Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 6thAugust 2020: The African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) hosted a Zoom webinar launch of the 2020 Arbitration in Africa Survey Report sponsored by SOAS University of London, Broderick Bozimo and Company, and the ALSF..
The launch event of the 2020 Arbitration in Africa Survey Report was held by a Zoom webinar and attended by many participants, including arbitrators, lawyers, academics, officials of arbitral centres, and students. The event entailed a presentation of the highlights of the survey by the author of the report, Dr. Emilia Onyema, a Reader in International Commercial Law and Interim Pro-Director Learning and Teaching at SOAS University of London and remarks by the sponsors of the survey, Mr Stephen Karangizi, the Director and CEO of the ALSF and Mr Isaiah Bozimio, a Partner at Broderick Bozimo & Co. The event was chaired by the Chairman of the ALSF Management Board, Dr. Gaston Kenfack Douajni.
In her presentation, Dr. Onyema noted that the Arbitration in Africa surveys sought to address the lack of empirical data on arbitration in Africa and the second in the series of biennial reports focused on Top African Arbitral Centres and Seats. Dr Onyema discussed the historical background of the surveys, the methodology and responses of the 2020 survey, and the findings of the survey. Among other things, the survey found that the top African arbitral centres included the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA), the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC), Cour Commune de Justice et d'Arbitrage, OHADA (CCJA), Lagos Centre of Arbitration (LCA), Nairobi Centre of International Arbitration (NCIA) and the Centre d'Arbitrage, de Médiation et de Conciliation de Ouagadougou (OAMCC). The popular positive attributes of some African arbitral centres included expeditious disposal of disputes, comparable services with international centres at competitive costs, localisation of arbitrations, efficiency and expediency, use of modern technology, and accessibility. On the other hand, respondents expressed dissatisfaction with other centres due to costs, dilatory parties/lawyers, unclear local arbitration laws, too frequent recourse to local courts, and repeat appointments of same arbitrators. Generally, the expectations of users of arbitrations in Africa included inter alia, convenience of location, professionalism of staff, access to efficient technology, efficient case management, clarity of rules, and neutrality and reputation of the arbitrators.
The sponsors of the survey expressed satisfaction and delight at the quality of the report and the utility of the data provided by the survey. Mr. Steve Karangizi emphasized the benefits of the data to the Facility and its regional member countries in negotiating commercial and investment agreements, and advocated the advancement of regional arbitral centres to promote further development and use of local arbitration for commercial disputes.
In launching the report, Dr. Gaston Kenfack Douajni noted that the interest shown through the excellent contributions and questions from participants from around the world backed the necessity and utility of the survey, and he expressed optimism that the report and subsequent ones will contribute significantly to the growth of arbitration on the continent.
The 2020 Arbitration in Africa Survey Report as well as the French, Arabic, and Portuguese versions of the report, can be found here: https://www.aflsf.org/public-resources/publications
Created by the African Development Bank in 2010, the ALSF supports governments in negotiating complex commercial transactions by providing legal and technical assistance in oil and gas, mining and energy sector transactions, as well as in public-private partnership projects, and for sovereign debt management and creditor litigation.