Mizan Law Review publishes peer reviewed scholarly articles that identify, examine, explore and analyze legal and related principles, stipulations and concepts based on research findings. Mizan’s articles aim at interpretation, description, exploration and diagnosis towards the solution of problems (or legal issues) including proactive critique and projection that assist the development of laws.(Source African Journals on-line http://www.ajol.info)
BETWEEN ‘LAND GRABS’ AND AGRICULTURAL INVESTMENT: LAND RENT CONTRACTS WITH FOREIGN INVESTORS AND ETHIOPIA’S NORMATIVE SETTING IN FOCUS
Elias N. Stebek
This article examines whether the land rent contracts and the Ethiopian legal framework on rural land use rights can assure win-win mutual benefits expected from large-scale land transfers to foreign investors. The article further examines the challenges in the realization of the Seven Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investments prepared by FAO, IFAD, UNCTAD and the World Bank Group as a framework of standards for the current global dialogue on large-scale farmland acquisitions. I argue that land-use insecurity in the Ethiopian context results from the extensive powers of executive offices that are empowered to dispossess holders and reallocate land to investors. These powers can be even more discretionary where land transfers are made without prior mapping and demarcation of protected forests and wildlife, and where registration and the issuance of land-holding certificates to smallholder farmers and pastoralists have not yet been made. The article suggests the need to rectify the gaps in the land transfer contracts and most importantly, the need to render the government a custodian (and not owner) of land in conformity with the FDRE Constitution and to ensure that the termination of land use rights is decided by courts so that executive offices would not perform the dual functions of revoking and reallocating rural land use rights.
THE POLITICS UNDERPINNING THE NON-REALISATION OF THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT
Belachew Mekuria Fikre
The right to development stands out as one of the controversial rights ever since its articulation in the 1970s. The adoption of the 1986 United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development underlines the importance of international cooperation for it to be realised. I argue that the emphasis on ‘development aid’ rather than the broader ‘development cooperation’ has contributed a great deal to the politicisation of the right and consequently undermined its materialisation. Indeed, there is the need for semantic and conceptual clarity in the use of the term ‘international assistance and cooperation’ that has deceptively supplanted ‘international cooperation.’ While the former is a term used under Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights with a view to laying down the broader States Parties’ obligations, the latter is what the Declaration on the Right to Development exclusively employs. I argue that even if development assistance is indispensable, taking it as the sole approach to the realisation of the right to development is both wrong and unhelpful.
ETHIOPIAN LAW OF INTERNATIONAL CARRIAGE BY AIR: AN OVERVIEW
Hailegabriel G. Feyissa
Ethiopia’s aviation history goes back to the late 1920s. And, carriage of goods and passengers by air dates at least as far back as the 1940s – the decade which witnessed the establishment of Ethiopian Air Lines Corporation (now Ethiopian Airlines). Despite Ethiopia’s relative success in commercial aviation, domestic literature on commercial air law has been scanty. Court decisions involving air carriage are rare, and one can seldom find a course on air law in the curricula of Ethiopian law schools. This article is an attempt to briefly address the gap in literature and encourage further academic discourse on Ethiopian law of air carriage with particular attention to the law and practice regarding international carriage by air.
TO TAX OR NOT TO TAX: IS THAT REALLY THE QUESTION? VAT, BANK FORECLOSURE SALES, AND THE SCOPE OF EXEMPTIONS FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES IN ETHIOPIA
The Ethiopian Value Added Tax of 2002 follows the standard approach of exempting financial services from VAT. Not all ‘financial services’ are, however, exempted from VAT. A number of services provided by the financial institutions are made taxable by the VAT laws of Ethiopia. No subject in this regard has probably attracted as much attention and controversy as that of sale by foreclosure of property held as security by banks. Both sides (i.e., members of the financial industry and the tax authorities) seemed locked in their conviction over the treatment of foreclosure sales in VAT. Members of the financial industry (in particular banks) are convinced that foreclosure sales enjoy the privilege of exemption in VAT while some within the Tax Authorities are equally convinced that foreclosure sales should be chargeable with VAT. These controversies have played out in the courtrooms, the press and a number of communications between the Tax Authorities and the members of the financial industry. This article examines these controversies and analyzes the scope of exemptions for financial institutions under Ethiopian VAT laws.