Most surveys show growth in Arbitration in Africa
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As the race for the Top Arbitral Seat in Africa heats up, an upcoming high-profile debate on the performance of African countries in serving as seat of international arbitration is likely to determine which country captures the top spot.

The status of top arbitral seat holds immense significance in shaping the trajectory of arbitration practices and dispute resolution mechanisms on the continent, making the upcoming debate a focal point for stakeholders invested in Africa’s legal and ADR landscape.

The debate, dubbed “The Battle for the Top Arbitral Seat in Africa: Who Will Win?” slated for November 19, 2023, through zoom webinar (Event Link:, is expected to attract legal luminaries and seasoned arbitrators from across the continent.

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A 2020 Arbitration in Africa Survey Report by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London, named five top African countries that act as seat of arbitration as South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Rwanda, and Cote d’Ivoire. But a lot appears to have changed since then.

Africa is keen on becoming more competitive in global arbitration

Being hosted by the SOAS Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Centre (SADRC) and the Arbitration Fund for African Students (AFAS), the debate is expected to serve as a catalyst for discussions on how African nations can collectively contribute to the evolution of arbitration practices that align with the continent’s unique legal, economic, and cultural contexts.

The questions for the debate will focus on legal frameworks, infrastructure, political neutrality, the efficiency of institutions, and the presence of qualified arbitration practitioners.

To be moderated by Professor Emilia Onyema, the debate will feature speakers representing various African jurisdictions, who are seasoned arbitrators with extensive experience in both domestic and international arbitration, with backgrounds spanning various legal domains, reflecting the diverse challenges faced by African nations in the realm of international arbitration.

They are Funke Adekoya SAN (Nigeria, West Africa), Adama Soro (OHADA, OHADA Region), Victoria Kigen, Esq. (Kenya, East Africa), Girgis Abd El-Shahid (Egypt, North Africa) and Zelda Hunter (South Africa, Southern Africa).

The presenters are expected to address critical issues such as enhancing the efficiency of arbitration processes, promoting transparency, and ensuring fair and impartial resolution of disputes.

Significantly, the top arbitral seat debate is not merely a contest between individuals; it is a reflection of the aspirations and ambitions of a continent eager to assert itself as a key player in the global arbitration landscape.