LEAP Conference discussion feed – contribution from Malcolm Dowden

1 comment Governance, Human Rights, Land/Environment, LEAP

Malcom-blog-picConsultant at Charles Russell LLP and Director at Law2020 LLP


During a recent Law Society workshop in Dar es Salaam on Public Private Partnerships for infrastructure projects two key issues with rule of law implications emerged:


1. Ensuring that infrastructure projects (eg transport) recognise and protect community land rights. In this context, we discussed problems, identified in the context of project funding and the Equator Principles, of designing a dispute resolution and grievance mechanism that identifies and addresses communal rights at an early enough stage in the project, and without costs that would bar communal access to justice, and


2. How governments in the region should respond to unsolicited project proposals (ie where a project is offered to government in return for an exclusive contract). The question is whether the project should be awarded to the proposer or put out for competitive tender. A key argument in favour of competitive tender is that it increases the chances of dealing properly with land rights and leads to a more open, transparent and fair contract process – itself a key rule of law concern.


Both issues would seem to me to merit further discussion by those likely to attend the inaugural LEAP conference.




Malcolm expands on these issues in an extremely insightful article titled “Responsible railways? Land rights and infrastructure development in Africa”
Published in the International Railway Journal 2 May 2014