Rwanda was this week selected to host of headquarters of the newly created African Arbitration Association (AfAA).
Rwanda was selected after a competitive process, winning 62 per cent of the vote.
The association will be officially launched on June 29 in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.
Faustin Mbundu, chairman of the board of directors of the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) announced the results on twitter.
“Kigali has been confirmed by 62% of the voters as the Headquarters of the newly established AFRICAN ARBITRATION ASSOCIATION (AfAA),” he wrote.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, the secretary general of Kigali International Arbitration Centre, Fidele Masengo said that the results came from an online voting process that involved different African countries.
“This is a result of the successful conference we had here [in May]. A task force was put in place, and in the process people were proposing Kenya or Rwanda. The internet platform was created to enable members to vote, and on Monday we finally got to know that Kigali will be the host,” he revealed, adding that the creation of the association has been in offing for more than four years.
Masengo highlighted that one roles of the organ will be to advocate for arbitration in Africa, create awareness campaigns to advance the use of arbitration as well as capacity building among members of arbitration in Africa.
“As you know in many contracts, especially with World Bank or projects funded by the African Development Bank, they put clauses that if there is a dispute, arbitration will be done either in London, Paris and other Western countries. The association will help in negotiating with these institutions,” he said.
Masengo added that the referral of African disputes to European arbitral authorities for settlement was unreasonably expensive and disappointing.
But with the institutionalization of the new African Arbitration Association (AfAA), the business and investment community will benefit from international commercial arbitration in Africa for the settlement of international and regional disputes.
Already the association has secured funding partners including the African Development Bank, and the official launch of the association will take place at the headquarters of the continental bank.
The association is also working with the leadership of the African Union, which they believe will give a platform for the association to grow.