March 11, 2021
Secretary-General H.E. Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti discussed several trade-related activities of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) in a video message at the opening of the Joint Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat International Trade Centre (PIFS-ITC) Symposium on Trade Finance. Highlighting the importance of the private sector as a main development actor, the OACPS Secretary-General touched on key aspects of the OACPS’ trade policy.
Indiana Resources has upped the ante in its case against the Government of Tanzania, which relates to the alleged expropriation of the company’s Ntaka Hill nickel project in southern Africa. The company is pursuing Tanzania through an arbitration process with the World Bank, with Indiana’s claim now topping an eye-watering U.S. $95 million. The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSD), which is part of the World Bank, has advised the company this week that the arbitral panel has now been formed with the first procedural hearing scheduled for the 22nd of April 2021.
Understanding the challenges of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreements “is a question of putting an end to the paradox of an Africa which abounds in natural resources but whose populations are struggling to get out of poverty", said Ms. Brusil Miranda Metou, Secretary General of Cameroon’s Ministry Trade, on Monday March 8th, 2021. Ms. Metou was addressing some fifty experts and representatives of the Cameroonian private sector who are participating in an online training to fully grasp the objectives, scope and negotiation process of the AfCFTA as well as its expected impact on the socio-transformation of Cameroon.
The High Court Special Chamber for International and Cross-border Crimes has dismissed claims by suspect Paul Rusesabagina that he was a victim of abduction as baseless. Last week, Rusesabagina told the court that he was abducted by Rwandan authorities from Dubai, where he landed from the U.S. before traveling to Rwanda, hence requesting to be released and that all legal procedures that followed his arrest be annulled.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has welcomed two new directors to its commercial and corporate practice, one of which is a veteran of the firm. Ian Hayes has returned after an eight-year stint at Africa’s largest law firm ENSafrica, while Brian Jennings, who has also made the move from ENSafrica, is new to the firm. Both have been hired as directors, equivalent to partners. Hayes, a reputable lawyer in the South African market, has brought to CDH a portfolio of blue-chip clients in the mining, telecommunications and retail sectors, and a practice spanning all stages of merger and acquisition deals, and commercial and corporate matters including takeovers and the restructuring and structuring of businesses.
The South African operation of UK firm Pinsent Masons has continued to expand beyond its original construction and infrastructure focus, with the hire of a corporate partner, Chris Green from Bowmans. Green advises on a range of corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions in the infrastructure and energy sectors. He has acted for commercial clients including brewing giant AB InBev, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, BASF, Rand Merchant Investment Holdings and Australian packaging company Brambles Limited, as well as United Kingdom development finance institution CDC Group.
The African Arbitration Association (AfAA) has launched an online tool that provides an overview of arbitration legislation and international arbitrators in Africa. The African Arbitration Atlas went online in January of 2021 and allows users to search for legislation and arbitral institutions by country or see which countries use the UNCITRAL model law, or are signatories of the New York Convention, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes or Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (OHADA) – the West and Central African regional organisation that provides a legal and dispute resolution framework.
With the African Continental Free Trade Area now in force, the EAIAC held a webinar to discuss AfCFTA’s implementation, the opportunities it will pose for intra-Africa trade and the legal sector, and its impact on the settlement of disputes in Africa. The overall consensus of the panel in the East Africa International Arbitration Conference (EAIAC)’s AfCFTA: Implementation and Dispute Resolution webinar, was that significant gains can be made from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’s promotion of intra-Africa trade, with strong potential to promote industrialization.
The government has begun a U.S. $3.2 billion rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge railway project, Bonny Deep Sea Port on Bonny Island from where oil is exported and Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt. The projects will be co-financed with loans from a syndicate of Chinese financiers and the government will provide about 15% as counterpart funding. The Nigerian unit of state-owned China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation will carry out the work. President Muhammadu Buhari said the railway project, when completed, would reactivate economic activities along the Eastern corridor, which has been greatly affected by insecurity.