Regional Director role to bolster ICC reach in Africa

  • 11 May 2021

ICC has announced the promotion of ICC International Court of Arbitration Counsel Diamana Diawara to Regional Director for Africa.

The new role sees a greater focus on Sub Saharan Africa for ICC Dispute Resolution Services, with a view to building capacity in the region and enhancing awareness of, and access to, ICC’s dispute settlement know-how as well as its globally reputed services.

Working out of ICC Global Headquarters in Paris, and building on work initiated by ICC’s former Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa Sami Hoerbi, Ms Diawara will undertake a one-year mission to devise and implement strategies with a view to establishing a presence for case management in Sub Saharan Africa by 2022.

Ms Diawara will work in tandem with the ICC Africa Commission, established in 2018, and ICC’s Africa Action Network which brings together ICC national committee and chamber of commerce leaders to support the private sector in Africa, digitise and build resilience of micro and small enterprises in the region and enable the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Speaking today at the launch of the 2021 ICC Rules of Arbitration in Anglophone Africa, ICC Executive Board member and Founder of West Blue Consulting Valentina Mintah said: “As a business leader myself, I understand the importance of dispute resolution to keep commerce flowing. I also know that what businesses want is a trusted and neutral institution for resolving those disputes if, and when they arise. That is why more and more parties, including of African representation, are turning to ICC. They do so in the knowledge that the case will be supervised by independent and impartial decision makers and managed by an experienced institution that cares about their needs.”

Pointing to the results of a recent study which revealed that 79% of African respondents cited ICC as their preferred Arbitral institution, ICC Court President Alexis Mourre said: “I have no doubt  that we will see the volume of economic exchange in Africa increase year after year, increasing the need for efficient arbitration and dispute resolution that ICC offers.” 

Ms Diawara has been a Counsel of the International Court of Arbitration in charge of the France/Middle East/Africa team for over eight years, beginning her career in 2012 as an ICC Court Deputy Advisor. She is an accomplished arbitration lawyer, teacher and speaker, regularly representing the ICC Court. She holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from Golden Gate University (US) and a Master 2 in International trade law from the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre-La Défense (France).

Secretary General of the ICC Court Alexander Fessas said: “Our aim is to put Diamana’s deep knowledge of the arbitration and investment landscapes in Africa to work, building the essential relationships and intel required to expand our footprint in the region. Strengthened ICC outreach in Africa will not only benefit of the arbitration community in Africa but also enable recourse to quality dispute resolution services for commercial partners in line with ICC commitments to provide effective alternative dispute resolution methods to support global commerce.”

Ms Diawara will build on ICC’s recent dispute resolution growth in Africa which saw a total of 171 parties from 35 African countries representing 6.8% of all parties to ICC Arbitration.

The most represented nationalities among Sub Saharan African parties were Nigeria (22 parties) and Egypt (13 parties) ranked as the two most represented nationalities among Sub-Saharan African parties (125) and North African parties (46 parties).

Ms Diawara said: “Africa is a continent in constant movement, with its dynamic and innovative business sectors. My ambition is for the ICC Court to bring its hundred years of experience in dispute resolution to the support of African businesses involved in regional and international trade. My priority will be to work hand in hand with our existing and yet to be identified local partners to that end. I also wish to bring Africa much closer to ICC dispute resolution. With a Regional Director dedicated to Africa, the ICC Court goes beyond its pledge on diversity and takes concrete steps to be at the forefront of capacity-building for African practitioners specialising in dispute resolution.”

Read more about ICC Dispute Resolution Services.