Douala (Cameroon), January 16-17, 2020
From 16 to 17 January 2020, an international symposium on the Settlement of Investment Disputes through Arbitration and Mediation in OHADA Area was held in the conference room of the Groupement Inter Patronal du Cameroun (GICAM) in Douala (Republic of Cameroon). This scientific event was co-organised by the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) and the Association for the Promotion of Arbitration in Africa (APAA) with the sponsorship of the State Minister, Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, Mr. Laurent Esso, represented by Mr Fonkwe Joseph Fongang, Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice and the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cameroon. The Permanent Secretary of OHADA, Professor Emmanuel Sibidi DARANKOUM, the President of the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration, Mr. Apollinaire César ONDO MVE, the Secretary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), Ms. Anne JOUBIN-BRET, and the representative of the African Legal Support Facility (Alsf), Mr Charles AFEKU also attended this symposium.
More than two hundred (200) participants, including economic operators, legal professionals, corporate lawyers, researchers and students attended this important scientific activity.
Four interventions marked the opening ceremony: the address by the President of APAA, Dr. Gaston KENFACK DOUAJNI, the address by the representative of the African Legal Support Facility, Mr. Charles AFEKU, the introductory speech by the Permanent Secretary of OHADA, Professor Emmanuel Sibidi DARANKOUM, the address by the Secretary of the United Nations Commission for International Commercial Law (UNCITRAL), Ms. Anne JOUBIN-BRET and the opening speech by the representative of the State Minister, Minister of Justice , keeper of the seals of the Republic of Cameroon, Mr. Fonkwe Joseph Fongang.
The Permanent Secretary of OHADA, Professor Emmanuel Sibidi DARANKOUM, in his speech, expressed the gratitude and appreciation of OHADA’s Institutions to the Minister of State, Minister of Justice, Keeper of the seals and the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cameroon, prominent members of the Council of Ministers, for their availability and their constant support to OHADA actions. He said that this important scientific meeting, which gave a special place to the new laws on arbitration and mediation, adopted on November 23, 2017 and entered into force on the 15TH of March 2018, would provide an opportunity for specialists recognized in their professional circle to share their knowledge and experiences with legal professionals and business community. He indicated that the Uniform Act on arbitration, hs formally enshrined investment arbitration and specified that laws on the alternative dispute resolutions methods are to open new areas of freedom and neutrality for local and international economic operators, and significantly improve the attractiveness of OHADA area.
In his opening speech, Mr. Fonkwe Joseph Fongang, Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice, representing the State Minister, Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals of the Republic of Cameroon, welcomed the participants. He pointed out that the Permanent Secretary of OHADA, during a meeting with the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Cameroon, expressed the wish to strengthen relationship between OHADA and the business community, starting with Cameroon which hosts the headquarters of the Organization. This is the reason for, he continued, the sponsorship of that international symposium by the Ministry of Justice. He pointed out that the laws on arbitration and mediation contain interesting provisions for the settlement of investment disputes and wished the works every success before declaring them open.
In addition to the Introductory Report presented by Professor Emmanuel Sibidi DARANKOUM, several topics presented by Experts from Africa, Europe and America were discussed during this symposium, including: the legal framework and the implementation of investment arbitration, mediation as an opportunity for investment disputes resolution within OHADA area, training, cooperation between practitioners and assistance to parties in the context of the alternative disputes resolutions Methods (ADRM) , ethics in the alternative dispute resolution Methods (ADRM), sketchy solutions developed to reduce criticisms formulated against ISDS system, the African continental free trade area (AfCFTA) and its potential in OHADA space have, among others, fueled the discussions.
The Permanent Secretary of OHADA thanks the State Minister, Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals and the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cameroon, for their support for OHADA’s actions and all the participants for the interest shown in the symposium as well as their availability.
The Permanent Secretary of OHADA
Prof. Emmanuel Sibidi DARANKOUM