, when anti-government forces in the Pool region, which surrounds the capital of Brazzaville, signed a ceasefire agreement with the government. Before this violence, the country was in civil conflict from 1997 to 1999.

There are no known examples of damage to commercial projects and/or installations in the past ten years. Civil disturbances have occasionally resulted in damage to high-profile, public places such as police stations.

While elections in 2021 were peaceful, political violence and civil unrest may occur. In the past, political demonstrations have led to armed clashed, deaths, and injuries.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Migrant workers from multiple Asiatic, European, and African origins work in the extractive industries, predominantly in skilled positions and management roles. Foreign workers are also present in major construction companies, usually as engineers and management. Women make up the bulk of the informal market sector. Women are employed across all sectors, but rarely seen in public transportation roles or as mechanics. It is very difficult for people with handicaps to work in the formal sector, but there are no statistics that capture the extent of the barriers. Indigenous populations are underrepresented in the labor force due to a lack of access to education, their concentration in rural underdeveloped areas, and discrimination. There are no statistics indicating the percentage of skilled versus unskilled labor in ROC, but the weakness of the secondary education system, lack of post-secondary education options in the country, low availability of trade schools or trade apprenticeships, and limited access to equipment lends itself to a higher concentration of unskilled labor. Unemployment in ROC remains high, with youth and women disproportionately affected. ROC does not publish unemployment data, affecting international partners abilities to publish data. The last World Bank report on unemployment estimates unemployment was 22.8 percent in 2020.

The majority of the population operates in the informal sector of the economy and does not declare revenues and profits, pay taxes, or pay employee benefits to the state. According to a Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise’s study in 2019, financed by the World Bank, 93.4 percent of businesses in ROC operate in the informal sector. Women are more represented in the informal sector, especially in local public markets. The same study asserts women entrepreneurs face additional structural challenges establishing and operating a business and accessing credit. The study does not include the percentage of women represented in the informal sector.

Skilled labor shortages exist in several technical areas, including medicine, engineering, math, science, and banking. The government has no specific training programs to address these shortages.

Several laws and government policies including the Hydrocarbon Law, the Local Content Law, and industry-specific bargaining agreements require preferential treatment in the hiring process to Congolese nationals.

Government regulations govern employment adjustments in response to changing market conditions and include a severance requirement. Employers must demonstrate that market conditions have changed and obtain government approval before adjusting employment. Congolese severance laws differentiate between layoffs and firing. An employer must generally document malfeasance to terminate an employee for cause. There is no unemployment insurance or other social safety net programs for workers laid off for economic reasons. Most workers laid off for economic reasons rely on their former employer’s unemployment compensation.

The government may waive some labor laws to attract or retain investment on a case-by-case basis. ROC has, for example, waived the requirement for certain multinationals to hire a Congolese general manager. No known labor law exceptions exist for Special Economic Zones versus the economy writ large.

Collective bargaining is widely used in the ROC, and more than half of companies used it in various industries. These industries include the extractive sectors, telecommunications, construction and public works, local international organization offices, and the finance sector.

The Labor Court system mediates and arbitrates labor disputes.

There were no major strikes that posed an investment risk occurred during the reporting period.

There are no serious questions of compliance in law or practice with international labor standards for working conditions that may pose a reputational risk to investors exist. The International Labor Organization has not identified any potential gaps in law or practice with international labor standards. The government did not enact any new labor laws or regulations during the last year.

Rwanda

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There is a growing awareness of corporate social responsibility (CSR) within Rwanda, and several foreign-owned companies operating locally implement CSR programs. Rwanda also has guidelines on corporate governance by publicly listed companies. One of the most relevant sectors for CSR-minded investors is mining. Rwanda implements the OECD’s Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. Rwanda also implements the International Tin Supply Chain Initiative tracing scheme. In 2016, the Better Sourcing Program (currently RCS Global Group) began an alternative mineral tracing scheme in Rwanda. Rwanda is not a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Recent U.S. sanctions announcements against individuals fueling conflict in the eastern DRC via trafficking of illicit conflict minerals, including gold, mention Rwanda and Uganda as supply chain transit points.

In recognition of the firm’s strong commitment to CSR, the U.S. Department of State awarded Sorwathe, a U.S.-owned tea producer in Kinihira, Rwanda, the Secretary of State’s 2012 Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) for Small and Medium Enterprises. In 2015, the U.S. firm Gigawatt Global was also a finalist for the Secretary of State’s ACE award in the environmental sustainability category. In January 2021, Illinois-based Abbot laboratories was given the ACE award in recognition of its work to expand preventative health care in rural areas of Rwanda.

9. Corruption

Rwanda is ranked among the least corrupt countries in Africa, with Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index putting the country among Africa’s four least corrupt nations and 52nd in the world. The GOR maintains a high-profile anti-corruption effort, and senior leaders consistently emphasize that combating corruption is a key national goal. The government investigates corruption allegations and generally punishes those found guilty. High-ranking officials accused of corruption often resign during the investigation period, and the GOR has prosecuted many of them. Rwanda has ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention, is a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery and is a signatory to the African Union Anticorruption Convention. U.S. firms have identified the perceived lack of government corruption in Rwanda as a key incentive for investing in the country. At the same time, some investors have reported widespread corruption at lower, administrative levels of government, including with customs, tax, and police officials. There are no local industry or non-profit groups offering services for vetting potential local investment partners. The Ministry of Justice’s online  repository of judgments can be a useful source of information on companies and individuals in Rwanda. The Rwanda National Public Prosecution Authority  issues criminal records on demand to applicants.

10. Political and Security Environment

Rwanda is a stable country with relatively little violent crime. According to a 2017 report by the World Economic Forum, Rwanda is the ninth safest country in the world. Gallup’s Global Law and Order Index report of 2020 ranked Rwanda as the second safest place in sub-Saharan Africa. Investors have cited the stable political and security environment as an important driver of investments. A strong police and military provide a security umbrella that minimizes potential criminal activity.

The U.S. Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling near the Rwanda-Democratic Republic of Congo border, given the possibility of fighting and cross-border attacks involving armed rebel and militia groups. Relations between Burundi and Rwanda are currently warming but have been tense in recent years, and there remains a risk of cross-border incursions and armed clashes. Since 2018, there have been a few incidents of sporadic fighting in districts bordering Burundi and the DRC and in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park and Volcanoes National Park.

In 2021, Rwandan authorities arrested several individuals accused of being ISIS members. Authorities stated the individuals were planning an imminent attack in Kigali. There have been several reported cross-border attacks in Western Rwanda on Rwandan police and military posts since 2016. Despite occasional violence along Rwanda’s borders with the DRC and Burundi, there have been no incidents involving politically motivated damage to investment projects or installations since the late 1990s. Relations with Uganda have been tense in recent years, but leaders continue to emphasize they are seeking a political solution. As of March 2022, Rwanda-Uganda relations appear to be improving. For example, in early 2022, Rwandan and Ugandan officials agreed to reopen the largest border crossing between the two countries. The border crossing had been largely closed to regular traffic since February 2019.

Please see the following link for State Department Country Specific Information.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

General labor is available, but Rwanda suffers from a shortage of skilled labor, including accountants, lawyers, engineers, tradespeople, and technicians. Higher institutes of technology, private universities, and vocational institutes are improving and producing more highly trained graduates each year. The Rwanda Workforce Development Authority sponsors programs to support both short and long-term professional trainings targeting key industries in Rwanda.

Rwanda’s informal economy is concentrated in the agriculture sector, which contributes 24 percent of GDP but employs close to 70 percent of the country’s population. The Government of Rwanda has taken steps to formalize large portions of its informal economy, for example, by banning street vendors. Rwanda also requires all private sector employers to formalize contracts. The economic disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic have eliminated many formal employment opportunities and forced many workers back into the informal sector.

Investors are strongly encouraged to hire Rwandan nationals whenever possible. According to the Investment Code, a registered investor who invests an equivalent of at least $250,000 may recruit three foreign employees. However, several foreign investors reported difficulties bringing in qualified staff in accordance with the Investment Code due to Rwandan immigration rules and practices. In some cases, these problems occurred even though investors had signed agreements with the government regarding the number of foreign employees.

Rwanda has ratified all the International Labor Organization’s eight core conventions. Policies to protect workers in special labor conditions exist, but enforcement remains inconsistent. The government encourages, but does not require, on-the-job training and technology transfer to local employees. The law restricts voluntary collective bargaining by requiring prior authorization or approval by authorities and requiring binding arbitration in cases of non-conciliation. The law provides some workers the right to conduct strikes, but due to numerous restrictions, workers rarely engage in strikes. In 2020, the government published additional specifications for labor representatives, regulations against strikes, and guidelines providing labor inspectors greater authority to access to workplaces and assess fines. The GOR has been known to take swift action against foreign companies with poor labor practices upon initial complaints from workers. There is no unemployment insurance or other social safety net programs for workers laid off for economic reasons. Labor laws are not waived to attract or retain investment. There are no labor law provisions specific to SEZs or industrial parks. Collective bargaining is a relatively new concept in Rwanda and is not common. Few professional associations fix minimum salaries for their members and some investors have expressed concern that labor law enforcement is uneven or opaque. The official minimum wage has not changed since 1974 and is 100 Rwandan francs ($0.10) per day.

Senegal

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Following the lead of foreign companies, some Senegalese firms have begun adopting corporate social responsibility programs and responsible business conduct standards. However, this movement is not yet widespread.

Senegal’s 2016 Mining Code specifies the criteria and procedures by which the government awards natural resource extraction contracts or licenses. The code requires mining companies to participate in transparency reporting following the guidelines of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The GOS appears to follow the Mining Code and its implementing regulations in practice, although unregulated artisanal mining is common in some areas. Basic information on awards was publicly available online through the government’s official journal, and included details regarding geographic areas, resources under development, companies involved, and the duration of contracts. In January 2019, the government adopted a new Petroleum Code, which clarifies mechanisms for reserving revenues from oil and gas projects to the government. Senegal has been an active member of the EITI since 2013. In May 2018, the EITI Board declared Senegal the first country in Africa to have made “satisfactory progress” in implementing EITI standards. In October 2019, Senegal hosted the 41st quarterly meeting of the EITI Board, along with a conference on EITI implementation in Africa. The government’s EITI committee reports directly to the President.

9. Corruption

Senegalese law provides criminal penalties for corruption. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (OFNAC) has a mandate to enforce anti-corruption laws. In January 2020, OFNAC released overdue reports on its activities for 2017 and 2018 and swore in six new executive-level officials, bringing its managing board to a full complement for the first time in several years. A 2014 law requires the President, cabinet ministers, speaker and chief financial officer of the National Assembly, and managers of public funds more than one billion CFA francs (approximately $1.8 million) to disclose their assets to OFNAC. In 2020, all but one of these government officials complied with these disclosure requirements.

The GOS has made limited progress in improving its anti-corruption efforts. The current administration has mounted corruption investigations against several public officials (primarily the President’s political rivals) and has secured several convictions. In July 2020, President Sall launched an initiative to enforce a requirement that cabinet members and other high-level officials disclose their assets and issued a report disclosing his own personal assets.

The GOS has also taken steps to increase budget transparency in line with regional standards. Senegal ranked 73 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index. Notwithstanding Senegal’s positive reputation for corruption relative to regional peers, the government often did not enforce the law effectively, and some officials continued to engage in corrupt practices with impunity. Reports of corruption ranged from rent-seeking by bureaucrats involved in public approvals to opaque public procurement to corruption in the police and judiciary. Allegations of corruption against President Sall and his brother related to the development of oil and gas emerged in the press in 2019. While a subsequent investigation did not uncover wrong-doing, suspicions of high-level government corruption remain among many in civil society and the political opposition.

Senegal’s financial intelligence unit, Cellule Nationale de Traitement des Informations Financières (National Financial Information Processing Unit, CENTIF), is responsible for investigating money laundering and terrorist financing. CENTIF has broad authority to investigate suspicious financial transactions, including those of government officials. In February 2019, the regional FATF body – the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering (GIABA) – issued a Mutual Evaluation Report of Senegal’s anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing (AML/CTF) performance, measured by FATF standards. Although GIABA found the GOS’s understanding of AML/CTF standards and risks adequate, it gave Senegal non-compliant or partially compliant ratings on 26 of FATF’s 40 AML/CTF legal standards. Senegal also received ten low ratings and one moderate rating on the FATF’s 11 indicators measuring efforts to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and weapons of mass destruction proliferation financing. Key weaknesses included: lack of domestic legislation implementing BCEAO AML/CTF directives; inadequate monitoring of nonprofits and non-financial professions, such as lawyers and accountants, who engage in financial transactions; inadequate inspections and sanctions of financial institutions; weak interagency cooperation; and poor AML/CTF capacity among police, judiciary, and customs. As a result, and in the absence of improvements, in February 2021, FATF added Senegal to its “gray list.” The GOS has committed to an action plan to address its deficiencies.

It is important for U.S. companies to assess corruption risks and develop an effective compliance program to prevent corruption, including bribery. U.S. firms operating in Senegal can underscore to partners that they are subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and may seek legal counsel to ensure full compliance with anti-corruption laws. The U.S. Government seeks to level the global playing field for U.S. businesses by encouraging other countries to take steps to criminalize all corruption, including bribery of officials, and requiring governments to uphold their obligations under relevant international conventions. A U.S. firm that believes a competitor is using bribery to secure a contract may convey this to U.S. officials.

Senegal is a signatory of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption but is not a signatory of the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery.

10. Political and Security Environment

Senegal has long been regarded as an anchor of stability in politically unstable West Africa. It is the only regional country that has never had a coup d’état. International observers assessed the February 2019 presidential election, in which President Sall won a second term, as free and fair, despite a few instances of campaign violence. Public protests occasionally spawn isolated incidents of violence when unions, opposition parties, merchants, or students demand better salaries, working conditions, or other benefits.

The March 2021 arrest of opposition figure Ousmane Sonko on alleged rape charges led to several days of intense protests that spiraled into widespread riots and looting. The unrest, Senegal’s worst in decades, was fueled by pandemic-related hardship, particularly among the youth. According to press reports, 14 people died, hundreds were injured, and private businesses across the country were damaged. While a few local businesses were damaged, firms associated with France – historically targeted by some groups as relics of the colonial past — bore the brunt of the looting and property damage. Despite this bout of unrest, foreign investors largely remained confident in Senegal’s stability and economic rebound. Most observers agreed that strong private sector investment, facilitated by improvements to the business climate and better mobilization of capital, is needed to address youth employment.

Years of declining violence in the Casamance region, home of a four-decade-old separatist conflict, ignited into a full military conflict between Senegal’s army and elements of the Movement of Democratic Forces in Casamance (MFDC) in March 2022. The Senegalese government indicated that the military operation would continue until MFDC resistance is eradicated, putting an end to the armed separatist movement.

Security is a top priority for the government, which increased its defense and security budget by 92 percent between 2012 and 2017. The Armed Forces Ministry noted a 32 percent budget increase for the fiscal year 2021.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Senegal’s Labor Code, based on the French system, was last updated in 1997. The code retains a rigid approach that, according to some observers, favors social over economic goals. Rules relating to employment contracts, layoffs, and redundancy protections are some of the most stringent in the world, imposing high costs on businesses. However, labor law is not well-enforced, especially in the dominant informal sector.

Acquiring work permits for expatriate staff is typically straightforward. Citizens from WAEMU member countries may work freely in Senegal.

Senegal has an abundant supply of unskilled and semi-skilled labor, with a more limited supply of skilled workers in engineering and technical fields. While Senegal has one of the best higher educational systems in West Africa and produces a substantial pool of educated workers, limited job opportunities in Senegal lead many to emigrate.

Relations between employees and employers are governed by the Labor Code, industry-wide collective bargaining agreements, company regulations, and individual employment contracts. The Code provides legal protection for women and children and prohibits forced or compulsory labor. It also establishes minimum standards for working age, working hours, and working conditions, and bars children from performing many dangerous jobs. Senegal ratified International Labor Organization Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labor in 2000. The Code recognizes the right of workers to form and join trade unions. Any group of workers in a similar trade or profession may create a union, although formal approval by the Ministry of the Interior is required. The right to strike is recognized but sometimes restricted. The GOS has the authority to dissolve trade unions and requisition workers from private enterprises.

Two powerful industry associations represent management’s interests: the National Council of Employers and the National Employers’ Association. The principal labor unions are the National Confederation of Senegalese Workers and the National Association of Senegalese Union Workers, a federation of independent labor unions. Collective bargaining agreements cover an estimated 44 percent of formal sector workers. Most workers, however, work in the informal sector, where labor rules are not enforced.

Child labor remains a problem, particularly in the informal sector, mining, construction, transportation, domestic work, agriculture, and fishing, where labor regulations are rarely enforced. Despite some progress, Senegal still struggles with forced child begging. Tens of thousands of religious students (talibés) are enrolled in Koranic schools (daaras) where some are forced to beg to enrich teachers, a corruption of the intended lesson in humility. The GOS has made some progress in combatting these practices, but more progress is needed.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) N/A N/A 2020 $25,051 Senegal GDP 
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2019 $114 U.S. FDI in Senegal 
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2019 $0 Senegal FDI in United States 
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2020 34.6% Total FDI in Senegal 

“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions) in 2019
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward $4,688 100% Total Outward $949 100%
France #1 $2,333 50% France #1 $409 43%
Mauritius #2 $636 14% Mali #2 $129 14%
Canada #3 $626 14% Cote d’Ivoire #3 $127 13%
Nigeria #4 $200 4% India #4 $93 10%
China #5 $180 4% Mauritius #5 $69 7%

Data 

Seychelles

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Seychellois society has a high level of awareness of corporate social responsibility (CSR), especially in environmental protection and social programs, but CSR is generally regarded as a function of government. Since 2013, the Seychelles Revenue Commission has collected a CSR tax of 0.5 percent on monthly turnover for businesses with an annual turnover of SCR 1 million or more. In April 2021, the CSR Tax Repeal Bill was passed to abolish the CSR tax to provide businesses with additional liquidity during the pandemic and to deter businesses from operating in the informal sector to avoid this tax. Officially, there are no waivers available for foreign investors with regard to labor law, employment rights, consumer protection, or environmental standards.

The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor. While the government’s efforts to combat labor trafficking significantly increased in 2021, Seychelles still did not meet the minimum international standards. Migrant workers were the population most vulnerable to forced labor, including nonpayment of wages, physical abuse, fraudulent recruitment schemes, delayed payment of their salaries, and failure to provide them with adequate housing, resulting in substandard living conditions. In past years, there have been reports of passport seizures and confiscations to prevent workers from changing employers prior to the end of their two-year contracts. NGOs reported that traffickers have exploited migrant workers aboard foreign-flagged fishing vessels in Seychelles’ territorial waters and ports, including through nonpayment of wages and physical abuse. Labor recruitment agents based in Seychelles have exploited migrant workers, often with the assistance of a local Seychellois accomplice. Migrant workers often signed their employment contracts upon arrival in Seychelles and frequently could not read the language, which traffickers exploited in fraudulent recruitment tactics.

Seychelles currently has no production in the extractive sector, but international companies have undertaken petroleum exploration activities offshore. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) accepted Seychelles as a candidate country in August 2014 and Seychelles’ validation against the standard began in January 2018. In September 2020, the EITI Board assessed Seychelles as having achieved “meaningful progress” in implementing the 2019 EITI Standard. The 2020 draft validation assessment can be accessed at: https://eiti.org/documents/seychelles-validation-2020.

Seychelles adopted a Beneficial Ownership Act in March 2020, which includes a definition of beneficial owners. The law entered into force in January 2021. Extractive companies are the only sector where beneficial ownership disclosures will be made publicly available. The next validation is scheduled to commence in January 2023.

Seychelles, a major player in the global tuna industry, joined the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) in 2017. The FiTI International Board approved Seychelles’ candidate application in April 2020.  Seychelles has submitted two FiTI reports covering calendar years 2019 and 2020, and the next report is due by December 2022. The first validation against the FiTI standard is expected to be completed by October 2022.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

Climate Issues

According to a UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) report, Seychelles is vulnerable to storms, floods, and landslides. The Seychellois Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment (MACE) manages key climate policies.  Seychelles’ 2020 National Climate Change Policy created the National Climate Change Council chaired by the vice president to coordinate all climate change actions.  The council must report on the implementation status of all national and international climate change obligations to the cabinet of ministers and the National Assembly.

In November 2021, at the Conference of Parties 26 (COP 26), the Seychellois government pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 26.4 percent of the business-as-usual scenario 2030 value.  To achieve this target, the government plans to reform in its energy, refrigeration and air conditioning, transport, and waste sectors.  Details of the reforms for each sector will be included in the 2022 Seychelles Updated National Climate Change Strategy and the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) implementation plan the government was preparing as of March 2022.  Seychelles has a long-term strategy to make its energy supply solely based on renewables as outlined in its 2010-2030 energy policy by focusing on the development of offshore wind and photovoltaic technologies.

The government expects private sector contributions to reform the energy and transport sectors and to develop the aquaculture sector.  While the contributions for the energy and transport sectors will be detailed in upcoming sectoral blueprints, the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy has created an aquaculture department.

The government offers tax incentives in the form of value-added tax exemptions on imported goods that (a) conserve, generate or produce renewable or environment friendly energy sources; (b conserve of fresh or potable water resources or re-use or recycle wastewater; and (c) recycle, reduce or re-use solid waste.  There is a purchase rebate plan to incentivize businesses to resort to rooftop photovoltaic equipment for power generation.

Policies to preserve biodiversity include: (a) regulating coastal planning and infrastructure at the national and local level to prioritize the consideration of “blue” nature-based solutions for climate resilience; (b) protecting at least 50 percent of its seagrass and mangrove ecosystems by 2025, and 100 percent of seagrass and mangrove ecosystems by 2030; (c) establishing a long-term monitoring program for seagrass and mangrove ecosystems by 2025 and including the greenhouse gas sink of Seychelles’ blue carbon ecosystems within the national greenhouse gas inventory by 2025; and (d) committing to the implementation of its adopted marine spatial plan and the effective management of the 30-percent marine-protected areas within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Public procurement policies in Seychelles do not currently include environmental and green growth considerations such as resource efficiency, pollution abatement, and climate resilience.

9. Corruption

Ruling with transparency and accountability are stated priorities of the current government. In 2016, the government established the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS) under the Anti-Corruption Act, which gives it authority to investigate, detect, and prevent corrupt practices. The Seychelles Transparency Initiative (TI), a Transparency International chapter in formation, was set up in 2017. TI’s focus is currently on increasing transparency in tourism, fisheries, finance, and construction. There is currently no legislation protecting NGOs involved in investigating corruption.

The Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Bill (https://seylii.org/sc/legislation/bill/2020/4 ) became law in 2019 giving the ACCS investigative and arresting powers similar to that of the police. The ACCS has received significant criticism for having only achieved one conviction: that of an ACCS employee who was convicted of extortion, corruption, and unlawful disclosure of ACCS information in 2018, when he demanded money in exchange for providing the ACCS’ evidence to an individual under investigation by the ACCS. In September 2021, the ACCS board was dissolved and replaced by an advisory council. The president gave an ultimatum to the ACCS to take actions to prevent, detect, and investigate acts of corruption. In March 2021, the ACCS signed cooperation agreements with the Seychelles Revenue Authority, the Central Bank of Seychelles, and the Registrar General’s Office to better facilitate the exchange of information and assist the ACCS’ investigations.

In November 2021, a prominent businessman and his wife, a senior military official, and former government officials were arrested for the alleged theft of more than $50 million in foreign aid given to Seychelles by the United Arab Emirates in 2002 to help overcome foreign exchange shortages and import basic goods. The money was never recorded in government accounts. The suspects are facing charges of conspiracy to commit corruption, conspiracy to commit money laundering, concealment of property, and stealing by person in public service.

Chapter 10 of the Seychellois Penal Code provides criminal penalties for conviction of corruption by officials. In 2003, the government published the Public Service Code of Ethics and Conduct. The Public Officer’s Ethics Act of 2008 prohibits personal enrichment through public office; defines and outlaws bribery; provides guidelines for avoiding conflict of interest; and mandates declaration of financial assets for public officials, including members of the National Assembly. The 2017 Public Persons (Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests) Act requires all National Assembly members, councilors, and the mayor to submit a declaration on their assets, debts, and business interests. Asset declarations are not published but may be made public upon request to the ethics commissioner. Laws to combat corruption do not extend to political parties. The 2008 Public Procurement Act, as amended, counters conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

In March 2021, the cabinet approved amendments to the Public Officers’ Ethics (POE) Act to abolish the POE commission entirely and to shift its responsibility to the ACCS, which has become the umbrella authority overseeing all matters of corruption in the public service. In September 2021, the Public Persons (Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests) Bill was approved by the National Assembly to remove the obligation of a public person to submit declarations of assets for spouses or close family members. The bill also provides for establishment of a secure electronic system for submission of declarations and related documents. The government does not require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct.

Seychelles ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in March 2006. Seychelles is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Resources to Report Corruption

Anti-Corruption Commission
May De Silva
Chief Executive Officer
Victoria House,
State House Avenue
Victoria, Mahe
+248 4326061
complaints@accsey.com

Office of the Ombudsperson
Nicole Tirant-Gherardi
Ombudsperson
Room 306, Aarti Chambers, Mont Fleuri, Mahe
+248 225147
ombuds@seychelles.net

10. Political and Security Environment

The current constitution, promulgated in 1993, provides citizens the right to change their government peacefully, and citizens exercise this right in practice through periodic elections based on universal suffrage. Seychelles has not experienced large-scale political violence since the late 1970s. The United Seychelles party, formerly known as Parti Lepep (People’s Party), governed Seychelles following the 1977 coup d’etat and won every election from the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1993 until 2016, when a coalition of opposition parties won the majority of the National Assembly seats. The October 2020 election was the first time since 1976 that Seychellois voters elected an opposition party candidate as president and there was a peaceful and smooth transfer of power. East Africa Standby Force election observers declared the election to have been peaceful, transparent, and orderly. Seychelles remained politically stable at the time of this report.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

The national unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 3.3 percent, of which 51.6 percent was female. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the youth unemployment rate was 12 percent and disaggregation of the data showed that youth unemployment was higher among females. According to the Seychelles Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate would have been 4.3 percent if those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic had sought alternative employment, rather than waiting for the amelioration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The private sector accounted for 63 percent of formal employment in the fourth quarter of 2021. Within the private sector, the largest category of employment were accommodation and food services activities (30 percent). There were more local female employees in government (62 percent) and more local male employees in parastatals (44 percent). There were more expatriate males working parastatals, and roughly the same percentage of expatriate males and females in government. Disaggregated data by gender is not available for the private sector. In December 2021, the Employment Department, in collaboration with the Department of Information and Communication Technology, launched the first phase of the Internal Labour Market Information System (LMIS). The LMIS will be used register vacancies, jobseekers, job placements, and applications of redundancy, and will enable the Ministry of Employment, Immigration and Civil Status to better collect and process labor market statistics.

In June 2020, the 1995 Employment Act was amended to attempt to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labor market. The amendment regulated the deferment of payment, and reduction of wages of a worker pending the termination of the government program for salary support to workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendment also restricted the temporary lay-off or redundancy of Seychellois workers if the employer is employing a non-Seychellois worker in a similar position as the Seychellois workers, or if the employer has not started the negotiation to temporarily lay-off the employee.

Major challenges that persist in the labor market include difficultly recruiting Seychellois for certain jobs and reported low productivity level. Seychelles has long been an importer of foreign labor due to its small population and low human resource base. The share of foreign labor to total employment in the private sector was approximately 40 percent pre-pandemic, with the majority working in the construction and tourism sectors. Since 2014, a quota system has applied to industries for which demand for foreign labor is high. In February 2021, the government restructured the Gainful Occupation Permit (GOP) framework to give local workers greater access to the labor market. The new framework eliminated COVID-19-related concessions that provided foreign nationals with certain rights while the country’s borders were closed. A three-month GOP extension that was granted to foreign workers due to COVID-19 restrictions is no longer applicable. Employers of GOP holders who left Seychelles are no longer permitted to hire GOP applicants. Under the new framework, labor market testing is strictly enforced to ensure that foreign workers are only hired when no qualified local workers are available. The new framework also prohibits non-local workers from changing employment in Seychelles when their contract ends. However, a change in employer is authorized in cases of labor exploitation and/or human trafficking.

According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Employment, Immigration and Civil Status, the informal employment rate was 16.9 percent in 2020. There were more males (80 percent) working in the informal sector than females. The three main sectors for informal employment include construction, wholesale and retail trade, agriculture, forestry, and fishing.

Seychelles has been a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) since 1977 and has ratified all fundamental International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions. Under Seychellois law, all workers, with the exception of police, military, prison, and firefighting personnel, have the right to form and organize unions of their own choosing, to participate in collective bargaining, and to conduct legal strikes. However, in practice, these rights are limited or restricted by other provisions of law. Although collective bargaining is legal, it rarely happens because the law gives the right to the government to review and approve all collective bargaining agreements in both the private and public sector. Strikes are illegal in Seychelles unless all other arbitration procedures have been exhausted. About 15 percent of the workforce is unionized.

In January 2020, the minimum wage increased to SCR 5,804 ($426) per month. In 2017, the Unemployment Relief Scheme (URS) was re-introduced for Seychellois aged above 18 and who are dependent on welfare. The new government ended this scheme in February 2021 and the Ministry of Employment, Immigration and Civil Status has been mandated to conduct training and re-skilling programs to enable Seychellois to seek employment. In the event of layoffs where there is no employee misconduct, the employer must provide the worker with one month’s notice or the equivalent of one month’s salary. Additionally, for workers that have been employed for five years or more, the employer must pay one day’s pay for each month that the employee has worked for the employer. For severance calculation, there is no distinction between layoffs and firing with severance.

The Employment Tribunal handles employment disputes for private-sector employees. The Public Service Appeals Board handles employment disputes for public-sector employees, and the Financial Services Authority deals with employment disputes of workers in the Seychelles International Trade Zone. The law authorizes the Ministry of Employment, Immigration and Civil Status to establish and enforce employment terms, conditions, and benefits, and workers frequently obtain recourse against their employers through the Employment Tribunal.

The government introduced the Occupational Safety and Health Decree in 2012 and the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Act in 2014. However, there are very few health or labor inspectors in Seychelles, and they are limited by meager public resources and the vast ocean distances they are expected to cover.

In November 2011, Seychelles and the ILO signed the 2011-2015 Decent Work Country Program, which seeks to address such issues as employment creation, consolidation and protection of workers’ rights, enhancing social protection, and strengthening social dialogue. Compliance with international labor standards has in recent years been sufficient such that business in the country should not pose a reputational risk to investors.

In 2021, the U.S. State Department, in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report, upgraded Seychelles to a Tier 2 ranking, in recognition of its overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. The conclusion was that while the government of Seychelles does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, it is making significant efforts to do so.

Sierra Leone

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The government encourages companies to engage in responsible business conduct, and SLIEPA seeks investors who will undertake corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. Sierra Leone does not have a set of standards or policies for CSR, but the law provides various incentives. For example, the Finance Act 2011 created a tax deduction for expenditures on social services outside the investment’s scope, such as the construction of schools and hospitals for community use. Community leaders generally expect businesses outside of Freetown and the Western Area, where local Paramount Chiefs control the land, to engage in projects to support the communities’ social and economic well-being, human capital development, and physical infrastructure. Throughout the country, there is limited awareness of corporate activities’ impacts on human rights and environmental protection.

In 2008, Sierra Leone enacted the Environment Protection Act (amended in 2010), which provides rules for various environmental matters, such as environmental impact assessment and the control of ozone-depleting substances, especially by mining companies. The act established the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), which is the authority on environmental issues and social matters related to issuing and administering environmental licenses for mining activities.

There are two systems of land ownership in Sierra Leone – the freehold and the leasehold. The freehold system operates in the Western Area and the leasehold in the provinces. Foreign investors cannot own land outright in Sierra Leone but can take leases for terms of not more than 55 years with an option to renew for a further period of 21 years; or 99 years for mining purposes.

In 2019, the GoSL canceled the mining licenses of two iron ore mining companies on the allegation of non-payment of royalties. One was subjected to international arbitration but was later withdrawn and resolved out of court.

Sierra Leone became a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2008, established the Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (SLEITI), and became compliant with EITI rules in 2014. In 2019, the EITI Board agreed that Sierra Leone had made meaningful progress in implementing the EITI Standard but should undertake corrective action before the second validation in December 2020. However, in 2020, recognizing the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the EITI Board introduced flexible measures in EITI implementation and tasked the multi-stakeholder group (MSG) to focus on ensuring EITII’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

9. Corruption

Corruption poses a significant challenge in Sierra Leone and is particularly endemic in government procurement, the award of licenses and concessions, regulatory enforcement, customs clearance, and dispute resolution. Sierra Leone signed the UN Convention against Corruption in 2003 and ratified it in 2004. The country is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), established in 2000, has the authority to investigate and prosecute acts of corruption by individuals and companies. The Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 makes it criminal to offer, solicit, or receive a bribe. This law applies to all appointed and elected officials, close family members, and companies, whether foreign or domestic. The Commission launched a “Pay No Bribe” campaign in 2016, encouraging citizens to report corruption in the public sector.

In 2021, Sierra Leone ranked 115/180, improving two places from 117/180 (2020) in the Transparency International Corruption Index. In its efforts with respect to tackling corruption, the country moved up 14 steps from 129/180 in 2018 to 115/180 in 2021. Sierra Leone passed the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s indicator on the control of corruption four times in a row, progressing from 48 percent in FY2018 to 83 percent in FY 2022. The government completed the Commission of Inquiry probing corruption allegations into the past government of former President Koroma in March 2020. A white paper to implement the recommendations of the reports of the Commission of Inquiry is currently being implemented by the Ministry of Justice.

In 2019, the GoSL passed an Anti-Corruption Amendment Act, which increased the powers of the ACC in the fight against graft. It protects witnesses and whistleblowers and provides sanctions for failing to submit asset declarations on time or falsified, inaccurate, or misleading information. It empowers the commissioner to prevent contracts that are not of national interest and increases penalties for offenses under the Act. Since then, the ACC has steadily pursued arrests, repayments, and convictions in private and public sectors. As of April 2020, the ACC had recovered millions of dollars in misappropriated funds and prosecuted corruption cases leading to convictions of present and former public officials and private citizens. The Chief Justice established a Special Court to adjudicate corruption cases while the ACC signed several information-sharing agreements with key government institutions, including the Audit Service Sierra Leone and the Financial Intelligence Unit. The ACC also conducted a substantial systems and processes reviews of public offices and public education and outreach activities across the country. In early 2022, the ACC introduced a reward and incentive scheme for informants, whistleblowers, and citizens who support the ACC in the fight against corruption; and is currently focused on aspects of alleged corruption in the 2019 and 2020 audit reports for Sierra Leone.

10. Political and Security Environment

Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic with a directly elected president and a unicameral legislature.  In March 2018, the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) presidential candidate, Julius Maada Bio, won the fourth cycle of presidential elections since the civil war ended in 2002. It was deemed “free and fair” by international observers. The Sierra Leone Police, supervised by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, is responsible for law enforcement and maintaining security within the country, but it is poorly equipped and lacks sufficient investigative and forensic capabilities. The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) is responsible for external security and has some domestic security responsibilities to assist police upon request in extraordinary circumstances. The RSLAF reports to the Ministry of Defense and the Office of National Security. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.

Sierra Leone, in 2020, made a historical “Freedom of Speech” move by repealing Part 5 of the Public Order Act of 1965 that criminalized libel. President Bio has also signed into law the abolition of the death penalty.

There is tension between social, political, and cultural institutions over power and resources. Policies and positions are sometimes sought for control over public finances. The government launched three Commissions of Inquiry (COI) to probe into the governance activities of the immediate past administration, which created further tensions. The COI was concluded in March 2020, and a government White Paper issued in September 2020 assuring citizens of the full implementation of the recommendations, which included recovery of all monies and confiscation of all assets as detailed in the COI reports. At the outbreak of COVID-19, the government implemented nationwide restrictions and curtailed movement to reduce the risk of the infection. Enforcement provoked sporadic violent clashes around the country, leaving some people dead, many hospitalized, and property destroyed. The President blamed it on the opposition as trying to make the country ungovernable and raised concerns about peace and national cohesion. He cautioned that reverting to the dark days of the war will only make things very difficult for Sierra Leoneans.

Sierra Leone’s relations with the neighboring countries of Guinea and Liberia are peaceful. However, Guinea laid claim over the border village of Yenga, in the Kailahun District of Sierra Leone, despite the several meetings between the Presidents of the two countries. There have been isolated incidents of politically motivated violence during and after the 2018 national and local elections.

Sierra Leone has declared June 24, 2023, as the official date for the next presidential, parliamentary, and local council elections and will register voters for that election from September 3 to October 4, 2023. Thirteen opposition political parties have established a coalition, the Coalition Progressive Political Party (COPPP), to challenge the current administration in the next presidential election.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Sierra Leone’s labor force is informal, unregulated, and lacking specialized skills. Approximately 90 percent of laborers work in the informal sector, predominantly in subsistence or other small-scale agriculture. Sierra Leone’s labor force was devastated by the country’s civil war of 1991-2002, and the formal employment sector has yet to recover to pre-war levels. The war led to significant migration out of the country and destroyed the nation’s education system. In a country where educational institutions once earned the moniker “the Athens of Africa,” adult literacy was estimated at 43 percent in 2018 (data.worldbank.org). Businesses identify significant shortfalls in skilled professionals due to limited vocational training. While the government is developing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs, foreign investors find it challenging to recruit and train enough workers. Youth unemployment is persistently high and will continue to grow due to high birth rates and changing demography.

Sierra Leone in 2016 enacted “The Local Content Policy,” stipulating quotas for investment in and employment of Sierra Leonean citizens in corporations operating in the country. The Sierra Leone Local Content Agency (www.localcontent.gov.sl) monitors compliance with the policy.

The Minister of Finance reviewed the national minimum wage from Le500,000 to Le600,000 Leones (approximately U.S.$60) per month effective January 2020 and applies to all workers, including those in the informal sector. The law requires paid leave and overtime wages, but enforcement is ineffective, and there is no prohibition on excessive compulsory overtime. Employers can dismiss workers with limited notice and severance. Foreign employees must obtain work permits from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, and most countries’ nationals must have visas. Additional information is available from the Embassy of Sierra Leone in the United States and at  http://travel.state.gov. Government policies regarding the hiring of Sierra Leonean nationals are described above in the “Performance and Data Localization Requirements” section.

The law allows workers to join independent unions without prior authorization, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security estimates that approximately 35-40 percent of workers in the formal economy are unionized, including agricultural workers, mineworkers, and health workers. The law allows unions to conduct their activities without interference, and the government generally respects this right. However, employers have reportedly intimidated workers in some private industries to prevent them from joining a union, and there is no legal protection against employers’ discriminating against union members. Unions have the right to strike, although the government requires 21-day prior notice. Collective bargaining is widespread in the formal sector, and most enterprises are covered by collective bargaining agreements on wages and working conditions.

The Employers and Employees Act of 1960, the Regulation of Wages and Industrial Relations Act of 1971, and regulations adopted by the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation govern labor issues. Legal requirements are outdated and poorly enforced, while child labor remains widespread. The law limits child labor, allowing light work at age 13, full-time nonhazardous work at age 15, and all work at age 18. Child labor is more prevalent in agriculture, artisanal gold and diamond mining, granite quarrying, sand mining and construction, domestic service, street hawking, begging, charcoal burning, and fishing. The laws against child labor are not effectively enforced. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security attributes the ineffective enforcement to a lack of funding and the inherent difficulties of monitoring child labor in the informal sector. Also, the International Labor Organization has identified discrepancies between provisions in the Child Rights Act 2007 and provisions of the Employers and Employees Act 1960.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (USD) 2020 $4.11 2020 $4.06 billion https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/
Sierra-Leone/
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2019 $12 million https://ustr.gov/countries-
regions/africa/sierra-leone
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A https://ustr.gov/countries-
regions/africa/sierra-leone
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A N/A N/A https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/
Sierra-Leone/
 

*Host Country Source:  https://www.statistics.sl/index.php/gdp.html#

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
IMF Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey data are not available for Sierra Leone.

Somalia

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There are no laws or regulations addressing corporate social responsibility or responsible business conduct.

9. Corruption

The provisional constitution criminalizes several forms of corruption such as abuse of office, embezzlement of funds, and bribery. The FGS enacted an anti-corruption bill in September 2019 that provides for the formation of an independent anti-corruption commission at both federal and state levels called the Somalia Independent Anti-Corruption Commission. The commission is now operational, with officers elected in May 2021.  Somalia’s procurement laws have provisions to address potential conflicts of interest in awarding government contracts, but enforcement is lax. Corruption is rampant in all sectors of government, particularly government procurement. Transparency International ranked Somalia 178 of 180 countries in its 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index.

For the past several years, the FGS has waged a campaign against public corruption and graft, resulting in several high-profile dismissals and arrests.  For example, in August 2020 a court convicted four senior Ministry of Health officials of embezzling funds intended to address the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, without a robust asset declaration mechanism, an updated penal code, and a functioning criminal justice system, anti-corruption efforts remain ad hoc, and there is little deterrence.

Procurement laws require all government contracts to go through an open tender process unless they meet specified conditions for limited competition.  However, the FGS has not put the relevant procedures in place, and in practice the FGS still awards lucrative contracts based on close relationships and favors.  Moreover, the FGS has not yet established a procurement board as required by law, which further stifles attempts to ensure transparency and accountability in government procurement activities.  An interim  procurement board  exists, but it meets irregularly.

10. Political and Security Environment

Somalia has a long history of political and clan-based violence, which destroyed the basic state institutions that support eco/nomic development.  Most of Somalia’s infrastructure was destroyed during 30 years of civil war and violence.  There are pockets of stability, but Somalia remains an insecure environment.  Attacks by al-Shabaab, clan-based militias, and others affect individuals and businesses throughout the country, often with loss of life.  The U.S. Department of State advises U.S. citizens against traveling to Somalia due to crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

The law provides for the right of every worker to form and join a trade union, participate in the activities of a trade union, conduct legal strikes, and engage in collective bargaining. No specific legal restrictions exist that limit these rights. The law does not address anti-union discrimination, or the reinstatement of workers fired for union activity. Legal protections did not exclude any specific group of workers.

The government did not effectively enforce the law. Penalties were not commensurate with those for similar violations and were seldom applied. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs hired and trained labor inspectors during the year, but as of December, no inspections had been conducted.

Somalia is emerging from three decades of political instability and economic hardship that destroyed government institutions, leaving little data on the status of the current labor market.  According to UNICEF statistics from 2017, 75 percent of the population is under the age of 30, and 67 percent of youth are unemployed.  There is a mismatch between the skills youth possess and the requirements of the labor market.  In 2020, the International Labor Organization (ILO) finalized its survey of Somalia’s labor force, finding that most labor is unskilled and that most Somalis work in the informal sector or in agriculture.

Some international partners implement projects to improve vocational training, but these reach a small portion of the workforce and most of the skills offered by technical and vocational training institutions do not match the needs of the local labor markets.  Private sector entities, such as the major telecommunications companies, maintain their own training programs to meet the needs of their workforce. Somalia does not have a formal labor or employment policy that would restrict the hiring of foreigners. Somalia has drafted a modern labor code, but it has yet to be enacted.  In February 2020, the FGS released a social safety net policy.

Conflicts between the government and labor unions resulted in a formal complaint to the ILO in 2018.  Since the complaint’s filing, the government has stopped limiting labor unions’ activities and has worked cooperatively with the labor union umbrella organization to draft labor policies and codes.

The ILO established an office in Mogadishu in 2018 to address the significant gaps between Somalia’s labor practices and international standards. With ILO and labor union support, in February 2019 the government finalized a draft employment policy, which the cabinet approved.

South Africa

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There is a general awareness of responsible business conduct in South Africa. The King Committee, established by the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) in 1993, is responsible for driving ethical business practices. They drafted the King Code and King Reports to form an inclusive approach to corporate governance. King IV is the latest revision of the King Report, having taken effect in April 2017. King IV serves to foster greater transparency in business. It holds an organization’s governing body and stakeholders accountable for their decisions. As of November 2017, it is mandatory for all businesses listed on the JSE to be King IV compliant.

South Africa’s regional human rights commitments and obligations apply in the context of business and human rights. This includes South Africa’s commitments and obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the Maputo Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. In 2015, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) published a Human Rights and Business Country Guide for South Africa which is underpinned by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and outlines the roles and responsibilities of the State, corporations and business enterprises in upholding and promoting human rights in the South African context.

The GoSA promotes Responsible Business Conduct (RBC). The B-BBEE policy, the Companies Act, the King IV Report on Corporate Governance 2016, the Employment Equity Act of 1998 (EEA) and the Preferential Procurement Act are generally regarded as the government’s flagship initiatives for RBC in South Africa.

The GoSA factors RBC policies into its procurement decisions. Firms have largely aligned their RBC activities to B-BBEE requirements through the socio-economic development element of the B-BBEE policy. The B-BBEE target is one percent of net profit after tax spent on RBC, and at least 75 percent of the RBC activity must benefit historically disadvantaged South Africans and is directed primarily towards non-profit organizations involved in education, social and community development, and health.

The GoSA effectively and fairly enforces domestic laws pertaining to human rights, labor rights, consumer protection, and environmental protections to protect individuals from adverse business impacts. The Employment Equity Act prohibits employment discrimination and obliges employers to promote equality and eliminate discrimination on grounds of race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language and birth in their employment policies and practices. These constitutional provisions align with generally accepted international standards. Discrimination cases and sexual harassment claims can be brought to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), an independent dispute reconciliation body set up under the terms of the Labour Relations Act. The Consumer Protection Act aims to promote a fair, accessible and sustainable marketplace for consumer products and services. The National Environmental Management Act aims to to provide for co-operative, environmental governance by establishing principles for decision-making on matters affecting the environment, institutions that will promote co-operative governance and procedures for co-ordinating environmental functions exercised by organs of state.

The SAHRC is a National Human Rights Institution established in terms of the South African Constitution. It is mandated to promote respect for human rights, and the culture thereof; promote the protection, development, and attainment of human rights; and monitor and assess the observance of human rights in South Africa. The SAHRC is accredited with an “A” status under the United Nations’ Paris Principles. There are other independent NGOs, investment funds, unions, and business associations that freely promote and monitor RBC.

The South African mining sector follows the rule of law and encourages adherence to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas. South Africa is a founding member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) aimed at preventing conflict diamonds from entering the market. It does not participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). South African mining, labor and security legislation seek to embody the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. Mining laws and regulations allow for the accounting of all revenues from the extractive sector in the form of mining taxes, royalties, fees, dividends, and duties.

South Africa has a private security industry and there is a high usage of private security companies by the government and industry. The country is a signatory of The Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies.

9. Corruption

South Africa has a robust anti-corruption framework, but laws are inadequately enforced, and public sector accountability is low. High-level political interference has undermined the country’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). “State capture,” a term used to describe systemic corruption of the state’s decision-making processes by private interests, is synonymous with the administration of former president Jacob Zuma. In response to widespread calls for accountability, President Ramaphosa launched four separate judicial commissions of inquiry to investigate corruption, fraud, and maladministration, including in the Public Investment Corporation, South African Revenue Service, and the NPA which have revealed pervasive networks of corruption across all levels of government. The Zondo Commission of Inquiry, launched in 2018, has published and submitted three parts of its report to President Ramaphosa and Parliament as of March 2022. Once the entire report is reased and submitted to Parliament, Ramaphosa stated his government will announce its action plan. The Zondo Commission findings reveal the pervasive depth and breadth of corruption under the reign of former President Jacob Zuma.

The Department of Public Service and Administration coordinates the GoSA’s initiatives against corruption, and South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations focuses on organized crime, economic crimes, and corruption. The Office of the Public Protector, a constitutionally mandated body, investigates government abuse and mismanagement. The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PCCA) officially criminalizes corruption in public and private sectors and codifies specific offenses (such as extortion and money laundering), making it easier for courts to enforce the legislation. Applying to both domestic and foreign organizations doing business in the country, the PCCA covers receiving or offering bribes, influencing witnesses, and tampering with evidence in ongoing investigations, obstruction of justice, contracts, procuring and withdrawal of tenders, and conflict of interests, among other areas. Inconsistently implemented, the PCCA lacks whistleblower protections. The Promotion of Access to Information Act and the Public Finance Management Act call for increased access to public information and review of government expenditures. President Ramaphosa in his reply to the debate on his State of the Nation Address on 20 February 2018 announced Cabinet members would be subject to lifestyle audits despite several subsequent repetitions of this pledge, no lifestyle audits have been shared with the public or Parliament.

The South Africa government’s latest initiative is the opening of an Office on Counter Corruption and Security Services (CCSS) that seeks to address corruption specifically in ports of entry via fraudulent documents and other means.

10. Political and Security Environment

South Africa has strong institutions and is relatively stable, but it also has a history of politically motivated violence and civil disturbance. Violent protests against the lack of effective government service delivery are common. Killings of, and by, mostly low-level political and organized crime rivals occur regularly. In May 2018, President Ramaphosa set up an inter-ministerial committee in the security cluster to serve as a national task force on political killings. The task force includes the Police Minister‚ State Security Minister‚ Justice Minister‚ National Prosecuting Authority, and the National Police Commissioner. The task force ordered multiple arrests, including of high-profile officials, in what appears to be a crackdown on political killings. Criminal threats and labor-related unrest have impacted U.S. companies in the past. In July 2021 the country experienced wide-spread rioting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces sparked by the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma for contempt of court during the deliberations of the “Zondo Commission” established to review claims of state-sponsored corruption during Zuma’s presidency. Looting and violence led to over USD 1.5 billion in damage to these province’s economies and thousands of lost jobs. U.S. companies were amongst those impacted. Foreign investors continue to raise concern about the government’s reaction to the economic impacts, citing these riots and deteriorating security in some sectors such as mining to be deterrents to new investments and the expansion of existing ones.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

The unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2021 was 34.9 percent. The results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the third quarter of 2021 show that the number of employed persons decreased by 660,000 in the third quarter of 2021 to 14.3 million. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 183,000 to 7.6 million compared to the second quarter of 2021. The youth unemployment (ages 15-24) rate was 66.5 percent in the third quarter of 2021.

The GoSA has replaced apartheid-era labor legislation with policies that emphasize employment security, fair wages, and decent working conditions. Under the aegis of the National Economic Development and Labor Council (NEDLAC), government, business, and organized labor negotiate all labor laws, apart from laws pertaining to occupational health and safety. Workers may form or join trade unions without previous authorization or excessive requirements. Labor unions that meet a locally negotiated minimum threshold of representation (often, 50 percent plus one union member) are entitled to represent the entire workplace in negotiations with management. As the majority union or representative union, they may also extract agency fees from non-union members present in the workplace. In some workplaces and job sectors, this financial incentive has encouraged inter-union rivalries, including intimidation and violence.

There are 205 trade unions registered with the Department of Labor as of February 2019 (latest published figures), up from 190 the prior year, but down from the 2002 high of 504. According to the 2019 Fourth QLFS report from StatsSA, 4.071 million workers belonged to a union, an increase of 30,000 from the fourth quarter of 2018. Department of Labor statistics indicate union density declined from 45.2 percent in 1997 to 24.7 percent in 2014, the most recent data available. Using StatsSA data, however, union density can be calculated: The February 2020 QLFS reported 4.071 million union members and 13.868 million employees, for a union density of 29.4 percent.

The right to strike is protected on issues such as wages, benefits, organizational rights disputes, and socioeconomic interests of workers. Workers may not strike because of disputes where other legal recourse exists, such as through arbitration. South Africa has robust labor dispute resolution institutions, including the CCMA, the bargaining councils, and specialized labor courts of both first instance and appellate jurisdiction. The GoSA does not waive labor laws for foreign direct investment. The number of working days lost to strike action fell to 55,000 in 2020, compared with 1.2 million in 2019. The sharp decrease is attributable to the GoSA’s imposition of the National State of Disaster at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the accompanying lockdown that commenced on March 26, which forced many businesses either to close or lay off workers and implement wage cuts or shorten time of work. The fact that many wage negotiations were put on hold also led to a reduction in strike figures.

Collective bargaining is a cornerstone of the current labor relations framework. As of February 2019, the South Africa Department of Labor listed 39 private sector bargaining councils through which parties negotiate wages and conditions of employment. Per the Labor Relations Act, the Minister of Labor must extend agreements reached in bargaining councils to non-parties of the agreement operating in the same sector. Employer federations, particularly those representing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) argue the extension of these agreements – often reached between unions and big business – negatively impacts SMEs. In 2019, the average wage settlement resulted in a 7.1 percent wage increase, on average 2.9 percent above the increase in South Africa’s consumer price index (latest information available).

In his 2022 state of the nation address President Ramaphosa spoke of tax incentives for companies that employ youth in efforts to curb youth unemployment. In addition, President Ramaphosa announced measures to move funds in the national budget to address youth unemployment.

South Africa’s current national minimum wage is USD 1.45/hour (R21.69/hour), with lower rates for domestic workers being USD 1.27/hour (R19.09/hour). The rate is subject to annual increases by the National Minimum Wage Commission as approved by parliament and signed by President Ramaphosa. Employers and employees are each required to pay one percent of wages to the national unemployment fund, which will pay benefits based on reverse sliding scale of the prior salary, up to 58 percent of the prior wage, for up to 34 weeks. The Labor Relations Act (LRA) outlines dismissal guidelines, dispute resolution mechanisms, and retrenchment guideline. The Act enshrines the right of workers to strike and of management to lock out striking workers. It created the CCMA, which mediates and arbitrates labor disputes as well as certifies bargaining council impasses for strikes to be called legally.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) establishes a 45-hour workweek, standardizes time-and-a-half pay for overtime, and authorizes four months of maternity leave for women. Overtime work must be conducted through an agreement between employees and employers and may not be more than 10 hours a week. The law stipulates rest periods of 12 consecutive hours daily and 36 hours weekly and must include Sunday. The law allows adjustments to rest periods by mutual agreement. A ministerial determination exempted businesses employing fewer than 10 persons from certain provisions of the law concerning overtime and leave. Farmers and other employers may apply for variances. The law applies to all workers, including foreign nationals and migrant workers, but the GoSA did not prioritize labor protections for workers in the informal economy. The law prohibits employment of children under age 15, except for work in the performing arts with appropriate permission from the Department of Labor.

The EEA, amended in 2014, protects workers against unfair discrimination on the grounds of race, age, gender, religion, marital status, pregnancy, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, color, sexual orientation, disability, conscience, belief, political, opinion, culture, language, HIV status, birth, or any other arbitrary ground. The EEA further requires large- and medium-sized companies to prepare employment equity plans to ensure that historically disadvantaged South Africans, as well as women and disabled persons, are adequately represented in the workforce. More information regarding South African labor legislation may be found at: www.labour.gov.za/legislation 

South Sudan

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The idea of responsible business conduct is nascent in South Sudan, and there is little awareness of standards in this area. The few large international firms operating in South Sudan sometimes offer basic benefits to local communities but on an irregular basis. The 2009 Land Act requires investment activities carried out on land acquired from local communities to “reflect an important interest for the community or people living in the locality,” and to contribute economically and socially. Many South Sudanese complain about foreign-owned companies not hiring South Sudanese employees.

The 2009 Investment Promotion Act says investors must pay a fine and clean up waste if they do not implement environmentally friendly rules, but the Act does not require environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures to facilitate transparency for investors and consumers.

International observers claim many oil producing companies in South Sudan do not practice responsible behavior regarding environmental damage in the oil fields. The 2012 Petroleum Act requires the Ministry of Petroleum to subject projects to environmental and social impact assessments, but it is unclear whether or how the Ministry enforces this requirement. The Ministries of Petroleum and of Environment and Forestry are coordinating to conduct an oil sector environmental audit. The government is expected to announce in 2022 who will conduct the audit and the audit’s timeline. Additionally, the government and Hope for Humanity Africa are currently in mediation to address some of the environmental damage and health impacts of oil waste.

The 2018 peace agreement and some national laws (such as the Petroleum Act) contain responsible business conduct provisions, but the government does not enforce them. The government has not instituted corporate governance, accounting, or executive compensation standards to protect shareholders. NGOs promote responsible business conduct, particularly in the environmental domain, but activists and reporters allege government harassment.

The government has demonstrated little capacity or will to enforce laws protecting human and labor rights, consumer protection, environmental protections, and other laws/regulations intended to protect individuals from adverse business impact. There are reports of child labor in supply chains, especially for gold mining.

The government does not encourage adherence to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas, and there are no functioning domestic measures related to such due diligence.

South Sudan does not participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) although the 2018 peace agreement requires South Sudan to join. The United Nations Development Program’s Governance and Economic Support project (GEMS) and the Kingdom of Norway helped coordinate a conference in Juba in April 2021 with other stakeholders to discuss South Sudan joining the EITI, but the government has not taken any action since then.

Several private security companies operate in South Sudan providing protection to various embassies and NGOs. South Sudan is not a signatory to the Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies or a supporter of the International Code of Conduct or Private Security Service Providers. South Sudan does not participate in the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers’ Association (ICoCA).

9. Corruption

South Sudan has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption, but there is a near total lack of enforcement, and considerable gaps exist in legislation. Transparency International ranked South Sudan the world’s most corrupt country in 2021.

Politically connected people are immune from prosecution. There are no laws that prevent conflict of interest in government procurement. Government officials regularly ask companies to pay extralegal taxes and fees.

The government does not encourage or require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct prohibiting bribery of public officials. There are no indications private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent government bribery.

There were no significant anti-corruption cases investigated or prosecuted in 2021.

The 2009 Southern Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission (SSAC) Act established a commission with five members and the chairperson appointed by the President with approval from a simple majority in parliament. The commission is tasked with protecting public property, investigating corruption, and submitting evidence to the Ministry of Justice for necessary action. The SSACC lacks the resources or political support to investigate corruption. It has no independent arrest or prosecution authority or capacity to address state corruption. It can only relay its findings to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution.

South Sudan acceded to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2015. The country is not a party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and is not reported to be a participant in regional anti-corruption initiatives.

The country provides no protection to NGOs or journalists who investigate corruption. NGOs and journalists of all types are routinely subject to government harassment, intimidation.

Government security services interfere with and demand payments from all major industries including the extractives sector, hotels, airlines, and banking.

10. Political and Security Environment

There is a long history of politically motivated violence in South Sudan. Warring parties concluded a peace agreement in September 2018 to stop the civil war that broke out in 2013. The conflict severely disrupted trade, markets, and agricultural activities, while claiming hundreds of thousands of lives and spurring a severe humanitarian crisis the country still grapples with. The conflict was marked by grave human rights abuses, including conflict-related sexual violence. South Sudan is slowly implementing the 2018 revitalized peace agreement and routinely misses critical deadlines associated with implementing the peace agreement. Political and sub-state violence is frequent throughout the country.

The country is plagued by large-scale displacement of people (internally and as refugees), widespread food insecurity, severe human-rights abuses, restricted humanitarian assistance access, and harassment of aid workers and journalists. In its January 2022 South Sudan Humanitarian Snapshot , the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that out of a population 12.1 million, South Sudan has two million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and 2.3 million South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries. The government stabilized conditions in the country to allow IDPs and refugees to safely return to their homes. The country has 8.3 million people who need humanitarian assistance to survive. Humanitarian partners and international donors are reviewing South Sudan’s Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) IPC ratings and expected to provide revised ratings in spring 2022.

Previous violence during conflict with Sudan resulted in damage to installations in one of the major oil producing areas in the country, shutting down production in that region. Repairs to these facilities began in 2018, allowing oil production to increase, although production declined again in 2021 due mostly to the third year of sustained flooding South Sudan is experiencing.

Fighting continues in some parts of the country between the government and non-signatories to the 2018 peace deal. Generally, the ceasefire is holding between the government and main opposition groups, but under increasing stress. Persistent sub-national violence stemming from complex socioeconomic, ethnic, and political causes is present throughout South Sudan and has increased since 2019.

The government continued to detain political opposition leaders in 2021. The government periodically detained journalists and temporarily shut down media outlets (print and radio) it accused of publishing articles or broadcasting radio programs that allegedly threatened the government, challenged its competence, or reported instances of corruption.

NGOs complained of harassment, and armed groups continued to attack aid convoys and depots in 2021 and early 2022. NGOs periodically report ambushes along major supply routes in South Sudan. Such attacks resulted in death and injury to, and even killing of, NGO personnel, vehicles destroyed, and supplies looted or destroyed. Such attacks hinder the delivery of aid to countless South Sudanese throughout the country who area dependent on such assistance to survive.

Five aid workers were killed in 2021, and at least three have been killed since January 2022. Since the civil war started in 2013, at least 130 aid workers have been killed, most between 2013 and 2015 when violence peaked.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

South Sudan has a shortage of skilled and unskilled workers across most areas in the formal sector. Construction and service sector employers often hire workers from neighboring countries because of the lack of basic skills training among South Sudanese workers. UNESCO Institute of Statistics  estimates the adult literacy rate in South Sudan is only 34.5 percent.

The most recent changes to South Sudan’s labor laws came from the 2017 Labor Act, but the government generally does not enforce labor laws. The Ministry of Labor has not conducted labor inspections since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When it did, NGOs and foreign investors reported employees colluded with labor inspectors to extort fines from business managers. Most small South Sudanese businesses operate in the informal economy, where labor laws and regulations are widely ignored.

The Ministry of Labor reviews work permit applications to determine whether a position could be filled by a South Sudanese national. Some foreign-owned companies report long delays in receiving work permits for expatriate staff, and many expatriates are only able to obtain work permits for one to three months. State and local authorities reportedly charge additional fees and attempt to restrict employment to people from a certain place or of a certain ethnic group. Government security offices reportedly interfere with hiring in some cases.

The 2017 Labor Act allows for Termination for Redundancy “due to changes in the operational requirements of the employer” and requires severance pay in some cases. The law differentiates between this and other forms of termination.

South Sudan has limited social safety net programs for workers laid off for economic reasons. The Labor Act establishes an “employment exchange” scheme for unemployed people that reserves vending, driving, office support staffing, and other manual labor for South Sudan nationals only. In April 2020, the World Bank approved a USD 40 million grant to create the South Sudan Safety Net Project (SSSNP)  but has not yet released program results information.

There are no special labor provisions to attract or retain investment. No formal functioning collective bargaining systems exist. Those seeking resolution of labor disputes must work with the Ministry of Labor, courts, informal mediation, or a combination thereof. Foreign employers report being at a significant disadvantage in such disputes.

In 2021, South Sudanese – usually unemployed youths – continued to protest to express displeasure, resorted to violent activities, and threatened and targeted NGOs due to the lack of economic opportunities. Occasionally employees from specific ethnic groups protest or strike if they believe employees from different ethnic groups receive favored treatment.

Child labor is rampant. The Ministry of Labor does not enforce child labor laws. Child labor mostly occurs in the informal economy, which the government generally does not monitor.

Sudan

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Sudan’s Investment Law (National Investment Encouragement Act, 1999, Amended (2013 and 2021)) sets the standards for business conduct and obligations. The law and its executive rules are applied to both Sudanese and foreign investors. The investment authority maintains oversight for “responsible business conduct” and provides information on regulations, services, and the various departments to which the investor could contact on its website:  http://www.sudaninvest.org/English/About-Ministry.htm . The investment authority also developed a “one-stop-shop” for information on land, customs, taxes, commercial registration, and agriculture among others. The law under its Chapter 6 “Privileges and Guarantees” and Chapter 8 “General Rules” commits the government to “non-nationalization or non-confiscation of projects.” Sudan’s Investment Council and Specialized Court create the regulations and are the bodies which settle overlapping issues. Sudan makes available an ombudsman at its Public Grievance Chamber ( www.ombudsman.gov.sd ). The Sudanese Constitution (1998) first established the General Ombudsman body. In 2011, Chapter V, Article 147 (1) of the Constitution (2011) established the Public Grievances Chamber. The Ombudsman’s office explains its complaint process and other information online. Corruption in the supply chain for commodities and minerals within the major cities and in the conflict-affected areas remains a concern.

Sudan falls short of consistently strong supply chain due diligence. For example, while the government takes positive steps through its Ministry of Animal Resources ( http://mar.gov.sd/en/index.php/departments/view_dept/2 ) to outline regulations for implementation of livestock and fisheries administration, it does not, through its Ministry of Energy and Mining, prohibit the harmful use of cyanide or other dangerous chemicals in gold mining operations. In fact, the government and private companies use cyanide in gold extraction. Sudan is not an adherent to the OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct International, does not participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Index (EITI) nor participates in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

9. Corruption

Corruption is widespread in Sudan. The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials; nevertheless, government corruption at all levels is widespread. The Bashir regime made a few efforts to enforce legislation aimed at preventing and prosecuting corruption.  The law provides the legislative framework for addressing official corruption, but implementation under the Bashir regime was weak, and punishments were lenient. Officials found guilty of corrupt acts could often avoid jail time if they returned ill-gotten funds. Under the Bashir regime, journalists who reported on government corruption were sometimes intimidated, detained, and interrogated by security services.

A special anticorruption attorney investigated and prosecuted corruption cases involving officials, their spouses, and their children. Punishments for embezzlement include imprisonment or execution for public service workers, although these were almost never carried out. Under the Bashir regime, media reporting on corruption was considered a “red line” set by the National Intelligence and Security Services and a topic that authorities, for the most part, prohibited newspapers from covering. While reporting on corruption was no longer a red line under the CLTG, media continued to practice self-censorship on issues related to corruption.  In August 2019, Omar Bashir was formally indicted on charges of corruption and illegal possession of foreign currency. Bashir’s trial began in August 2019; in December 2019, he was convicted and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on these charges. Bashir remains imprisoned as further charges are pending.

Financial Disclosure: Under the Bashir regime, the law required high-ranking officials to publicly disclose income and assets. There were no clear sanctions for noncompliance, although the former Anti-Corruption Commission possessed discretionary powers to punish violators. The Financial Disclosure and Inspection Committee and the Unlawful and Suspicious Enrichment Administration at the Ministry of Justice both monitored compliance. Despite three different bodies ostensibly charged with monitoring financial disclosure regulations, there was no effective enforcement or prosecution of offenders.

The 2019 Constitutional Declaration includes financial disclosure and prohibition of commercial activity provisions for members of the Sovereign Council and Council of Ministers, state and regional governors, and members of the Transitional Legislative Council. It also mandates the creation of an anti-corruption commission (not established) and an Empowerment Elimination, Anti-Corruption, and Funds Recovery Committee (informally called the Dismantling Committee). However, following the October 2021 military takeover, the commission was abolished, many of its members imprisoned on corruption charges, and many government employees dismissed at the Commission’s direction were re-instated in their positions. Sudan ranked 164 out of 180 countries on Transparency International ‘s 2021  Corruption Perceptions Index .

https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2021 

10. Political and Security Environment

Sudan’s political and security environment is volatile. Neighborhood Resistance Committees, political parties, and other groups opposing the October 25, 2021, military takeover regularly stage large protests aimed at forcing the military leadership to relinquish control and return Sudan to its democratic transition. These protests have become violent, with 102 protesters killed as of June 2022 and over 2,000 injured by police and security forces since October 2021. On March 21, 2022, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Sudan’s Central Reserve Police for the use of excessive force against peaceful protestors.

On May 23, 2022 the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Labor issued a business advisory to highlight growing risks to American businesses and individuals associated with conducting business with Sudanese State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) which includes all companies under military control (hereafter collectively referred to as “SOEs and military-controlled companies”). These risks arise from recent actions undertaken by Sudan’s Sovereign Council and security forces under the military’s control and could adversely impact U.S. businesses, individuals, other persons, and their operations in the country and the region.

U.S. businesses, individuals, and other persons, including academic institutions, research service providers, and investors (hereafter “businesses and individuals”) that operate in Sudan should be aware of the role of SOEs and military-controlled companies in its economy. Though Sudan’s military has long controlled a network of entities, following its seizure of power on October 25, 2021, it is in effective control of all SOEs. Further, Sudan’s military is increasing its direct control of Sudan’s many SOEs and plans for civilian control over SOEs has been abandoned. Businesses and individuals operating in Sudan and the region should undertake increased due diligence related to human rights issues and be aware of the potential reputational risks of conducting business activities and/or transactions with SOEs and military-controlled companies. U.S. businesses and individuals should also take care to avoid interaction with any persons listed on the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls’(OFAC) list of Specially Designated Nationals  and Blocked Persons (SDN List).

The business advisory relates specifically to SOEs and military-controlled companies. The U.S. government does not seek to curtail or discourage responsible investment or business activities in Sudan with civilian-owned Sudanese counterparts.

The full business advisory here:  https://www.state.gov/risks-and-considerations-for-u-s-businesses-operating-in-sudan/.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Sudan suffers from high unemployment, unofficially estimated at 40%. The Sudanese educational system produces many skilled and talented workers, but an absence of career options prompts many to emigrate in search of better opportunities. U.S. business contacts have praised the professionalism of their Sudanese counterparts. Sudan is also experiencing a demographic “bulge” that has resulted in a disproportionate number of potential workers under 25 years of age. There is a large, informal market of small entrepreneurs. The country’s borders are porous, producing a large pool of unskilled labor market, with many workers from Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Syria.

In November 2019, the CLTG dissolved all trade unions and associations as part of its effort to dismantle the remnants of the Bashir regime. The CLTG encouraged the formation of new trade unions. In 2021, the Ministry of Labor and Administrative Reform, with technical input from the International Labor Organization (ILO), finalized the drafting of a Trade Union Law.  The draft law was not, however, passed prior to the military takeover.

Tanzania

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The GoT’s National Environment Management Council (NEMC) undertakes enforcement, compliance, review, and monitoring of environmental impact assessments; performs research; facilitates public participation in environmental decision-making; raises environmental awareness; and collects and disseminates environmental information. Stakeholders, however, have expressed concerns over whether the NEMC has sufficient funding and capacity to handle its broad mandate.

There are no legal requirements for public disclosure of RBC, and the GoT has not yet addressed executive compensation standards. Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) listed companies, however, must release legally required information to shareholders and the general public. In addition, the DSE signed a voluntary commitment with the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative in June 2016, to promote long-term sustainable investments and improve environmental, social, and corporate governance. Tanzania has accounting standards compatible with international accounting bodies.

The Tanzanian government does not usually factor RBC into procurement decisions. The GoT is responsible for enforcing local laws, however, the media regularly reports on corruption cases where offenders allegedly avoid sanctions. There have also been reports of corporate entities collaborating with local governments to carry out controversial undertakings that may not be in the best interest of the local population.

Some foreign companies have engaged NGOs that monitor and promote RBC to avoid adversarial confrontations. In addition, some of the multinational companies who are signatories to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) have taken the lead and appointed NGOs to conduct programs to mitigate conflicts between the mining companies, surrounding communities, local government officials and the police.

Tanzania is a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and in 2015 Tanzania enacted the Extractive Industries Transparency and Accountability Act, which demands that all new concessions, contracts and licenses are made available to the public. The government produces EITI reports that disclose revenues from the extraction of its natural resources.

Investors should be aware of human and labor rights concerns in the minerals and extractives sector, as well as agriculture. In May 2021 there was a high-profile USD 6 million out of court settlement for alleged breaches of human rights associated with third-party security operations at the Williamson Diamond Mine in Tanzania, which is 25% owned by the Government of Tanzania and 75% owned by Petra (UK). Petra (UK) agreed to pay claimants and committed to invest in programs dedicated to providing long-term sustainable support to the communities living around the Mine. Petra is also establishing a new and independent (“Tier 2”) Operational Grievance Mechanism (“OGM”). It will be managed by an independent panel and operate according to the highest international standards, as set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

9. Corruption

Tanzania has laws and institutions designed to combat corruption and illicit practices. It is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, but it is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery. While former President Magufuli’s focus on anti-corruption translated into an increased judiciary budget and new corruption cases, corruption is still viewed as a major, and potentially growing, problem. There have been various efforts to mitigate corruption – including implementing electronic services to reduce the opportunity for corruption through human interactions at agencies such as the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), the Business Registration and Licensing Authority (BRELA), and the Port Authority – however, the broader concerns surrounding corruption persist.

Tanzania has three institutions specifically focused on anti-corruption. The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) prevents corruption, educates the public, and enforces the law against corruption. The Ethics Secretariat and its associated Ethics Tribunal under the President’s office enforce compliance with ethical standards defined in the Public Leadership Codes of Ethics Act 1995.

Companies and individuals seeking government tenders are required to submit a written commitment to uphold anti-bribery policies and abide by a compliance program. These steps are designed to ensure that company management complies with anti-bribery polices, though the effectiveness of this step is unclear.

The GoT is currently implementing its National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan Phase III (2017-2022) (NACSAP III) which is a decentralized approach focused on broad government participation. NACSAP III has been prepared to involve a broader domain of key stakeholders including GoT local officials, development partners, civil society organization (CSOs), and the private sector. The strategy puts more emphasis on areas that historically have been more prone to corruption in Tanzania such as oil, gas, and other natural resources. Despite the outlined role of the GoT, CSOs, NGOs and media find it increasingly difficult to investigate corruption in the current political environment.

The GoT’s anti-corruption campaign affected public discourse about the prevailing climate of impunity, and some officials are reluctant to engage openly in corruption. Some critics, however, question how effective the initiative will be in tackling deeper structural issues that have allowed corruption to thrive.

Transparency International (TI), which ranks perception of corruption in public sector, gave Tanzania a score of 39 points out of 100 for 2021 and 38 points for 2020. The Afrobarometer report estimates that between 2015 and 2019 the corruption increase in the previous 12 months was only 10 percent in Tanzania, the lowest in Africa. While for the same period, 23 percent of the respondents voted that Tanzania is doing a bad job of fighting corruption, again the lowest in Africa. Thirty-two percent of the respondents also noted that business executives are corrupt, up from 31 percent in 2015.

10. Political and Security Environment

Since gaining independence, Tanzania has enjoyed a relatively high degree of peace and stability compared to its neighbors in the region. Tanzania has held six national multi-party elections since 1995, the most recent in October 2020 which saw the ruling party’s candidates win by vast majorities. There were serious doubts about the credibility of the October 2020 elections on the mainland and Zanzibar, as there were for byelections in 2018 and 2019. Zanzibar, particularly experienced political violence several times since 1995, including in 2020.

Following the untimely death of President Magufuli (elected in October 2020) in March 2021, a peaceful transfer of power to Vice President Samia Suhulu Hassan took place in accordance with constitutionally mandated procedures. President Hassan continues to follow the CCM ruling party’s manifesto and has begun to lay out her own priorities, which include a reset on international relations and an effort to revive the private sector and attract foreign investment.

Tanzania is generally free from violent conflict, however, there are ongoing concerns about insecurity spilling over from neighboring countries, particularly religious extremism from the Tanzania-Mozambique border. There are a significant number of refugees from crisis and conflicts in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, and the continuing violence in neighboring Mozambique has resulted in Mozambican citizens seeking refuge across the border in southern Tanzania.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Despite Tanzania’s large youth population, there is a shortage of skilled labor and gaps remain in professional training to support industrialization. Only 3.6 percent of Tanzania’s 20-million-person labor force is highly skilled. On the regional front, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya have committed to the EAC’s 2012 Mutual Recognition Agreement of engineers, making for a more regionally competitive engineering market.

In Tanzania, labor and immigration regulations permit foreign investors to recruit up to ten expatriates with the possibility of additional work permits granted under specific conditions. The Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act 2015 introduced stricter rules for hiring foreign workers. Under the Act, the Labor Commissioner must determine if “all possible efforts have been explored to obtain a local expert” before approving a non-citizen work permit. In addition, employers must submit “succession plans” for foreign employees, detailing how knowledge and skills will be transferred to local employees. The Act was amended in 2021, increasing the period of work permit validity from five years to eight years, with applications to be renewed every 24 months. The non-citizens quota shall not preclude the investor from employing other non-citizens provided that such employment complies with the employment ratio of one non-citizen to ten local employees and that the investor has satisfied the Labor Commissioner that the nature of the business necessitates such number of non-citizens. Foreign investors may be granted ten-year work permits which may be extended if the investor is determined to be contributing to the economy and wellbeing of Tanzanians. In April 2021, the government introduced a simplified online system of applying and issuing work permit which reduces the waiting period from 33 days to less than a week.

Mainland Tanzania’s minimum wage, which has not changed since July 2013, is set by categories covering 12 employment sectors. The minimum wage ranges from TZS 100,000 ($43.20) per month for agricultural laborers to TZS 400,000 ($172.79) per month for laborers employed in the mining sector. Zanzibar’s minimum wage is TZS 300,000 ($129.59).

Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar governments maintain separate labor laws. Workers on the mainland have the right to join trade unions. Any company with a recognized trade union possessing bargaining rights can negotiate in a Collective Bargaining Agreement. In the public sector, the government sets wages administratively, including for employees of state-owned enterprises.

Mainland workers have the legal right to strike, and employers have the right to a lockout. The law restricts the right to strike when doing so may endanger the health of the population. Workers in certain sectors are restricted from striking or subject to limitations. In 2017, the GoT issued regulations that strengthened child labor laws, created minimum one-year terms for certain contracts, expanded the scope of what is considered discrimination, and changed contract requirements for outsourcing agreements.

The labor law in Zanzibar applies to both public and private sector workers. Zanzibar government workers have the right to strike as long as they follow procedures outlined in the Employment Act of 2005, but they are not allowed to join Mainland-based labor unions. Zanzibar requires a union with 50 or more members to be registered and sets literacy standards for trade union officers. An estimated 40 percent of Zanzibar’s workforce is unionized.

The Integrated Labor Force Survey of 2020/21 indicates that employment in the informal sector has increased from 22 percent in 2014 to 29.4 percent in 2020/21, with the most significant increase in rural areas. The informal sector operates outside of the legal system with no formal contracts, leaving workers vulnerable to precarious working conditions, limited social protection, and low earnings.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (USD) 2019 $63 billion 2020 $62.41 billion www.worldbank.org/en/country 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country (USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2020 $1.47 million BEA data available at https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet/ 
Host country’s FDI in the United States (USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2020 $ (-2) million BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/
direct-investment-and-multinational-enterprises-comprehensive-data
 
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2020 1.5% UNCTAD data available at https://stats.unctad.org/handbook/Economic
Trends/Fdi.html
 

* Source for Host Country Data: host country data not publicly available.

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

There is no data for Tanzania in the IMF’s Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS).

According to the Bank of Tanzania, the top sources for inward foreign investment into Tanzania are South Africa, Canada, Nigeria, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Mauritius, Kenya, United States, Vietnam, and France.

Data on outward direct investment is not available.

Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

There is no data for Tanzania in the IMF’s Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS).

The Gambia

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The notion of corporate social responsibility is not well known in The Gambia and only some state-owned enterprises and some private companies, such as banks and mobile phone companies, adopt Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) as a policy.

Gambian laws generally contain a provision that ensures social and environmental protection of its citizens, regardless of activity and its potential for income for the country. There have been no recent high-profile, controversial instances of private sector impact on human rights or the resolution of such cases in the past year. Currently, no national action plan on RBC has been enacted. Agencies that promote or enforce RBC include the Public Utilities Regulatory Agency (PURA), The Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC), The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), the Standards Bureau, and the Gambia Revenue Authority. In 2015, the Director General of The Standards Bureau established the first Technical Committee (TC) on food which reviewed and adopted ten (10) standards on food and related matters in The Gambia.

Any project with potential environmental impact is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted by the National Environment Agency (NEA) before a license or permit is granted. These projects include hotels, roads, bridges, mining, large-scale agricultural projects, processing and manufacturing industries, fish processing, waste disposal, installation of electrical lines, etc. Despite its efforts to enforce domestic laws, the NEA is heavily underfunded and short of resources to implement adequate environmental protections. The Gambia has adopted several measures to support environmental protection and reduce the impact of environmental damage.

According to the GIEPA Act, “The Government shall take all necessary measures to protect investments and the property of investors in accordance with the laws of The Gambia and the bilateral investment Treaties.” (Section 41). In most cases, the understanding of RBC is limited to the allocation of funds to charitable causes such as supporting schools and health projects, disaster relief, and environmental enhancement. However, the banks and mobile phone companies often use such donations for publicity and marketing reasons. The Gambian public often views these firms favorably. In most cases, the understanding of RBC is limited to the allocation of funds to charitable causes, such as supporting schools and health projects, disaster relief, and environmental enhancement.

There are no reports or concerns relating to responsible business conduct in The Gambia of which foreign businesses should be aware.

Foreign and local enterprises are encouraged to follow RBC principles such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Areas, where natural resources are extracted, are not subject to conflict; GOTG does not specifically promote the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas. The Gambia does have a budding extractives industry, but GOTG does not participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Standards or the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. There are no domestic transparency measures requiring the disclosure of payments made to the government and/or of RBC/BHR policies or practices.

9. Corruption

There are laws in place to combat corruption by public officials in The Gambia. These laws are largely ineffective because the committees, which are commissioned to enforce them, are yet to be fully established. In cases when trials are conducted, they are conducted in a non-discriminatory manner. The anti-corruption laws of The Gambia extend to family members of officials and political parties alike. The anti-corruption laws of The Gambia contain laws or regulations that counter conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

The Gambian Government encourages private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials. The constitution of The Gambia calls for internal codes of conduct (Section 222), as do the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance to which The Gambia is a signatory. Private companies use internal controls and other programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. Private companies use internal controls and other programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

The Gambia has signed and ratified the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and Related Offences but has not ratified the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. In May 2014, The Gambia ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention. During former President Jammeh’s rule, the GOTG did not provide protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption. However, such protections are likely as part of the new administration’s pledge to act regarding the African Union convention on preventing and combatting corruption.

At least one U.S. firm complained in 2016 of corruption as an obstacle to FDI. This complaint was reported in the water resource management sector and involved a commercial dispute between the GOTG and a U.S. firm. The firm has since indicated that the new administration is taking steps to resolve the matter.

A growing number of Gambians say corruption is on the rise and the government is not doing enough to combat it, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows. Over the past three years, citizens’ perceptions of widespread corruption among public officials have increased significantly. A number of Gambians report having to pay bribes to obtain public services, and only half believe they can report corruption to the authorities without fear of retaliation (Source: https://afrobarometer.org/countries/gambia-1). An anti-corruption bill introduced in the National Assembly in December 2019 has yet to be passed, and the Gambia has no anti-corruption commission, despite being a signatory to numerous conventions, including the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. The 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index ranked The Gambia 102nd, or more corrupt than 101 out of 179 countries.

No international, regional, or local NGOs operating as “watchdog” organizations monitoring corruption are known to exist in the country.

10. Political and Security Environment

The Gambia was ruled for over two decades by former president Yahya Jammeh, who consistently violated political rights and civil liberties. The 2016 election resulted in a surprise victory for opposition candidate Adama Barrow. Fundamental freedoms including the rights to free assembly, association, and expression initially improved thereafter, but the progress toward the consolidation of the rule of law is slow. The Barrow government has faced increasing criticism over corruption. LGBT+ individuals face severe discrimination and violence against women remains a serious problem.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

As of 2021, the total labor force in The Gambia stood at 768,986, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators. The total labor force comprises people ages 15 and older who meet the International Labor Organization definition of the economically active population: all people who supply labor for the production of goods and services during a specified period. It includes both the employed and the unemployed. While national practices vary in the treatment of such groups as the armed forces and seasonal or part-time workers, in general the labor force includes the armed forces, the unemployed and first-time job seekers, but excludes homemakers and other unpaid caregivers and workers in the informal sector.

In 2019, the labor force participation rate is 60.75 percent. The Gambia suffers from high unemployment and underemployment, compounded by a shortage of skilled workers and trained professionals. About 59 percent of the individuals in the labor force have no formal education. Many of the skilled workers in the construction and mechanical industries are foreigners from neighboring countries. However, many Gambians are now taking up these trades and the government has taken extraordinary steps to increase primary and secondary school enrollment.

Several government policies require the hiring of nationals, including the Labor Act of 2007, the Payroll Tax Act of 2008, and the social security act. The Labor Act of 2007 and its regulations provide the legal framework for labor relations in The Gambia. The Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment enforces the act. It covers most conditions of employment, including dismissals, recruitment and hiring, registration and training, protection of wages, registration of trade unions and employees’ organizations, and industrial relations in general. The act also contains procedures for the settlement of disputes, including an industrial tribunal. Minimum wages and working hours are established through six joint industrial councils: commerce, artisans, transport, port operations, agriculture, and fisheries. Private-sector employees receive between 14 and 30 days of paid annual leave, depending on the length of service. No additional/different labor law provisions are imposed in special economic zones, foreign trade zones or free ports compared to the economy. No new labor related laws were enacted during the last year.

Depending on how the person’s wage is paid, one- or two-months’ notice to quit or a week to two weeks’ notice is required (Section 55 of the Labor Act 2007). In Gambia, there is no unemployment insurance. Although laid-off workers are entitled to a portion of their social security contributions.

In Gambia, collective bargaining is uncommon. Gambia has no organized trade unions, as a result, there is no data for the Gambia in the International Labor Organization’s statistics database (ILOSTAT) for Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) and Trade Union Density, despite the fact that the Gambia has ratified Convention 98. The Gambian Department of Labor (DOL) plans to hold a public awareness campaign about the importance of collective bargaining at the enterprise and sectoral levels. However, DOL is limited to carry out some of the tasks due to funding gap.

The Department of Labor settles individual and collective conflicts by inviting parties to a tripartite meeting to conciliate or mediate with the goal of amicably settling the matter. If the matter is not resolved within a month, the DOL refers the dispute to the industrial tribunal for resolution (Sections 90, 91 & 92 of the Labor Act 2007).

There were no strikes during the last year that posed an investment risk. There are no serious questions of compliance in law or practice with international labor standards that may pose a reputational risk to investors.

The International Labor Organization reported potential gaps in law or practice with respect to international labor standards, including reporting on Gambia’s ratified Fundamental Conventions. Every three years, a report must be submitted on the implementation of these Conventions.

The Department of Labor has reviewed all labor law legislation, which has been pending National Assembly approval for more than ten years. This documentation includes the labor bill, the trade union bill, the factory bill, and the compensation for injuries bill. The Labor Migration Strategy, Pre-departure Training Manual and ethical recruitment guidelines are all new developments.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (USD) N/A N/A 2020 $1.87

billion

https://data.worldbank.org
/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD?locations=GM
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/Ax N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at
https://www.bea.gov/international/
direct-investment-and-multinational-
enterprises-comprehensive-data
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at
https://www.bea.gov/international/
direct-investment-and-multinational-
enterprises-comprehensive-data
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A N/A N/A UNCTAD data available at
https://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/
World%20Investment%20Report/
Country-Fact-Sheets.aspx

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Data not available.

Togo

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) is not officially addressed in Togo by the government, other than as it relates to corruption and criminal activity. RBC and its variants such as “Fair Trade” is known by independent NGOs and businesses which promote these practices and are able to do their work freely.

Some American-owned companies follow generally accepted RBC principles and participate in outreach programs to local villages where they supply, among other things, school buildings, water, electricity, and flood abatement resources. In accordance with a law passed in March 2011, new construction projects must now address environmental and social impacts.

Togo joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2009 and has been officially recognized as EITI-compliant since 2013. Togo’s EITI Secretariat carries out a yearly verification of financial statements relating to the extractive industry.

The Ministry of Civil Service, Labor, Administrative Reform, and Social Protection sets workplace health and safety standards and is responsible for enforcement of all labor laws. There have been no high-profile, controversial instances of private sector impact on human rights or resolution of such cases in the recent past.

Togolese law provides workers, except security forces (including firefighters and police), the right to form and join unions and bargain collectively. There are supporting regulations that allow workers to form and join unions of their choosing. Workers have the right to strike, although striking healthcare workers may be ordered back to work as necessary for the security and well-being of the population. While no provisions in the law protect strikers against employer retaliation, the law requires employers to get a judgment from the labor inspectorate before they fire workers. If firms fire workers illegally, including for union activity, the companies must reinstate the employees and compensate them for lost salary.

The law recognizes the right to collective bargaining; representatives of the government, labor unions, and employers negotiate and endorse a nationwide agreement. This collective bargaining agreement sets nationwide wage standards for all formal sector workers. For sectors where the government is not an employer, the government participates in this process as a labor-management mediator. For sectors with a large government presence, including the state-owned companies, the government acts solely as an employer and does not mediate.

The government follows OHADA recommended rules and regulations on corporate governance, accounting, and executive compensation.

Private security companies are present in Togo, but the country is not a participant in the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers Association (ICoCA).

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

Climate Issues

Togo seeks unconditional greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 21% below its business-as-usual (BAU) scenario by 2030, compared to the projected increase in emissions without the new government measures. It has also made a conditional commitment to reduce emissions by an additional 30% by the same date, contingent upon international support and finance. For methane emissions, Togo’s National Plan for the Reduction of Air Pollution and Short-Lived Climate Pollutants projects a 56% reduction in methane emissions by 2040 versus the BAU scenario absent government action. Togo has not set a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal and was ranked 37/51 for Middle East/Africa by Climatescope in 2021.

Togo’s current National Electrification Strategy aims to provide universal access to electricity by 2030, while increasing the share of renewables in Togo’s energy mix to 50% by the same date by ambitiously rolling out new power plants and off-grid solutions. In 2021, Togo launched one solar and one thermal power plant and has plans for two additional solar plants, 315 mini-grids, and 550,000 solar kits.

Togo government has limited capacity to monitor natural capital. The National Agency of Environment Management (Agence Nationale de Gestion de l’Environnement, ANGE) under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Resources (MERF) enforces environmental regulations, and there has been significant progress over the past two decades in promoting sustainability. While still lacking personnel and equipment, agency technical capabilities are adequate for evaluating environment and social risks for major government projects.

Togo is also working to increase the legal weight of environmental standards. A revised public procurement law and new public-private partnership (PPP) both mandate consideration of environment and climate change impact, encouraging low carbon infrastructure projects and incorporation of climate adaption and mitigation measures.

9. Corruption

The Togolese government has established several important institutions designed in part to reduce corruption by eliminating opportunities for bribery and fraud: the Togolese Revenue Authority (OTR), the One-Stop Shop to create new businesses (CFE), and the Single Window for import/export formalities.

In 2015, the Togolese government created the High Authority for the Prevention and Fight against Corruption and Related Offenses (HAPLUCIA), which the government designed to be an independent institution dedicated to fighting corruption. The government appointed members in 2017. HAPLUCIA encourages private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials. HAPLUCIA presented on February 7, 2019 its strategic plan for the period 2019-2023; it set up a toll-free number, the “8277” to receive complaints and denunciations.

Anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials, and to political parties and the government does not interfere in the work of anti-corruption NGOs.

In 2011, the government effectively implemented procurement reforms to increase transparency and reduce corruption. The government announces procurements weekly in a government publication. Once contracts are awarded, all bids and the winner are published in the weekly government procurement publication. Other measurable steps toward controlling corruption include joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and establishing public finance control structures and a National Financial Information Processing Unit.

Togo signed the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2003 and ratified it on July 6, 2005.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at the government agency or agencies that are responsible for combating corruption:

Essohana Wiyao
President of HAPLUCIA, the High Authority for the Prevention and Fight against Corruption and Related Offenses
Tel. +228 90 21 28 46 / 90 25 77 40
Email: essohanawiyao@yahoo.fr 
Lomé, Togo

Directeur, Anti-Corruption
Office Togolais des Recettes (OTR)
41 Rue des Impôts
02 BP 20823
Lomé, Togo
+228 – 22 53 14 00
otr@otr.tg 

Contact at a “watchdog” organization:

Samuel Kaninda
Regional Coordinator, West Africa
Transparency International
Alt-Moabit 96
10559 Berlin
Germany
+49 30 3438 20 773
skaninda@transparency.org 

10. Political and Security Environment

After a period of political instability and economic stagnation from 1990 to 2007, the government started the country along a gradual path to political reconciliation and democratic reform. Togo has held multiple presidential, legislative, and local elections that were deemed generally free and fair by international observers, though the most recent legislative elections were boycotted by the majority of the opposition. Political reconciliation has moved slowly. A political crisis erupted in 2017 regarding the failure of the government to implement political measures, such as presidential term limits. After international facilitation between the government and opposition parties, in May 2019 the government implemented non-retroactive term limits and a two-round election system. The government held local elections in 2019, the first since 1986. President Faure Gnassingbe was elected for a fourth term on February 22, 2020 in a peaceful election.

Political protests still occur on occasion and can often lead to tire burning, stone throwing, and government responses include the use of tear gas and other crowd control techniques. There are no known examples over the past ten years of damage to projects and/or installations pertaining to foreign investment due to political violence.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

The labor market is predominately unskilled and there is a shortage of skilled labor and English-speaking employees. Some migrant farm workers arrive from Ghana and Benin based on familial ties. Widespread underemployment exists, and an estimated 3 million workers participate in the informal economy, which motors the economy.

In general, government labor policy favors employment of nationals.

Regulations require that firms hire workers with time specific contracts that include severance requirements. The labor code, and regulations called the “Convention Collective” differentiate between layoffs and firings, but both require severance payments. Free Trade zones offer different labor law provisions to encourage investment.

Public employee unions (teacher, judicial clerks, etc) use collective bargaining, and are willing to take to the streets in non-violent protest to raise the profile of their demands. Labor disputes are often resolved on an ad-hoc basis, usually with the intervention of parliamentarians.

Togo adopted a new Labor Code on December 29, 2020, replacing the 2006 code. The new code has increased social protection measures, requires employers to register employees with the National Social Security Fund (CNSS), and introduces severance pay and precarious work premiums. At the same time, it provides greater flexibility in the labor market by allowing for a variety of contract types depending on a company’s activities (e.g. seasonal labor, project-based contracts, telework). Finally, the new code allows the government to favor disadvantaged geographic areas and social groups.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) N/A NA 2020 $7.575
billion
www.worldbank.org/en/country
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 $350 2017 $0 BEA data available at https://apps.bea.gov/international/
factsheet/
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 $0 2017 $0 BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/
direct-investment-and-multinational-
enterprises-comprehensive-data
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2020 8.5% UNCTAD data available at

https://stats.unctad.org/handbook/ 

*Coordinated Direct Investment Survey – Data by Economy – IMF Data
Note: U.S. based ContourGlobal built a 100 megawatt power plant in Togo in 2010. This FDI is not recorded in official U.S. government statistics.

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data (through 2020)
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward 2,302 100% Total Outward 5,312 100%
South Africa 943 41% Niger 1,763 33%
Qatar 546 24% Benin 561 11%
Cyprus 138 6% Gambia 541 10%
Côte d’Ivoire 112 5% Sao Tome & Principe 444 8%
Gibraltar 83 4% Côte d’Ivoire 428 8%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

Data not available.

Tunisia

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Tunisia adopted law no. 35 in June 2018 to encourage Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The law requires companies to allocate a portion of their budgets to finance CSR projects such as those in sustainable development, green economy, and youth employment. According to the law, an organization in charge of monitoring CSR projects will be created to ensure that the projects comply with the principles of good governance and sustainable development. Tunisia is an adherent to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Since 1989, the public sector has been subject to a government procurement law that requires labor, environmental, and other impact studies for large procurement projects. All public institutions are subject to audits by the Court of Auditors (Cour des Comptes).

The Tunisian Central Bank issued a circular in 2011 setting guidelines for sound and prudent business management and guaranteeing and safeguarding the interests of shareholders, creditors, depositors and staff. The circular also established policies on recruitment, appointment, and remuneration, as well as dissemination of information to shareholders, depositors, market counterparts, regulators, and the general public.

In January 2019, the High Committee for Administrative and Financial Control (HCCAF) under the Presidency of the Government, published a guide on best practices for improved governance of public enterprises and establishments.

In May 2019, the Parliament adopted law no. 2019-47, which introduced in Chapter 5 a set of articles designed to improve corporate governance and increase transparency. For example, the new legislation required that all companies listed on Tunisia’s stock exchange have on their board of directors at least two independent members, and separate individuals serving as the chairman of the board and the chief executive officer.

On October 14, 2020, the High Instance for Public Procurement (HAICOP) under the Presidency of the Government, published a report on risk management strategy in public procurement.

In March 2022, President Saied issued decrees regarding the creation of “community companies” and the penal reconciliation program that will help fund them. The intention is for

community companies to be established by private communities in marginalized areas of the country to help with infrastructure development and job creation. Community companies will receive funding from financial penalties paid by businesspeople found guilty of economic and financial crimes, and they will receive amnesty in return.

The national point of contact for OECD for Multinational Enterprises guidelines is:

Ministry of Economy
Avenue Mohamed V
1002 Tunis
Tel: +216 7184 9596
Fax: +216 7179 9069

Tunisia has not yet joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). However, in June 2012, former Prime Minister Hammadi Jebali announced the GOT’s decision to implement the EITI. In June 2016, Tunisia officially began publicizing all documents pertaining to oil agreements signed in Tunisia, including permits and operating benefits governed by specific agreements and annexes dating to 1960. Tunisia participated in the eighth world conference of the EITI in Paris, France, in 2019.

Per Tunisia’s 2014 constitution, projects related to commercial development of oil, natural gas, or minerals are subject to Parliamentary approval. However, following the July 25, 2021 events resulting in the freeze of the Parliament, these decisions are currently made by the Ministerial Council.

9. Corruption

Most U.S. firms involved in the Tunisian market do not identify corruption as a primary obstacle to foreign direct investment. However, some have reported that routine procedures for doing business (customs, transportation, and some bureaucratic paperwork) are sometimes tainted by corrupt practices. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2021 gave Tunisia a score of 44 out of 100 and a rank of 70 among 180 countries marking the same score and a slight ranking improvement from 69 in 2020. Regionally, Tunisia is ranked 7 for transparency among MENA countries and first in North Africa, ahead of Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, and Libya. Transparency International expressed concern that Tunisia’s score has not improved in recent years despite advances in anti-corruption legislation, including laws to protect whistleblowers, improve access to information, and encourage asset declarations by public officials or individuals with public trust roles.

Polls indicated that most citizens viewed widespread corruption as a key hindrance to effective government. President Saied has consistently stated that ending corruption and prosecuting corrupt businesspeople and others is one of his top priorities. Since July 25, 2021, some members of parliament were charged and detained based on corruption allegations. Recent government efforts to combat corruption include: assurances that price controls on staple and basic food products are respected; combatting price gouging; hoarding, and monopolistic practices; enhancement of commercial competition in the domestic market; arrests of corrupt businessmen and officials; and harmonization of Tunisian corruption laws with those of the European Union.

The constitution requires those holding high government offices to declare assets “as provided by law.” In 2018, Parliament adopted the Assets Declaration Law, identifying 35 categories of public officials required to declare their assets upon being elected or appointed and upon leaving office. By law, the National Authority for the Combat Against Corruption (INLUCC) is then responsible for publishing the lists of assets of these individuals on its website. In addition, the law requires other individuals in specified professions that have a public role to declare their assets to the INLUCC, although this information is not made public. This provision applies to journalists, media figures, civil society leaders, political party leaders, and union officials. The law also enumerates a “gift” policy, defines measures to avoid conflicts of interest, and stipulates the sanctions that apply in cases of illicit enrichment. In 2019, Tunisia’s newly elected government officials declared their assets, including the 217 Members of Parliament. The declaration of assets was also made in September 2020 and again in October 2021, when new governments took office.

On August 20 security personnel ordered the closure of INLUCC’s headquarters. Beside the declaration of assets by the new cabinet on October 15, 2021, INLUCC’s offices have remained closed and its work paused.  INLUCC’s regional offices have been closed since January 1, 2022. The government has not given a reason for the ongoing closure and has not announced plans for the creation of an alternative anticorruption institution.

In February 2017, Parliament passed law no. 2017-10 on corruption reporting and whistleblower protection. The legislation was a significant step in the fight against corruption, as it establishes the mechanisms, conditions, and procedures for denouncing corruption. Article 17 of the law provides protection for whistleblowers, and any act of reprisal against them is considered a punishable crime. For public servants, the law also guarantees the protection of whistleblowers against possible retaliation from their superiors. In September 2017, the GOT established the Independent Access to Information Commission.  This authority was prescribed in the 2016 Access to Information Law to proactively encourage government agencies to comply with the new law and to adjudicate complaints against the government for failing to comply with the law. Following the passage of the access to information and whistleblower protection laws, the government initiated an anti-corruption campaign led by then prime minister Youssef Chahed.  A series of arrests and investigations targeted well-known businesspersons, politicians, journalists, police officers, and customs officials.  Preliminary charges included embezzlement, fraud, and taking bribes.

Tunisia’s penal code devotes 11 articles to defining and classifying corruption and assigns corresponding penalties (including fines and imprisonment). Several other regulations also address broader concepts of corruption. Detailed information on the application of these laws and their effectiveness in combating corruption is not publicly available, and there are no GOT statistics specific to corruption. The Independent Commission to Investigate Corruption handled corruption complaints from 1987 to 2011. The commission referred 5 percent of cases to the Ministry of Justice. In 2012, the commission was replaced by the National Authority to Combat Corruption (INLUCC), which has the authority to forward corruption cases to the Ministry of Justice, give opinions on legislative and regulatory anti-corruption efforts, propose policies and collect data on corruption, and facilitate contact between anti-corruption efforts in the government and civil society. Tunisia’s constitution stipulates that INLUCC is a temporary institution, and that Parliament must appoint members to a permanent Institute for Good Governance and Anticorruption.  Parliament did not make substantive progress toward establishing this permanent institution prior to July 25, 2021. Prime Minister Fakhfakh resigned on July 15, 2020, following allegations of a conflict of interest involving his partial ownership of companies that received government contracts.  In apparent retaliation for his ouster, Fakhfakh dismissed then INLUCC president Chawki Tabib, replacing him with Imed Boukhris, a former judge.

During a March 16, 2019 press conference, INLUCC president Chawki Tabib said that it takes 7-10 years on average for corruption cases to be processed in the judicial system. In 2018, the Tunisian Financial Analysis Committee, which operates under the auspices of the Central Bank as a financial intelligence unit, announced that it froze approximately 200 million dinars ($70 million) linked to suspected money-laundering transactions. The committee received approximately 600 reports of suspicious transactions related to corruption and illicit financial flows during the year.

Since 1989, a comprehensive law designed to regulate each phase of public procurement has governed the public sector. The GOT also established the Higher Commission on Public Procurement (HAICOP) to supervise the tender and award process for major government contracts. The government publicly supports a policy of transparency. Public tenders require bidders to provide a sworn statement that they have not and will not, either by themselves or through a third party, make any promises or give gifts with a view to influencing the outcome of the tender and realization of the project. Starting September 2018, the government imposed by decree that all public procurement operations be conducted electronically via a bidding platform called Tunisia Online E-Procurement System (TUNEPS). Despite the law, competition on government tenders appears susceptible to corrupt behavior. Pursuant to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the U.S. Government requires that American companies requesting U.S. Government advocacy certify that they do not participate in corrupt practices.

10. Political and Security Environment

President Kais Saied was elected in the aftermath of presidential and parliamentary elections held in September and October 2019, the country’s first elections since its post-revolution constitution was ratified in 2014, which were widely regarded as well-executed and credible.  The transition of power was smooth and without incident, following a clear procedure outlined by the 2014 constitution.

In the 10 years since the revolution, Tunisia has made significant progress in the areas of civil society and rights-based reforms, but economic indicators continue to lag and have been a major driver of frequent protests.  Public opinion polls indicated that corruption, poor economic conditions, and persistently high unemployment fuel public discontent with the political class.

On July 25, citing widespread protests and political paralysis, President Saied took “exceptional measures” under Article 80 of the constitution to dismiss Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, freeze parliament’s activities for 30 days, and lift the immunity of members of parliament. On August 23, Saied announced an indefinite extension of the “exceptional measures” period and on September 22, he issued a decree granting the president certain executive, legislative, and judiciary powers and authority to rule by decree, but allowed continued implementation of the preamble and chapters one and two, which guarantee rights and freedoms. Civil society organizations and multiple political parties raised concern that through these decrees President Saied granted himself unprecedented decision-making powers, without checks and balances and for an unlimited period. On September 29, Saied named Najla Bouden Romdhane as prime minister, and on October 11, she formed a government. On December 13, Saied announced a timeline for constitutional reforms including public consultations and the establishment of a committee to revise the constitution and electoral laws, leading to a national referendum in July 2022. Parliamentary elections would follow in December 2022. On March 30, President Saied issued a decree formally dissolving Parliament.

Terrorist groups continue to operate in the mountains of Western Tunisia and developments in Libya continue to affect the security situation along the Tunisian-Libyan border. Extremist groups, including ISIS affiliates, operate and recruit in the country’s interior, particularly in disadvantaged regions. Tunisia has been under a State of Emergency since November 24, 2015, following two major terrorist attacks that targeted tourism destinations. Under the state of emergency, security forces have more authority to maintain civil order, enabling the government to focus on combating terrorism. Despite COVID-19 and economic challenges that affect national resources, Tunisia continues to demonstrate consistent security force readiness to combat security threats. There have been no terrorist attacks targeting tourists or other western interests since June 2015. Extremist elements continue to target police and military forces in suspected “lone wolf” attacks, including in front of the U.S. Embassy on March 6, 2020, and more recently in November 2021 at the Ministry of Interior in downtown Tunis. Travelers are urged to visit www.travel.state.gov for the latest travel alerts and warnings regarding Tunisia.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

According to National Institute of Statistics (INS) 2021 figures, Tunisia has a labor force of 3.4 million, 29 percent of which are women and 71 percent men. The number of unemployed in 2021 reached 746,400 people. The official 2021 unemployment rate was 18.4 percent (representing the unemployment rate for the third quarter of 2021). In November 2021, the INS published 2021unemployment rates per region, including 30 percent in the northwest, 25 percent in the southwest, 22.1 percent in the center-west, 23.4 percent in southeast, and 15.8 percent in Greater Tunis. Professionals, such as IT engineers, doctors, and professors, continue to seek employment abroad. Tunisian interlocuters maintain that around 70 percent of Tunisian young professionals seek employment in other countries after graduation. Additionally, an INS study estimated that 44.8 percent of the Tunisian workforce is employed in the parallel economy, including 11.8 percent in agriculture and fisheries.

Over the past two decades, the structure of the workforce remained relatively stable, and as of the last quarter of 2020, it stood at 13.3 percent in agriculture and fishing, 33.9 percent in industry, and 52.8 percent in commerce and services. Tunisia has developed its industrial sector and created low-skilled employment, although several manufacturers struggle to find qualified technical workers. Tunisian law provides workers with the right to organize, form and join unions, and bargain collectively. The law prohibits anti-union discrimination by employers and retribution against strikers. The government generally enforces applicable laws.

Currently, four national labor confederations operate in Tunisia. The oldest and largest is the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT — Union Générale des Travailleurs Tunisiens). The others are the General Confederation of Tunisian Workers (CGTT — Confederation Générale des Travailleurs Tunisiens), the Tunisian Labor Union (UTT — Union Tunisienne du Travail), created in May 2011, and the Tunisian Labor Organization (OTT — Organisation Tunisienne du Travail), created in August 2013. However, based on the criteria established by the Ministry of Social Affairs in 2018, only UGTT can negotiate with the government on behalf of all Tunisian workers within the National Council of Social Dialogue, which has drawn criticism from other labor federations. UGTT claims about one third of the salaried labor force as members, although more are covered under UGTT-negotiated contracts. Wages and working conditions are established through triennial collective bargaining agreements between the UGTT, the national employers’ association (UTICA — Union Tunisienne de l’Industrie, du Commerce, et de l’Artisanat), and the GOT. These tripartite agreements set industry standards and generally apply to about 80 percent of the private sector labor force, regardless of whether individual companies are unionized. The regional tripartite commissions also arbitrate labor disputes. Employees have strong legal protections against dismissal. According to the labor code, employer bankruptcy is not a just cause for termination of an employee contract. Dismissal of an employee for economic considerations requires notification to the regional labor inspectorate for review and concurrence.

In January 2022, UGTT and UTICA signed an agreement to increase wages in the private sector in 2022, 2023 and 2024. This agreement includes an increase in the Guaranteed Minimum Wage (SMIG) and in allowances/benefits. This convention implements the agreement signed on September 19, 2018 between the two organizations

Uganda

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

Awareness of responsible business conduct varies greatly among corporate actors in Uganda. No organizations formally monitor compliance with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards. CSR is not a requirement for an investor to obtain an investment license and CSR programs are voluntary. While government officials make statements encouraging CSR, there is no formal government program to monitor, require, or encourage CSR. In practice, endemic corruption often enables companies to engage in harmful or illegal practices with impunity. Regulations on human and labor rights, and consumer and environmental protection, are seldom and inconsistently enforced.

Uganda’s capacity and political will to regulate the mineral trade across its borders remain weak. On March 17, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Belgian national Alain Goetz, his company the African Gold Refinery in Uganda, and a network of companies involved in the illicit movement of gold valued at hundreds of millions of dollars per year from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Uganda’s gold refining sector, which includes at least two other refineries in addition to African Gold Refinery (AGR), relies on conflict minerals illicitly imported from neighboring countries, especially from eastern DRC. While Uganda has no significant gold reserves, in FY 2020/21, gold remained the country’s largest export for the third FY in a row, totaling $2.2 billion.

Due to Uganda’s rampant corruption, the Ugandan government does not adequately enforce domestic laws related to human rights, labor rights, consumer protection, environmental protections, or other laws intended to protect individuals from adverse business impacts. According to the UN Panel of Experts reports, AGR, Uganda’s largest gold refinery, does not adhere to OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas, and there is no indication the Ugandan government is urging it to do so. Uganda joined the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative in August 2020. As part of the process, Uganda formed a multi-stakeholder group (MSG) composed of government, industry, and civil society. As Uganda looks to develop its oil and gas sector, the MSG will monitor transparency and accountability in the sector, including environmental impact and land rights issues. Uganda has not formally adopted the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

9. Corruption

Uganda has generally adequate laws to combat corruption, and an interlocking web of anti-corruption institutions. The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority Act’s Code of Ethical Standards (Code) requires bidders and contractors to disclose any possible conflict of interest when applying for government contracts. However, endemic corruption remains a serious problem and a major obstacle to investment. Transparency International ranked Uganda 144 out of 180 countries in its 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, dropping two places from 2020. While anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials and political parties, in practice many well-connected individuals enjoy de facto immunity for corrupt acts and are rarely prosecuted in court.

The government does not require companies to adopt specific internal procedures to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. Larger private companies implement internal control policies; however, with 80% of the workforce in the informal sector, much of the private sector operates without such systems. While Uganda has signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention, it is not yet party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and does not protect non–governmental organizations investigating corruption. Some corruption watchdog organizations allege government harassment.

U.S. firms consistently identify corruption as a major hurdle to business and investment. Corruption in government procurement processes remains particularly problematic for foreign companies seeking to bid on Ugandan government contracts.

10. Political and Security Environment

There has been an uptick in crime over the past several years – particularly after the start of the pandemic – and Uganda has also experienced periodic political violence associated with elections and other political activities. Security services routinely use excessive force to stop peaceful protests and demonstrations. In 2021, Uganda experienced twin suicide bombings in the capital, Kampala, and another bomb explosion in the city outskirts. In the twin suicide explosions, one targeted the main central police station and the other took place a few dozen meters away from parliament gate. Four victims and the bombers were killed in the twin suicide bombings; ISIS-DRC claimed responsibility for both, as well as the earlier bombing on the outskirts, which killed one. Also in 2021, Minister of Works and Transport Gen. Katumba Wamala was targeted by armed assailants who fired bullets at his car, killing his daughter and driver. He survived with minor injuries. Political tensions increased dramatically prior to, during, and after the January 2021 general elections. Security forces in unmarked cars picked up dozens of opposition supporters and held them in detention long past the constitutionally mandated limit. Cases of torture allegedly perpetrated by elements within the security forces persist.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Over 70% of Ugandans are engaged in the agriculture sector, and only 20% work in the formal sector. Statistics on the number of foreign/migrant workers are not publicly available; however, given the abundance of cheap domestic labor, there is minimal import of unskilled labor. Conversely, there is an acute shortage of skilled and specialized laborers. Uganda has a large informal sector that is estimated to contribute at least 50% of Uganda’s GDP. The informal sector, however, contributes less direct tax revenue; Uganda’s government is implementing several tax policies to raise revenue. Targeting the informal sector would reduce the pressure to tax foreign businesses. The passing of the Landlord and Tenant Bill in 2022 also sought to formalize the relationship between landlords and, especially, informal tenants.

While there are no explicit provisions requiring the hiring of Ugandan nationals, there are broad standards requiring investors to contribute to the creation of local employment. The Petroleum Exploration, Development, and Production Act of 2013 and the Petroleum Refining, Conversion, Transmission, and Midstream Storage Act of 2013 require investors to contribute to workforce development by providing skills training for workers.

Ugandan labor laws specify procedures for termination of employment and for termination payments. Depending on the employee’s duration of employment, employers are required to notify an employee two weeks to three months prior to the termination date. Employees terminated without notice are entitled to severance wages. Ugandan law only differentiates between termination with notice (or payment in lieu of notice) and summary dismissal (termination without notice). Summary dismissal applies when the employee fundamentally violates his/her terms of employment. Uganda does not provide unemployment insurance or any other social safety net programs for terminated workers. Current law requires employers to contribute 10% of an employee’s gross salary to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). The Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority Act of 2011 provides a framework for the establishment and management of retirement benefits schemes for the public and private sectors and created an enabling environment for liberalization of the pension sector.

The Employment Act of 2006 does not allow waivers of labor laws for foreign investors. Ugandan law allows workers, except members of the armed forces, to form and join independent unions, bargain collectively, and conduct legal strikes. The National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) has 20 member unions. Its rival, the Central Organization of Free Trade Unions (COFTU), also has 20 member unions. Union officials estimate that nearly half of employees in the formal sector belong to unions. In 2014, the Government of Uganda created the Industrial Court (IC) to arbitrate labor disputes. Public sector strikes are not uncommon in Uganda; however, there were no strikes during the past year.

Uganda ratified all eight International Labor Organization fundamental conventions enshrining labor and other economic rights, and partially incorporated these conventions into the 1995 Constitution, which stipulates and protects a wide range of economic rights. Despite these legal protections, many Ugandans work in unsafe environments due to poor enforcement and the limited scope of the labor laws. Labor laws do not protect domestic, agricultural, and informal sector workers.

Uganda’s monthly minimum wage remains $1.64.

Zambia

1. Openness To and Restrictions Upon Foreign Investment

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The government in theory limits its direct involvement in business to strategic investments deemed critical for the delivery of public goods and services and seeks to maintain high standards of consumer protection. While Zambia is a high performer among low-income countries in terms of Responsible Business Conduct (RBC), it lacks clearly formulated or well-implemented RBC policies.

The government has sought to improve implementation of legislative and regulatory reforms that impact RBC. As an example, most investment ventures are required to create and submit environmental impact assessments as a prerequisite to the approval process. The government requires many investment sectors, such as insurance, banking, and financial services, to submit annual audited financial statements as a licensing condition. In the case of financial services, quarterly publication of financial statements is compulsory and rigidly enforced by the BoZ.

Zambia has ratified a number of international human rights conventions, such as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. At the national level, the lead authority for upholding human rights norms is the Human Rights Commission (HRC), while the Industrial and Labor Relations Act addresses labor issues. The Act provides the legal framework for trade unions, employers’ organizations and their federations, the Tripartite Consultative Labor Council, and the Industrial Relations Court. The Employment Act, Chapter 268, is the basic employment law, while the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act makes provisions for the regulation of minimum wage levels and minimum conditions of employment. Currently, the average minimum wage per month for employees, starting with general or domestic workers, stands at 1,132 kwacha (~$62@04/2022), to include food and transportation.

The government supports measures that encourage responsible business conduct and has recognized the importance of adopting international practices. The main challenges include domesticating international practices and strengthening regulatory capacities. In many cases, the business sector is encouraged by the government to adopt practices that promote responsible business conduct on a “voluntary basis.” For example, the Institute of Directors Zambia (IODZ) actively advocated the introduction of “Board Charters” that set out good corporate standards (such as ethical conduct) with which business enterprises will be associated and will implement. The Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) is also promoting the adoption of “Sector Codes” by the business sectors that commit themselves to supporting citizens’ economic empowerment. In addition, a number of public institutions have established Integrity Committees that address the strengthening of internal policies and procedures for combating corruption, in compliance with the Anti-Corruption Act of 2012. The private sector is also encouraged to either establish similar Integrity Committees or to strengthen their corporate governance standards to effectively address corruption.

The Zambian government seeks to maintain high standards of consumer protection by, for example, following the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection. The Competition and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 seeks to encourage competition in the economy, protect consumer welfare, strengthen the efficiency of production and distribution of goods and services, secure the best possible conditions for the freedom of trade, expand the base of entrepreneurship, and regulate monopolies and concentrations of economic power. Most local manufacturers of consumer products have submitted to voluntary product testing and certification by the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS); ZABS certification is then embossed on the product labels as a “mark of quality” indicating the product’s suitability for consumption. Legislative measures have also been agreed with food processors and drug manufacturers that indicate product manufacturing and expiry dates.

A number of mining companies have acceded to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), adapted in February 2009 for Zambian conditions, and allow independent audits of their operations and financial reporting. EITI audit results are available to the general public. Zambia has been an EITI compliant country since September 2012. The government receives revenue in the form of taxes and royalties from all extractive industries, including mining. The mining sector accounts for about 12 percent of GDP and around 70 percent of export revenue. All exploration and mining activities are governed by the Mines and Minerals Act of 2008 and other mining related regulations that include: the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act, the Explosives Act, and the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act. The GRZ, through the Ministry of Mines and Minerals, conducts open bidding and grants mining licenses to qualified bidders. The Zambian Revenue Authority collects all payments from mining companies and remits them to the Ministry of Finance. The Zambian Revenue Authority regularly publishes production volumes for copper, cobalt, and gold, and the names of companies operating in the country.

9. Corruption

Zambia’s anti-corruption activities are governed by the Anti-Corruption Act of 2012 and the National Anti-Corruption Policy of 2009, which stipulate penalties for different offenses. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is the supreme institution mandated to fight corruption in Zambia and works with partner institutions-Zambia Police, Drug Enforcement Agency and Intelligence Services. While legislation and stated policies on anti-corruption are adequate in theory, implementation often falls short due to limited technical capacity and suspected corruption within key government institutions. The Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act of 2010 provides for the disclosure of conduct adverse to the public interest in the public and private sectors. However, like with other laws and policies, enforcement is weak. Zambia lacks adequate laws on asset disclosure, evidence, and freedom of information. Although the ACC has the mandate to investigate corruption and sometimes prosecute, it lacks autonomy to fully prosecute cases, often requiring authorization to prosecute from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). This practice has been criticized as a conduit for shielding high level crime and corruption through the executive which is perceived as influencing the DPP as an appointing authority. In March 2019 Cabinet approved the Access to Information Bill (ATI), but the draft bill has not been made public or presented to Parliament as of March 2022. The bill aims to ensure the government is proactive and organized in disseminating information to the public. Versions of the ATI Bill have been pending since 2002.

In 2021, Zambia established a fast-track financial crimes court to prosecute public corruption cases. The Hichilema administration has dismissed several key civil service staff and arrested numerous former government officials on suspicion of corruption. Zambia maintained a ranking of 117 out of 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report — a drop from 113 in the 2019 report. The legal and institutional frameworks against corruption have been strengthened, and efforts have been made to reduce red tape and streamline bureaucratic procedures, as well as to investigate and prosecute corruption cases, including those involving high-ranking officials. Most of these cases, however, remain on the shelves waiting to be tried while officials remain free, sometimes still occupying the positions through which the alleged corruption took place. In March 2018, Parliament passed the Public Finance Management Bill, which allows the government to prosecute public officials for misappropriating funds, something previous legislation lacked. The government published the implementing regulations in November 2020. Despite this progress, corruption remains a serious issue in Zambia, affecting the lives of ordinary citizens and their access to public services. Corruption in the police service has emerged as an area of particular concern (with frequency of bribery well above that found in any other sector), followed by corruption in the Road Transport and Safety Agency. The government has cited corruption in public procurements and contracting procedures as major areas of concern.

The Anti-Money Laundering Unit of the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) also assists with investigation of allegations of corruption and financial misconduct. An independent Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) was established in 2010 but does not have the authority to prosecute financial crimes. Zambia’s anti-corruption agencies generally do not discriminate between local and foreign investors. Transparency International has an active Zambian chapter.

The government encourages private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials. Most large private companies have internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery. The Integrity Committees (ICs) Initiative is one of the strategies of the National Anti-Corruption Policy (NACP), which is aimed at institutionalizing the prevention of corruption. The NACP received the Cabinet’s approval in March 2009 and the Anti-Corruption Commission spearheads its implementation. The NACP targets eight institutions, including the Zambia Revenue Authority, Immigration Department, and Ministry of Lands. The government has taken measures to enhance protection of whistleblowers and witnesses with the enactment of the Public Disclosure Act, as well as to strengthen protection of citizens against false reports, in line with Article 32 of the UN Convention.

U.S. firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to foreign direct investment. Corruption is most pervasive in government procurement and dispute settlement. Giving or accepting a bribe by a private, public, or foreign official is a criminal act, and a person convicted of doing so is liable to a fine or a prison term not exceeding five years. A bribe by a local company or individual to a foreign official is a criminal act and punishable under the laws of Zambia. A local company cannot deduct a bribe to a foreign official from taxes. Many businesses have complained that bribery and kickbacks, however, remain rampant and difficult to police, as some companies have noted government officials’ complicity in and/or benefitting from corrupt deals.

Zambia signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption in December 2007. Other regional anti-corruption initiatives are the SADC Protocol against Corruption, ratified in 2003, and the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, ratified in 2007. Zambia is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions but is a party to the Anticorruption Convention. Currently, there are no local industries or non-profit groups that offer services for vetting potential local investment partners. Normally, the U.S. Embassy provides limited vetting of potential local investment partners for U.S. businesses, when contracted as a commercial service.

10. Political and Security Environment

Zambia has benefited from almost 30 years of largely peaceful multi-party politics, with 3 peaceful transfers of executive power. Zambia does not have a history of large-scale political violence. National elections in 2021 were largely peaceful and former President Edgar Lungu conceded defeat to Hakainde Hichilema. The rise in street crime remains a significant concern as the Zambian economy struggles to create meaningful employment opportunities for young people.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

About a third of Zambia’s employed population works in the formal sector. While an abundance of unskilled labor exists in Zambia, investors complain that the supply of skilled and semi-skilled labor is inadequate, while labor-management relations vary by sector. Zambia’s population is estimated to be around 17.86 million, the majority being of employable age. Zambia’s 2020 Labor Force Survey reported that the working-age population (i.e., 15 years or older) was 9,905,071. Labor demand, however, does not match supply and Zambia has high rates of unemployment, youth unemployment, and underemployment while living costs have risen steadily. The government adheres closely to International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions and has ratified all eight ILO core conventions. The government has continuously sought to revise labor laws and improve compliance, but there are still gaps in law and practice. Strikes are not uncommon in the public sector and often are related to the government’s failure to pay salaries or allowances on time, but lawful strikes are very difficult to hold due to several restrictions and conditions.

Labor laws provide for extremely generous severance pay, leave, and other benefits to workers, which can impede investment. Such rules do not apply to personnel hired on a short-term basis. As such, the vast majority of Zambian employees are hired on an informal or short-term basis. In September 2018, the Minimum Wage and Conditions of Employment Act 276 of the laws of Zambia were revised following issuance of Statutory Instrument (SI) number 69 of 2018 covering domestic workers. This revision doubled the minimum wage of certain classes of low-wage workers. The Employment Code Act No. 3 of 2019, which went into effect in May 2020, furthers the employees’ protections and expands severance and gratuity payments, whether the employee is terminated or come to an end of contract, regardless of who employs them.

The Employment Act, Chapter 268 covers employment and labor related issues. While the law recognizes the right of workers to form and join independent unions, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively, there are statutory restrictions limiting these rights. Police officers, military personnel, and certain other categories of workers are excluded from exercising these rights. No trade union can be registered if it claims to represent a class of employees already represented by an existing trade union. At least 25 members are required, and registration may take up to six months. The government has discretionary power to exclude certain categories of workers, including prison staff, judges, registrars of the court, magistrates, and local court justices from labor law provisions. The law also gives the labor commissioner the power to suspend and appoint an interim executive board of a trade union, as well as to dissolve the board and call for a new election.

The government generally protects unions’ right to conduct their activities without interference. Trade unions are independent of government, but the Ministry of Labor and Social Security is ultimately responsible for employment exchange services and enforcing labor legislation. An employer is allowed to terminate a contract of service on grounds of redundancy; however, the Employment Act requires the employer fulfill certain conditions before terminating a contract of service on such grounds. One of these conditions is notifying the employee’s trade union. The Act makes a clear distinction between layoffs and severance. In the event an employee is summarily dismissed, he/she shall be paid upon dismissal the wages and allowances due up to the date of such dismissal. The government formally permits employment of expatriate labor only in sectors where there is scarcity of local personnel, but investors promoting large scale investments can negotiate the number of work permits that they can obtain from the Department of Immigration to employ expatriates.

The law does not limit the scope of collective bargaining, but it allows either party, in certain cases, to refer a labor dispute to court or arbitration. The law also allows for a maximum period of one year from the day on which the complaint is filed within which a court must consider the complaint and issue its ruling. The law provides for the right to strike if recourse to all legal options is first exhausted. The law prohibits workers engaged in a broadly defined range of essential services from striking. Under Zambian law, essential services are defined as any activity relating to the generation, supply, or distribution of electricity; the supply and distribution of water and sewage removal; fire departments; and the mining sector. Employees in the Zambian Defense Forces, judiciary, police, prison, and the Zambia Security Intelligence Service (ZSIS) personnel are also considered essential. The government has power to add other services to the list of essential services, in consultation with the tripartite consultative labor council.

The process of exhausting the legal alternatives to a strike is lengthy. The law also limits the maximum duration of a strike to 14 days, after which, if the dispute remains unsolved, it is referred to the court. A strike can be discontinued if the court finds it not to be “in the public interest.” Workers who engage in illegal strikes may be dismissed by employers. The Industrial and Labor Relations Act, Chapter 269, Part IX covers the settling of labor disputes. Aggrieved parties may report the matter to a labor officer, who would take steps deemed fit to affect a settlement between the parties and would encourage the use of collective bargaining facilities where applicable. In the event of a collective dispute between an employer and a trade union regarding the terms and conditions of employment, claims and demands must be put in writing and both parties must have held at least one meeting with a view to reaching a settlement. Such disputes are referred to a conciliator or board of conciliators to be appointed by both parties to the dispute. If the conciliator fails to resolve the problem, the conciliator will inform the Labor Commissioner, who will call on the Minister of Labor to appoint a conciliator who will again call the parties to consider dispute resolution. If all efforts to resolve the matter fail, it is then taken to the Industrial Relations Court for arbitration.

Other internationally recognized fundamental labor rights, including the elimination of forced labor, child labor employment, discrimination, minimum wage, occupational safety and health, and weekly work hours are all recognized under domestic law, but enforcement is often weak. The government has supported the development of programming to empower adolescent girls and reduce child labor in rural areas. However, children in Zambia continue to engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in the production of tobacco, and in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Gaps remain in the legal framework related to children; for example, the Education Act does not include the specific age to which education is compulsory, which may leave children under the legal working age vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor. In addition, law enforcement agencies lack the necessary human and financial resources to adequately enforce laws against child labor. There is no documented number of children in Zambia who are engaged in child labor, but studies point to a yearly increase in the number of these children, who work primarily in the agriculture and mining sectors. Cotton, tobacco, cattle, gems, and stones are included on the U.S. Government’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor in Zambia.

The Department of Labor and the Department of Occupational Safety and Health of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security monitor labor abuses, as well as health and safety standards in low-wage assembly operations such as construction. Two primary labor stakeholders, the Zambian Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Zambian Federation of Employers (ZFE), assist with Ministry of Labor enforcement. The worker and employer organizations are consulted at tripartite gatherings on any proposed policy document or legislation, and they participate in labor inspections. The Ministry of Labor produces annual inspection reports, which are made available to social partners. In December 2015, Parliament passed, and the president signed a suite of amendments to the Employment Act that prohibit casual labor and increase protections for unskilled workers. Zambia has benefited from duty-free and quota-free market access from the GSP in the U.S. market under AGOA.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($BM USD) 2020 N/A 2020 $18.11 https://data.worldbank.org/
country/zambia
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2020 N/A 2020 $21 BEA data available at
https://apps.bea.gov/international/
factsheet/factsheet.cfm
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2020 N/A 2020 -$1 BEA data available at
https://apps.bea.gov/international/
factsheet/factsheet.cfm
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2020 N/A 2020 1.3% UNCTAD data available at
https://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/
World%20Investment%20Report/
Country-Fact-Sheets.aspx
 

* Host country statistical data released is almost non-existent. If it exists, there is not a central source for retrieving the data, and at most times it does not match international sources.

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data**
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Stock Outward Direct Investment Stock
Total Inward $12,383.6 100% Total Outward $725.8 100%
Canada $3,387 27.4% Switzerland $165.8 22.8%
China $2,439 19.7% United States $22.3 3%
Switzerland $2,382 19.2% South Africa $6.5 0.9%
Netherlands $1,775 14.3% Mauritius $3 0.4%
Australia $890 7.2% Rest of the World $2.6 0.4%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

**Bank of Zambia Private Capital Flow 2021 Report