<> OHADA HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
OHADA, the Organisation for
the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa is an organisation created
on October 17, 1993 in Port-Louis, Mauritius, comprising mainly francophone but also non francophone
African countries wishing to update their business law.
THE OHADA TREATY AND ITS AIMS
It is recalled in the Preamble of the Treaty on
the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa signed on the date indicated
hereabove that :
- the setting up of a harmonized, simple, modern
and adapted business law to enable an easier access to economic activities
was a pre-requisite for the economic integration of these countries,
- it was of paramount importance that such law be implemented with due
diligence so as to guarantee a safe legal environment for economic activities
and to enhance investment and
- that arbitration be promoted as an instrument to settle the disputes
arising from contracts. The implementation of these aims was entrusted
to the institutions mentioned hereunder.
OHADA MEMBER COUNTRIES
There are presently 17 members States : Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon,
Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, D.R. Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Chad and Togo..
The Organisation comprises four institutions :
- the Council of Ministers,
- the Permanent Secretariat,
-the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration and
-the Regional High Judiciary School.
Council of Ministers
It comprises the Ministers in charge of Justice and of Finance. It is
chaired in turn by each member State for a period of one year, in the
following order: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic,
Comoros, Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Niger,
Senegal, Chad, and Togo. Its meetings, held once a year, are convened
by the Chairman on his own inititiative or at the request of one third
of the member countries. The Council of Ministers :
- approves the yearly programme for the harmonization of business laws
set up by the Permanent Secretariat,
- adopts the Uniform Acts by unanimous vote.
Located in Yaounde, Cameroon, the Permanent Secretariat, which is attached to the Council of
Ministers, is headed by a Permanent Secretary designated by thesaid
Council for a four-year period. It is mainly in charge of the coordination
and the follow-up of the Organization's activities, notably, the preparation
of the yearly programme mentioned here-above and of the Uniform Acts.
Common Court of Justice and Arbitration
It comprises seven judges elected for a seven-year period renewable
once and one Chief Registrar. It is mainly in charge :
- of giving advice on the draft Uniform Acts before they are adopted
by the Council of Ministers and ruling on the interpretation and implementation
of these Acts,
- ruling on the decisions pronounced by national courts and appealed
- ensuring an orderly progress of arbitration proceedings (by appointing
the arbitrators etc).
Its headquarters are in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Regional High Judiciary School
This School attached to the Permanent Secretariat, has its headquarters
in Benin. It ensures the training of the judges and judiciary staff
with regard to Ohada law.