Magazine article International Trade Forum

Building Up Commercial Dispute Resolution in Africa: Commercial Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Are Gaining Ground in African Countries, Helping to Improve the Investment and Business Climate

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Building Up Commercial Dispute Resolution in Africa: Commercial Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Are Gaining Ground in African Countries, Helping to Improve the Investment and Business Climate

Article excerpt

Over 20 African countries have set up arbitration and mediation centres since 1995, usually under a national chamber of commerce. They have flourished in part as alternatives to overburdened courts. The challenge now is to strengthen these new services.

As a follow-up to the 2nd ITC Symposium on the Management of Dispute Resolution Centres (Chamonix, France, May 2006), African arbitration institutions met in southern and western Africa. They looked at how to attract companies, both national and foreign, to resolve disputes in Africa rather than through European and American institutions, which happens at a high cost to the firms and to the detriment of Africa's legal community.

The first meeting was in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2006, organized by Arbitration & ADR in Africa (an association of lawyers promoting arbitration on the continent), the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa and ITC. All participants were self-financed, including 43 business lawyers from Nigeria and managers of arbitration centres from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. …

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