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Report on the OHADA Law Morning held in Brussels on 29 February 2024

 Organised on the initiative of UNIDA Belgium, the OHADA Law Morning took place from 9.30am to 1.45pm at the law firm DALDEWOLF, partner of the event, with the participation of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce.

After welcoming Mr Victorin Sambieni, President of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce, Mr Fabian TCHEKEMIAN, Partner at DALDEWOLF, briefly presented the themes and the main speakers. Professor Mayatta Ndiaye MBAYE, OHADA’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Alexis NDZUENKEU, OHADA’s Director of Legal Affairs, Documentation and Communication, and Professor Roger MASAMBA, Chairman of the OHADA National Commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo, rounded off the morning’s proceedings.

After a word of thanks from the Permanent Secretary of OHADA, Professor MASAMBA tackled the first topic: “OHADA, a unique instrument for regional integration and legal certainty“. On this occasion, he highlighted the progress made under the aegis of OHADA in terms of standardisation and modernisation of the norms governing business life and indicated that legal harmonisation tends to complement the standardisation of rules. He stressed the importance of the judicial security provided by the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration, whose existence and activity even contribute to improving the functioning of national judicial systems.

Thereafter, Prof. Mayatta Ndiaye MBAYE, Permanent Secretary of OHADA, tackled the following topic: “OHADA 30 years after, assessment and prospects“. He outlined the 30-year history of the Organisation from three fundamental angles: what it is, what it does and how it does it. In this context, he noted that the achievements recorded are significant and make a decisive contribution to improving the business climate in the Member States. He indicated that improvements could be envisaged to ensure that OHADA continues to fulfil its mission of providing legal certainty for economic activities. He stressed, among other things, the need to consider reforming the Conference of Heads of State and Government, to institutionalise the OHADA National Commissions in the Treaty, to make the CCJA arbitration system autonomous and to adapt the instruments for producing standards.

Mr Alexis NDZUENKEU, OHADA’s Director of Legal Affairs, Documentation and Communication, presented on “Progress in legal security for foreign investors in the OHADA area” from the perspective of the implementation of standards. He highlighted the role of the CCJA in securing the judicial handling of business disputes, stressing the Court’s power of evocation and the monopoly it enjoys in settling, in final instance and in cassation, disputes concerning the application and interpretation of Uniform Acts. He also mentioned the promotion of alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and arbitration, governed by the Uniform Acts, as well as the establishment of an arbitration centre specific to the CCJA.

Guests also heard from Pierre PROESMANS, partner at DALDEWOLF and a specialist in Belgian banking law, on the advisability of introducing harmonised banking law in Africa, as well as Daniel LEBRUN, a specialist in African accounting, and Ms PÉROT from Juriscope, on their publications, in particular their latest work “Code Vert 2023”.

These presentations were followed by discussions with participants.

After brief legal conclusions by Mr Fabian Tchekemian, Mr Maurice VERMEESCH, representative of the UNIDA / www.ohada.com association in Belgium, concluded the morning by outlining the key points and thanking the speakers and other guests. Discussions continued in a relaxed atmosphere over cocktails and lunch.