Government to leverage on arbitration to grow investments
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has described arbitration as key in driving foreign investments in Nigeria, saying with such a robust dispute resolution mechanism in place, the country would actualise her vision of becoming the next major destination for foreign direct investments.
Osinbajo, who spoke at a three-day first International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) African Regional Arbitration Conference in Lagos with the theme, “Arbitration and Africa: Prospects and Challenges”, urged businessmen in Nigeria to embrace commercial arbitration for the desired speed in dispute resolution to attract international investors.
Represented by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, the Vice President said dispute resolution mechanism was a factor in all investments’ decisions.
According to him, dispute resolution constitutes a significant determinant of a country’s ranking in doing business, adding that disputes were common in the business environment.
“Every prudent society must design and constantly draw the processes through which disputes could be resolved in an amicable manner.
“In the world of today, commercial arbitration is now recognised as a preferred method of solving several commercial disputes.
“Arbitration is now seen as not only possessing the desired speed but also aggregating competency and often times, relationship is tied to this process,” Osinbajo said.
The Vice-President however, urged conference participants to take time in addressing critical issues which would expand legal arbitration as a desired tool for dispute resolution in Nigeria.
To the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh, there is need for the adoption of arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism among parties in Nigeria.
The NBA president said that the arbitration strategy would help decongest the courts in the country as many cases should not to go to litigation if arbitration was given its due recognition.
He expressed confidence that the conference would help expand the frontiers of knowledge on arbitration in the country and Africa as a whole.
Also speaking, the President, of ICC in Paris, Alexis Mourre, commended Nigeria for hosting the first Africa Regional Arbitration Conference.
Mourre said that with more engagements and interactions on arbitration, commercial practitioners would recognise the arbitration; just like common law and civil laws.
According to Mourre, ICC was one of the institutions which adopted arbitration and 70 percent of world arbitration came from ICC.
“Arbitration is booming in Africa. No future of arbitration without African arbitration. Yet it is still difficult to find good arbitrators in Africa.
“We hope that at the end of the conference, we will be seeing more arbitrators in Africa,” Mourre said.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Chairman, Planning Committee, Nigeria ICC, Mrs. Dorothy Udeme Ufot SAN, said the theme of the three-day event, “Arbitration and Africa: Prospects and Challenges” was chosen by the Planning Committee as a result of Africa being the next major destination for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) by the international community.
She urged the international community to support Africa’s efforts to promote economic growth and investments.
Ufot said the interest of investors across the continent was so numerous that oil mining companies were looking forward to developing natural resources.
“The investors are also interested in infrastructure, technology, agribusiness, consumer goods and manufacturing companies that would create sustained growth and create jobs and improved livelihood.
“There is no how commercial disputes will not arise during the processes and the conference aims at setting background for their resolution,’’ Ufot said.
According to her, ICC Nigeria is an affiliate of ICC Headquarters in Paris.
Ufot recalled that ICC was established in 1919 in Paris, which was one of the largest business organisations in the world with over six million companies and chambers of commerce and business associates in more than 130 countries including Nigeria.