Over 100 cases have been filed at the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) since its inception in 2012.
Arbitration is an internationally recognised procedure whereby a dispute is submitted, by agreement of the parties, to a neutral party to make a binding decision on the dispute as opposed to going to court.
According to the centre, the majority of cases are international cases signaling increased confidence in their quality of arbitration and cases.
Dr Fidèle Masengo the Executive Director of Kigali International Arbitration Centre, said that they registered their hundredth cases at the beginning of the year.
“We have started 2019 on a high by registering the 100th arbitration case filed since the Centre’s inception, with the total amount in claim worth more than at US$50 million,” he said.
Rwanda attracts both domestic and international disputes from across Africa and across the world. Among some of the cases are from USA, Italy, South Africa, Kenya, Korea, Turkey, Burundi, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Singapore, France, Zambia, Uganda, India, China and the African Union.
He said that the significant increase in its caseload annually is testament that users are increasingly entrusting KIAC with the administration of complex and high-value disputes in arbitration.
This is against a trend in arbitration whereby it takes 3-5 years for newly established centres to register the first case.
“KIAC is gradually contributing to the growing acceptance and use of international arbitration domestically and beyond. It is also remarkable that a high percentage of the KIAC awards were enforced between 3-6 months and not even one of these was set aside in the Rwandan courts,” said Masengo.
Legal and business experts say that there is more value handling disputes through arbitration as opposed to litigation.
With the country working to improve the business environment and commercial efficiency, arbitration, experts say out to be the more popular avenue through which to handle commercial disputes.
Among other benefits, arbitration guarantees the confidentiality of the disputes at hand as opposed to litigation where high profile cases receive publicity which could affect the reputation of the corporations involved.
To maintain the momentum, the centre says that they are building capacity through training and certification of over 500 professionals in various aspects.
African Arbitration Association, which is now legally registered in Rwanda, was officially launched last year in June at the Africa Development Bank Headquarters in Abidjan- Ivory Coast.
The first inaugural International Arbitration Conference of the AfAA is expected to be held from April 3 – 4 2019 at the Kigali Convention Center.