The ICC International Court of Arbitration (ICC) is to launch an Africa Commission to co-ordinate its growth and activity in Africa.
Run by the ICC, the court has appointed 24 members from across Africa to serve on the commission, including current and former members of the ICC and vice chairs of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
The ICC has seen a big growth in use by African parties in recent years. In 2016, there was a 50% increase in parties from North and sub-Saharan Africa participating in ICC arbitrations, while in 2017 there was an increase in the number of cases, to 87, and parties, to 153, from sub-Saharan Africa at the ICC, growth of 35.9% and 40.4%, respectively. There was also an increase in the number of arbitrators from both North and sub-Sarahan Africa.
The ICC said the commission would contribute to its ongoing efforts to increase the number of African arbitrators working in the profession and help to manage disputes in the region. The commission will be led by president Ndanga Kamau, vice-president of the ICC, and secretary Sami Houerbi, currently the director of ICC dispute resolution services for Eastern Mediterranean, Middle-East and Africa. Kamau was until recently the registrar of LCIA-MIAC.
President of the ICC court, Alexis Mourre, said in a statement, ‘the relevance of Africa for the Court’s future cannot be overstated. As home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies, it is also the region with the greatest need for international investments and where the development of robust and high-quality dispute resolution services is most relevant.’ It follows June’s re-election of Mourre for a second three-year term and the appointment of the court’s 176 members for the 2018 to 2021 term. While large-scale international arbitration involving African parties or countries is still dominated by international centres, such as the ICC, or the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), there has been a push from African countries to establish and grow their own arbitral centres. These have had mixed results so far.