Constitutional Guarantees of Economic Freedoms and their Impact on Encouraging Investment in France, Kuwait, and Egypt

Prof. Yusri Al Assar
Professor of Public Law
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Kuwait International Law School and Cairo University


Investment plays a major role in achieving economic development. The role of public investment undertaken by the state and private investment undertaken by private projects are determined according to the general policy applied by the state, which finds its basis in the texts of the constitution. Constitutions usually include the foundations of the state’s economic system and, on the basis of it, the government determines its policy in the economic and social fields. The constitution in France and Kuwait adopted the free economic system, while obligating the state at the same time to intervene in order to provide basic social services to individuals. As for Egypt, it passed through different stages in this regard: from the stage of economic freedom to the extensive intervention of the state in the economy, and it returned to adopt the system of free economy from 1974 until now.
The constitution guarantees in the three countries economic rights and freedoms, primarily the right of ownership and freedom to practice activities and initiatives or freedom of projects and allows individuals to invest in all fields except for activities that are restricted to the state alone, and the right to engage in them. The constitution also guarantees freedom of trade and industry and freedoms stemming from them or related to them. They are contractual freedom, freedom of competition, and equality between projects. The constitutional judiciary has established general principles in protecting economic freedoms on the occasion of its oversight over the constitutionality of the legislations regulating them.
This research paper aims to analyze the texts of the constitutions in France, Kuwait and Egypt that approved economic freedoms and compare them in the constitutional protection of these freedoms in the face of any attacks on them or derogation from them, and their reflection in the legislation regulating these freedoms, and the comparison between the guarantees guaranteed by these legislations for projects, and the trends of the constitutional judiciary in monitoring the constitutionality of legislation that put constitutional guarantees into practice, and the principles it established in this field.
The importance of the research paper becomes clear in the statement of the broad protection and strong guarantees assured by the constitution in the countries under study for economic freedoms, primarily the right to property, freedom to practice activity and private initiatives, freedom of trade and industry, contractual freedom, freedom of competition and equality between projects, and the extent to which these guarantees are applied in the laws regulating the establishment of investment projects in various fields.
Investment promotion legislation is one of the main tools that put the country’s economic policy into practice. Indeed, in the countries under comparison, many laws were issued in the field of investment promotion, which included many means to encourage national and foreign investments and ensured protection for them in the face of any restrictive measures of property rights freedom to engage in private activities and initiatives, freedom of trade and industry, and granting them various benefits and exemptions.
But the constitutional texts that bestow protection on economic freedoms, and the advantages and exemptions guaranteed by the investment promotion legislation for the projects established in accordance with them, are not sufficient alone to achieve development in practice in Kuwait and Egypt. Therefore, we recommend the application of legislative and administrative policies that achieve greater competitiveness in the economy, directing the benefits and exemptions provided for in investment laws to productive projects that can increase the national income, following the successful experiences of countries that have achieved high rates of development, and implementing. Also recommended is an effective policy of administrative reform, as well as activating quick measures of resolving investment disputes.
These are the topics under study in this research paper, which are presented in two sections, the first of which is dedicated to the constitutional protection of the right of property and the freedom to exercise activity and private initiatives, and the second topic is about the freedom of trade and industry, and the freedoms stemming from or related to it, which is contractual freedom, freedom of competition, and rivalry between projects.

Key words: the right to property, freedom to practice activities, private initiatives, freedom of trade and industry, freedom of contract, freedom of competition.

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