OHADA in a nutshell

General overview

OHADA’s Mission:  To harmonize business Law in Africa in order to guarantee legal and judicial security for investors and companies in its Member states.

The Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) was established by the Treaty on the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) signed on  October 17, 1993 in Port – Louis (Mauritius Ireland) and revised in Quebec (Canada) on October 17, 2008.

To date, seventeen (17) States are members of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, CĂ´te d’Ivoire, Congo, Comoros, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Senegal, Chad and Togo. The Treaty’s main objective is to address the legal and judicial insecurity in Member States.

Indeed, it is undeniable that legal balkanization and judicial insecurity were the key impediments to the economic development of the continent. Harmonizing economic laws and improving the functioning of judicial systems in Member States  were therefore necessary to restore investor confidence, facilitate trade between countries and develop a vibrant private sector.

Economic globalization requires the harmonization of laws and legal practices. Regarding developing countries like ours, this is a priority in order to create a favorable climate for legal and judicial security, a condition sine qua non  to attract an inflow of foreign investment. This task is even more important considering that investment is in itself a risk, even if it is a calculated risk, it would therefore be much difficult to attract investors if they have to deal with an additional risk of legal norms that are changing, fluctuating and uncertain.

Twenty-two years after the creation of OHADA, the result is a huge work of legal unification in its Member States. OHADA is therefore an important tool for the development of business law, the creation of an integrated legal space conducive for a viable and lively economic space. OHADA can be a role model in Africa and beyond since the Caribbean countries have already implemented a similar project.