The International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce has announced it is to create an Africa Commission to coordinate ICC’s expanding range of activities and growth on the continent.
The establishment of a dedicated Africa Commission is the first initiative to be launched since the appointment in June of 194 members from 104 countries to drive the work of the ICC Court during its 2018-2021 working term.
Current and former ICC Court members representing sub-Saharan countries as well as Vice-Chairs of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR have been invited by ICC Court President Alexis Mourre personally to serve on the ICC Africa Commission.
“The relevance of Africa for the Court’s future cannot be overstated,” said Mr Mourre. “As home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies, it is also the region with the greatest need for international investments and where the development of robust and high-quality dispute resolution services is most relevant.”
Through training, awareness raising and other outreach activities, the commission will also augment ICC efforts to expand the pool of African arbitrators currently qualified and available to oversee the many disputes that arise in the region.
According to ICC Dispute Resolution Statistics for 2017, both the number of cases filed with the ICC Court (87) and the number of parties (153) from Sub-Saharan Africa reached record highs, representing a growth rate of 35.9% for cases and 40.4% for parties compared with the previous year. North and Sub-Saharan Africa each saw an increase in the number of arbitrators with nationalities of countries in those regions sitting in ICC cases.
Given the impact of Chinese investments in Africa, the Commission will also work closely with the ICC Belt and Road Commission launch earlier this year to drive the development of ICC’s existing procedures and infrastructure to support Belt and Road disputes.
Director of ICC Dispute Resolution Services for Eastern Mediterranean, Middle-East and Africa, Sami Houerbi, will act as Secretary of the commission while recently appointed Vice-President of the ICC Court, Ndanga Kamau, will take on the role of commission president. Ms Kamau, a Kenyan national, is set to be joined by mostly members of the Court who have already confirmed their commitment to the commission as members.