Businesses urged to use alternative justice system

The Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC), an initiative that provides an alternative business dispute resolution system, has started a drive to encourage enterprises to embrace other means of conflict resolution.
Gakuba speaks at the launch of the campaign. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira
Gakuba speaks at the launch of the campaign. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira

The Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC), an initiative that provides an alternative business dispute resolution system, has started a drive to encourage enterprises to embrace other means of conflict resolution.

The centre, which was launched in February 2012, is a brain child of the Private Sector Federation (PSF). It is set to facilitate, fast-track an affordable settlement of business disputes outside court to local and international clients.

“The centre will not only offer a quick remedy to disputes, but it also guarantees the confidentiality of proceedings at a relatively affordable price,” said Thiery Ngoga Gakuba, the KIAC registrar, during a media briefing Kigali recently.    

Besides supplementing commercial courts in ensuring that business rows are solved, the centre is also expected to accelerate the settling of litigations, ensuring that all standing disputes are handled and concluded in a short time. 

Over the years, there has been a backlog of businesses disputes largely because there is no competent body to handle them efficiently, Gakuba said.

“Even after instituting commercial courts to reduce the cases, some dating back to 10 years, there are still a big figure to dispose of.

“Out of 6,000 cases, only about a half of them have been resolved by commercial courts, which frustrates business people,” he pointed out.

“The good thing with arbitration is that there is quick decision-making since there are a few legal technicalities and formalities involved. Besides, most of the time, all involved parties are satisfied with the decisions made since it is usually based on consensus,” remarked Bernadette Uwicyeza, the secretary general of KIAC, who also made a presentation at the media conference.

“The centre will not only promote Rwanda as a destination for commercial dispute resolution, but also as a choice for doing business,” she added.

According to officials at the centre, business needs $250 (about Rwf160,000) to file a complaint at the centre compared to $500 in Egypt, $3,000 in Paris, France, $1,500  in Singapore and $1,000 in Hong Kong. This makes Rwanda the cheapest country to file a complaint in an arbitration centre.

Uwicyeza also pointed out that KIAC would operate in line with the international rules and procedures to earn international certification to handle contract disputes of international nature.

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