Africa is the future of arbitration, says Mourre
President of the International Arbitration Court, Mr. Alexis Mourre, has said that the African continent remains the future of arbitration, calling for more diversity in the global community of arbitrators.
Mr. Mourre made the remarks while speaking in Lagos at the first International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Africa Regional Conference on Arbitration sponsored by Globacom.
He described the conference as the most successful of such summits held on five continents, considering the level of participation, adding that the event would now hold annually.
Declaring Africa “the future of arbitration,” he called for more Africans to get involved in the practice, as over 70 percent of all arbitrators were of Western Europe or North American origins.
Coordinator of Commercial at Globacom, Ike Oraekwuotu, expressed faith in arbitration as a way of resolving business disputes among parties.
Representing the Chairman of Globacom, Dr. Mike Adenuga, Jr., Oraekwuotu said the company was committed to promoting arbitration in Africa because of its attendant benefits.
He said the company was also committed to stimulating the use of local arbitrators as a way of building local capacity in the field, noting “In all the countries where we have operations on the West African coast, whenever any dispute arises between us and our broad spectrum of partners, as is it is wont to happen in a business environment, it is our policy to engage local arbitrators in the respective countries to help achieve a resolution agreeable to all parties.
“These are the people who know the terrain and understand the distinct nuances of the environment and its people. We may have a team of Nigerian experts to provide us advice internally at the head office, but basically the local arbitrators handle the issues on site,” he said.
The President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN), said arbitration could help Nigeria decongest the courts, as many cases ought not to go to litigation if arbitration was used. He expressed confidence that the conference would help expand the frontiers of knowledge on arbitration in Africa.