The African Arbitration Association (AfAA), a new body that is aimed at providing an effective continental platform for Arbitration, is set to be launched in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on Friday.
Being established under the auspices of the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), the regional professional arbitration organ has the prime objective of promoting the use of Arbitration in Africa, highlighting arbitration opportunities for African lawyers, and pursuing measures to advance the arbitration regime on the continent.
Ahead of the launch, a special conference would be held tomorrow by the leaders of arbitration groups from member countries to adopt the AfAA Constitution.
According to the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), the President of the International Court of Justice Judge President Abdulqawi Yusuf has accepted to be the guest of honor for the launch.
The continental arbitration organ, which will be headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda, promises to offer a more convenient seat of arbitration for the African business community and governments.
It aims to offer a more reliable arbitration seat for Africa, and seeks to help in reducing the reliance of African organisations on distant destinations such as London, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, Geneva, New York and Stockholm, among other locations for the settlement of international commercial disputes.
In many international contracts and projects in Africa, especially those funded by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank, there are arbitration clauses that choose London, Paris or other Western countries as seat for arbitration.
But according to Dr Fidèle Masengo, Executive Director of Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC), the AfAA aims at changing the trend for the benefit of Africa.
The launching of the AfAA comes in the wake of the release of a global survey report that upholds arbitration as the most preferred method by firms for the resolution of international commercial dispute.
The 2018 International Arbitration Survey conducted by the School of International Arbitration, Queen Mary University of London, in partnership with White & Case, found that London and Paris remained the most preferred seats, while the leading Asian hubs cement their positions in the top tiers of arbitral centres.
It named the five most preferred arbitral institutions as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), however, AfAA has high hopes that the new centre will rise to be amongst the preferred destination when it becomes fully operational.
By Edmund Mingle/adrdaily.com