Arbitration in Africa in spotlight at major ICC/IBA conference

  • 6 June 2017

The future of arbitration in Africa was the subject of a major conference which took place in Nairobi yesterday bringing together close to 150 members of the African arbitration community, including 38 non-Kenyan delegates from Botswana, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia and non-African participants  coming from Belgium, France, and the United States.

Organised by the ICC International Court of Arbitration and the International Bar Association, with the support of ICC Kenya, the one-day event concluded an ICC East Africa Arbitration Tour which kicked off in Addis Ababa on 31 May with an African Union hosted conference gathering 200 participants. Another conference took place in Kampala on 2 June drawing 100 participants. Each event featured discussions on the key issues driving arbitration on the continent including the African response to increasing complexity of arbitration, developments in arbitral practice and the use of arbitration as a catalyst for economic growth on the continent.

“This conference plays testament to the strength and dynamism of the Kenyan arbitration community,” said Alexis Mourre, President of the ICC Court. “Moving forward, our newly established ICC national committee in Kenya will greatly contribute to the promotion of ICC Arbitration in this strategically important country.”

Mohamed S. Abdel Wahab, a Vice-President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration and Vice-Chair of the IBA Arbitration Committee said: “This conference is a landmark event bringing together two colossal and world leading institutions such as ICC and IBA to Africa. It demonstrates a firm belief in Africa’s potential and importance. The conference showcased the strengths of the Kenyan arbitration community and confirmed that talented African practitioners from across our rich Continent deserve their place in the global community of arbitration. It also showed that Africa is not devoid of the talent that could contribute to developing the edifice of international arbitration.”

Speaking from the Kenyan capital, Mr Mourre said that the event built on other important initiatives undertaken by the Court in the region. These include ICC’s successful annual regional conference in Lagos, the Court’s annual joint conference with Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (Ohada), and the many other events and trainings ICC has organized recently in countries such as Angola, Ethiopia Mozambique and Uganda. “Our on-going efforts to strengthen the Court’s presence and services in Africa also include the appointment of new Court members for Africa at ICC governing bodies meetings this week. New members represent countries such as Benin, the Dem Rep of Congo, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, South Africa and Togo,” Mr Mourre said.

New Court members are expected to be appointed by the ICC World Council later this week.