Many practitioners and arbitrators are unfamiliar with international arbitration in Africa and have very little actual experience with it. Yet, sub-Saharan Africa is one of the regions where the use of international arbitration to resolve international disputes is expanding the most swiftly in the world. This should come as no surprise, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that 12 of the 20 fastest-growing economies over the next half-decade will be located in Africa, with 10 in sub-Saharan Africa and 2 in North Africa. As an indicator of Africa’s rapid growth, consider that, between May and December 2012 the new Templeton Africa Fund increased in value by 14%, with long-term projections for the continent by the IMF leading economic growth, along with Asia, through 2017. Investors have finally realized the considerable economic potential of Africa, although during the years I worked in the Ivory Coast, Rwanda and Tanzania, its economic potential “on the ground” was already apparent. In order for such growth to be sustainable, legal regimes must continue to evolve to ensure fair and equitable access to justice, and until this is the case throughout the continent international arbitration will remain the primary means of resolving disputes relating to international investments and commerce. In the following link, you will find a copy of one of my articles on Bringing Claims and Enforcing International Arbitration Awards Against Sub-Saharan African States and Parties, and I also recommend that you review a series of blogs that I will be assisting Benoit Le Bars to prepare concerning OHADA arbitration, the first of which was published today and which may be read on Kluwer’s website at http://arbitrationblog.kluwerarbitration.com/2013/02/21/arbitrating-in-west-and-central-africa-an-introduction-to-ohada/.
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