History of OHADA

The Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (abbreviated as OHADA) is an intergovernmental organization for legal integration. It was established by the Treaty of 17 October 1993 signed in Port Louis (Mauritius), as revised on 17 October 2008 in Quebec (Canada). To date, this organization brings together 17 African countries and remains open to any member state of the African Union, or any State which, though not a member of the AU, is invited to join by common consent of the OHADA Member States.

OHADA was created in a context of acute economic crisis and a drastic fall of investment level in Africa. Legal and judicial insecurity were identified as a major cause of investor distrust. The obsolescence, disparity and inaccessibility of rules governing economic operations led to legal insecurity materialized by the difficulty to determine the applicable rule in a given operation. The situation was compounded by the poor state of courts, the inadequate judicial personnel, and the lack of stakeholders training in business law, judicial delays and problems of professional ethics. To remedy the situation, OHADA was tasked with streamlining the legal environment of companies in order to guarantee the legal and judicial security of economic activities, with a view to stimulating investment and creating a new development pole in Africa.

To achieve this, OHADA:

  • produces a simple, up-to-date, harmonized and suitable business laws for its Member States, in order to facilitate business activities. The law is contained in Uniform Acts which, once adopted, apply equally in all Member States. Ten Uniform Acts have been adopted so far;
  • ensures that the harmonized law is applied with due diligence, under conditions that guarantee the legal security of economic activities. This objective is achieved by securing the legal settlement of business litigations and by promoting alternative methods of dispute resolution.

 

Timeline of ratification and entry into force of the OHADA Treaty in Member States

No. Member State Ratification/Accession Deposit of ratification instruments Entry into force
1 Guinea Bissau January 15, 1994 December 26, 1995 February 20, 1996
2 Senegal June 14, 1994 June 14, 1994 September 18, 1995
3 Central Afr.Rep. January 13, 1995 January 13, 1995 September 18, 1995
4 Mali February 7, 1995 March 23, 1995 September 18, 1995
5 Comoros February 20, 1995 April 10, 1995 September 18, 1995
6 Burkina Faso March 6, 1995 April 16, 1995 September 18, 1995
7 Benin March 8, 1995 March 10, 1995 September 18, 1995
8 Niger June 5, 1995 July 18, 1995 September 18, 1995
9 Ivory Coast September 29, 1995 December 13, 1995 February 11, 1996
10 Cameroon October 20, 1995 October 4, 1996 December 3, 1996
11 Togo October 27, 1995 November 20, 1995 January 19, 1996
12 Chad April 13, 1996 May 3, 1996 July 2, 1996
13 Congo May 28, 1997 May 18, 1999 July 17, 1999
14 Gabon February 2, 1998 February 4, 1998 April 5, 1998
15 Equatorial Guinea April 16, 1999 June 15,1999 August 13, 1999
16 Guinea May 5, 2000 September 22, 2000 November 21, 2000
17 DRC   July 13, 2012  September 12, 2012

 

Timeline of adoption of OHADA Uniform Acts by the Council of Ministers of Justice and Finance

Uniform Act Date of Adoption Publication Update
Rules of Procedure of the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration April 18, 1996 November 1st, 1997 January 30, 2014
General commercial law April 17, 1997 October 1st, 1997 December 15, 2010
Commercial companies and economic interest groups April 17, 1997 October 1st, 1997 January 30, 2014
Law of securities April 17, 1997 July 1st, 1998 December 15, 2010
Simplified recovery procedures and measures of execution April 10, 1998 June 1st, 1998  
Insolvency law April 10, 1998 July 1st, 1998 September 10, 2015
Arbitration law March 11, 1999 May 15, 1999 November 23, 2017
CCJA Rules of arbitration March 11, 1999 May 15, 1999 November 23, 2017
Accounting Law   March 23, 2000 November 20, 2000 January 26, 2017
Contracts for the carriage of goods by road March 22, 2003 July 31st, 2003  
Cooperatives December 15, 2010 February 15, 2011  
Mediation Law November 23, 2017 December 15, 2017

Latest publications