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UNIS/L/329
27 May 2022

UNCITRAL - Francophone meeting in Accra successfully concludes discussions on the regulation of disputes between investors and States in Africa

VIENNA, 27 May (UN Information Service) – From 24 to 26 of May 2022, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the International Organization of La Francophonie and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) hosted an international meeting on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform in Africa.

The meeting was opened by Ghana´s Deputy Minister of Trade & Industry, Herbert Krapa and brought more than 50 delegates and international experts from more than 20 States (Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tunisia) and the European Union together to share their perspectives on ISDS reform.

During the session, high-level input on the various reform elements were received. Discussions addressed the legal context of international investments in Africa; ISDS within the framework of sustainable development; as well as current developments within OHADA and AFCFTA for the protection of investments and settlement of investment disputes. The critical importance of transparency, accountability and good governance in the investment law framework, and harmonization of investment law in the region were emphasized. The forum highlighted the benefits of these dialogues to enhance the participation of African countries in the reform process and to account for regional interests. It was agreed that the discussed aspects could be collectively put forth by French-speaking African countries in the context of international negotiations about the reform.

As part of the follow-up sessions to strengthen capacities, the meeting supported further dialogue between the Secretariats of UNCITRAL, OHADA and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) secretariats to work towards greater convergence and consistency of trade and investment rules. The meeting, which was held in both French and English aimed to contribute to active, effective and inclusive contributions to the deliberations of Working Group III.

In recognition of the importance of the topic under consideration, and of the significance of inclusive and diverse brainstorming meetings, France, the European Union, and the International Organization of La Francophonie provided financial assistance to support the participation of developing States and to ensure translation.

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The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. Its mandate is to remove legal obstacles to international trade by progressively modernizing and harmonizing trade law. It prepares legal texts in a number of key areas such as international commercial dispute settlement, electronic commerce, insolvency, international payments, sale of goods, transport law, procurement and infrastructure development. UNCITRAL also provides technical assistance to law reform activities, including assisting Member States to review and assess their law reform needs and to draft the legislation required to implement UNCITRAL texts. The UNCITRAL Secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria, and maintains a website at uncitral.un.org.

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For information, please contact:

José Angelo Estrella Faria 
Principal Legal Officer and Head, Legislative Branch 
UNCITRAL Secretariat 
Email: joseangelo.estrella-faria[at]un.org