OHADALEGIS 2001 - 2020


Hello, Dr Mandessi Bell. This interview takes place at an important crossroad : the 19th anniversary of Ohadalegis. What lead you to put Ohadalegis on line in 2001 ? 
Dr Mandessi Bell. I’ll say it once again. Among the numerous factors that lead me to put Ohadalegis on line in 2001, there was, besides the existence of the sub-regional legal environment of Ohada business law, a very big shock to see under the headings " Assistance to Enterprises ", Legal counsels and related categories, in the official websites of African States members of the Ohada Zone as well as in the business guides related to these countries, exclusively the names of Western structures and professionals ! So many years after Independence, and with all the intellectuals and professionals available in Africa !

Question. I suppose that this birthday is a moment of satisfaction for you. 
Dr Mandessi Bell. Indeed, it is just because 19 years of continuous presence in the professional web, are not 12 days or 12 months : we somehow need to celebrate. When you look at the web, you can see that we, Africans, got involved very late and often in a sporadic and ephemeral manner. 
Very late. I invent nothing in this regard. In the web, as in any other field, those who are the first often remain ahead after, even though it is true that after, the next incoming actors may modify this picture when they are excellent. However for a number of African professionals, the web was and is still something as far away as the moon.  

Let me add anecdotally that unfortunately, those among the Africans who understood the benefits of the web got quickly involved in questionable business. I point out here the internet swindles and scams specialists a good number of who are Africans (even though not all of them are of African origin). I also point out the poor young girls and women who get entangled in organized prostitution networks after dreaming " of the White counterpart who is going to remove  them from poverty "… 

In a very sporadic manner. It is true that remaining involved with the web requires continuous efforts, to provide content, renew it etc. However, for many Africans, whether professionals or not, being in contact with the web rather often just means to have an email address, the “must have” to avoid being classified as a prehistoric figure …. When a supreme effort is made to put a website online, it is a " business card "type of website without renewed content. Moreover, when clicking its link after 2 to 3 years, you find a message indicating that the page is not/no longer available or "error 404" showing that there is no more anybody there. To just take the example of simple email addresses, in the framework of online information campaigns for professionals in the Ohada zone conducted by us in 2019 and early 2020, we were faced with situations where more than three quarters of the mailing campaigns resulted in an error message with inaccessible email addresses because not used/no more used ...

Question. For you, is it really interesting for Africans to be involved in the web?

Dr Mandessi Bell. Yes, because there are countless areas in which services and products can be offered, regardless of the providers of these products and services. African start-ups are mobilizing a lot of energy in numerous digital activities, but the same trend is not observed among professionals, particularly in the legal field. The vast majority of services and products are still provided in the traditional framework and not online.

It is true that there are some obstacles to be overcome, which are not always easy to master on a continuous basis:

. the clients’ accessibility to an updated website, where he is also sure to be able to have an answer to his information requests etc., which is not always easy in view of some of the persons in charge (computer specialists and others) to whom these tasks are entrusted, not always rigorous or active, which may lead to the clients’ "disconnection" or mistrust,

. in addition to the possible power interruptions, despite the numerous commercial slogans to the contrary, the problem of the reliability of the Internet connection may deter those who would like to provide online services and products, which may require thinking about complementary schemes to ensure them.

This issue of the reliability of the Internet connection is a real problem at a time when digital activities are developing everywhere, leading to the increasing dematerialization of many procedures and formalities. Thus, a  number of administrative procedures are dematerialized and the user is obliged to use these online schemes:

. which presupposes that he has the tools to do so,
. that he knows how to use them “ordinarily” but also that he really masters the surroundings of the online procedure or formality concerned to be able to do exactly what is requested from him (which is not obvious for everyone),
. furthermore, this also presupposes that there is no power off or no slow or not working internet connection at the time he must be online ....

Yet curiously, the instructional documents on these dematerialized procedures are written as if "everything was always perfect in the best world" and never include a word on the two above-mentioned situations, which however do not depend in any way on the will of the user who will not even be able, if he has a minimum legal knowledge, to invoke the “ force majeure” which prevented him from doing what expected from him online, since these two situations are not force majeure cases. The sanction will fall: penalty to be paid, inadmissibility of the file etc ...

Since no field in life is without problems, we maintain, that being involved in the web is indeed interesting, given the many areas in which products and services may be offered. The development of digital activities, for example, will be a great opportunity for lawyers who will get prepared to handle, for example, pre-litigation and litigation matters in this area.

We're going to:

         - offer a few additional online services and products, including:

. online transactional settlement solutions of business pre-contentious and contentious matters in a different scheme from the  traditional arbitration or mediation solutions,
. online conferences and seminars,
. and various other products and services for different categories of users who do not have the same needs of information and resources (business projects holders, future shareholders or partners, company managers, active companies, creditors of such companies ...),

         - and we are going to get involved in additional areas:

. digital economy,
. online inter-company barter;

Online Transaction Desk in the Ohada zone.

Dispute resolution schemes outside the traditional judicial corridor are increasingly popular with economic operators and investors. However, the scheme which will be proposed is different from these schemes (arbitration, mediation) :

. faced with a risk of pre-litigation or litigation, you wish to make an informed choice to avoid directly getting into the judicial corridor : we will provide the support to enlighten your choice and make available all the necessary elements for an amicable solution which you may perfectly implement alone or otherwise as you wish,

. you want to get out of the galley of the endless judicial corridor in which you have been stuck for years, and you are ready to try to see if you can turn your head to get out of it : we will provide the support to enlighten your choice and make available all the necessary elements for an amicable solution you may also implement alone or otherwise.

This service will be opened soon.

Question. What about the digital economy ?

Dr Mandessi Bell. A Portal of the digital economy in Ohada zone is going to be set up.

Digital economy is a field attracting all kinds of interests and giving rise to a tsunami of optimistic presomptions in view of the actual possibilities it offers, but is being implemented with poorly designed or totally missing secured surroundings, as a study under way, sort of small survey of the situation in the Ohada zone, will show.
Since the legitimately expected development prospects cannot be solely based on the assumptions of such "enormous possibilities", the Portal which will be set up will aim at supporting this sector in the Ohada zone in various areas, with security for the various stakeholders and actors.

Secure contractual documents related to these digital activities will be available, consulting and auditing services on various points in the framework of these services and products to be provided, including fundraising related activities, online management services of pre-contentious and contentious matters, training for both professionals and start-ups (digital entrepreneurship does not have the same profile as "classic" entrepreneurship...).

Question. Can you tell us more on the forthcoming setting up of a barter platform ?  In which fields can barter take place ? 
Dr Mandessi Bell. According to the figures of the World Trade Organization (WTO), 15% of the world exchanges among enterprises as well as States in the world, took place in 2011 without using any national currency and according to the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), an international professional organization focused on corporate barter, 12 to 14 billion dollars have been exchanged this way between companies in the world in 2018 (Barter Industry By Sector - IRTA 2018). 

However, Africa is almost completely out of this dynamic landscape and reaps very little benefits from these schemes for various and maybe unclear reasons : lack of information in this field ? Bias on these old commercial practices considered as outdated ? Doubt on the real benefits of such exchanges? We think that it is time now to try to understand what barter in its present form is about and to see what benefits may be reaped from it. 

Companies may indeed reap many benefits : optimization of their unused or outdated assets, preservation of their cash-flow, acquisition of new business partnerships etc. Some Western and Asian companies were not mistaken in this regard : they have not only use barter in difficult times, but also as a tool for their development, or to keep leadership in their field etc. Indeed, implementing barter schemes often leads managers to have a fresh look on their enterprise, to become more aware of some of its existing hidden or underused assets and adopt a more dynamic approach in asset management, with important benefits.  
This service, the surrounding of which have required in-depth reflection, will be open soon.    

Question. What will be the profile of Ohadalegis Troc Barter platform to be set up ? 
Dr Mandessi Bell. It aims at being a tool allowing the enterprises in the Ohada Zone to use the dynamics of barter for their best interests, and securely.  
For their best interests, means that barter should not to be used as a permanent, cure-all solution, but focus is to be laid on points and fields able to bring them real benefits, this is the reason why there will be an information session and a workshop.  
Securely : there can be no progress or development without security: the exchanges will notably take place with the signing of contractual instruments between the persons concerned. 
Dr. Mandessi Bell, thank you for all these clarifications. Happy Birthday to Ohadalegis ! 



Discounts on all products of the online bookstore.

Choose your product here then send us your choice.

Click here-under for additional information.

Free resources to download
Back to the home page of Ohadalegis 19th Anniversary
2001 - © Ohadalegis.com. All Rights Reserved