Arbitration and Dispute Settlement for trade

Statement of Need

Arbitration and dispute settlement have become the cornerstones of confidence for players in the domestic and international markets. Private players are incentivized to invest and transact on the basis that in case of disputes among themselves and/or with governments fairness and remedial measures will prevail. Arbitral Systems are therefore key to ensuring the efficient functioning of the domestic and international markets. They also complement the socioeconomic goals of governments to attract foreign invest and mobilization of domestic investments and create an enabling environment. This notwithstanding, arbitral and dispute settlement systems are not without short falls. Criticisms have been levelled against the existing systems ranging from their lack of consistency of decisions, the lack of transparency of the process, and the lack of legitimacy and accountability of the system and the arbitrators and panelists. In this context, most African countries have gotten the bitter end of international arbitration while almost not having a significant role in dispute settlement. Most African countries are ill-equipped to deal with arbitration and dispute settlement both institutionally and at the human resources skills level. Only a few countries have started building domestic arbitral systems albeit limited to a few sector

Who Attends

Officials from Trade and Trade Related Ministries, Officials from Regional Economic Communities, Negotiators, Regional Integration Practitioners and Judges and lawyers. Research centres, non-government and civil society organizations, journalists, and staff of international and non-governmental organisations are also target beneficiaries of this programme

How participants will benefit

At the end of the programme, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss fundamental notions of arbitration and dispute settlement in light of current criticisms against investor-state arbitration and dispute settlement;
  • Investigate merits of criticisms and come up with solutions discussing their pros and cons. (Examine criticisms of dispute settlement and arbitration in the context of international trade and commerce, peaceful international relations, justice and the rule of law.);
  • Draw up a possible reform plan. (Explore reform options, some of which are envisaged by policymakers and others which still need to be conceived);
  • Establish how to design a roadmap for possible reform.