The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the world’s largest association of businesses with over 45-million-member businesses, has held its 6th Conference in Nigeria to highlight the need for Africa to consider dispute resolution and arbitration as a means of improving trade and commerce on the continent.
Addressing participants at the conference, the Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat congratulated the ICC for its interest in dispute resolution in trading in Africa.
“The theme for this conference coincides with our objective of transforming the rule of trade law on the African continent,” he said.
He emphasized that until the emergence of the AfCFTA no regional economic community had effective dispute resolution mechanism as a protocol.
According to him, trading will always be accompanied with dispute hence the need to resolve them through a proper mechanism.
“Disputes will always arise, whether in commerce, investments and certainly in the context of the free trade area agreement,” he added.
There had been concerns about the lack of private sector or investor dispute resolution mechanism under the AfCFTA but Mr. Mene explained that such mechanism with investor to state is often fraught with difficulties.
The AfCFTA boss indicated that any area of dispute that is covered by the scope of the agreement will be settled by the AfCFTA under its dispute settlement mechanism and asserted that Africa desires to develop its own trade jurisprudence.
He said: “It is very important that we build the capacity on the African continent to resolve our disputes according to our own rules.”
Other experts in arbitration examined the various procedures for enforcing arbitral awards in the different African jurisdictions in relation to enforcement of awards in other jurisdictions outside Africa.