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SOAS RESEARCH SURVEY

In the 2020 Arbitration in Africa Survey, conducted by the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, AFSA was rated the top Arbitration Centre in Africa. 


Dr Emilia Onyema well-known as the convener of the SOAS Arbitration in Africa conference series, led the SOAS Arbitration in Africa research project. Her research interests focus on the development of international arbitration in Africa and the engagement of Africa in international arbitration.

The 2020 survey focused on identifying the top arbitral centres in Africa and SOAS identified 92 arbitral centres or organisations operating on the continent. According to SOAS not all centres carry out the functions of a true arbitral centre as some of the centres do not administer arbitration cases but only provide facilities including hearing rooms to support the private dispute resolution process; while some effectively act as appointing authorities and again do not administer arbitrations. The research survey only took into account those institutions that administer arbitration under their bespoke rules and/or other rules, have a physical presence in an identifiable location within the continent and employ staff that administer arbitrations.

On the number of arbitration cases administered and the MOU’s concluded with other arbitral centres,
AFSA scored a total of 4137.4 points while the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA) in the second place, scored 1429.4 points. The survey confirmed that AFSA is the premier arbitration centre in Africa as it relates to experience in administering arbitration cases under its rules. The top five arbitral centres as ranked by respondents are AFSA, Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, Kigali International Arbitration Centre, Lagos Court of Arbitration and Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration.

The facilities (human and technical) that respondents expect an international arbitration centre to provide, include accessible location, panel of experienced arbitrators, multilingual staff and delivery services (including rules/notes/guidelines), state-of-the-art technology, well trained administrative staff, code of ethics for arbitrators, knowledge of socio-cultural context, attractive website, independence from government or other organisations, and security. 

The survey revealed that the major cities in Africa that host arbitrations, whether ad-hoc or institutional, are Cairo, Johannesburg, Kigali, Lagos, Cape Town, Abidjan, Abuja, Pretoria, Durban, and Tunis. South Africa, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban, is the country where the largest number of arbitrations are held.
The launch took place via a webinar hosted by Prof Dr Maxi Sherer, Chair of
the Drafting Committee and Advisory Board. During the webinar members of
the Drafting Committee highlighted some of the key features of the draft rules
including emergency arbitrators, expedited proceedings, early dismissal of
claims, non-participating parties, multi-party proceedings (including joinder
and consolidation), confidentiality and third-party funding.
  • A copy of the Rules can be found here
  • Comments on the draft rules will be welcomed and can be sent to comments@arbitration.co.za
  • DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS 31 AUGUST 2020
  • Full details of the Drafting and Advisory Board can be found here
  • A recording of the webinar can be found here

Introducing a New Journal

AFSA introduces a Journal which is a first of its kind, having its focus on arbitration in Southern Africa and which will serve both as a research tool and as an on-going record of the progress and the development of arbitration in Southern Africa and in Africa.

The main theme of this edition is the New York Convention – 60 years later, an assessment by a Panel of AFSA Graduates speaking from their different vantage points.
Click to download a PDF of the Journal

Revision of  AFSA  International Arbitration Rules

Since the promulgation of South Africa's International Arbitration Act (IAA) in late 2017, which incorporates the UNCITRAL Model Law, the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA)'s international caseload has grown exponentially. To facilitate this continued growth, ensure best quality services possible and keep pace with developments in the rules of other major arbitral centres around the world, AFSA has decided to revise its International Arbitration Rules.

To that effect, AFSA has assembled a Drafting Committee and an Advisory Board composed of leading academics, experts and practitioners from around the globe to revise and redraft its current International Arbitration Rules, which pre-date the passing of IAA. Details on the Drafting Committee and Advisory Board can be found here.

Prior to the official launch of the new AFSA International Arbitration Rules, AFSA wishes to encourage wider public consultation and would like to invite all interested parties to view the draft rules and to submit their comments about key innovations and provisions. Refer details above.
Patrick Lane SC, Chair of AFSA International and Vice-chair of AFSA, says that: "The New International Arbitration Rules will be the product of a thorough review and the revisions will reflect developments of the international arbitration practice and procedure since the rules were first drafted. They will be an important step towards the implementation of new policies to foster the efficiency of AFSA international arbitrations."

Professor Dr. Maxi Scherer, Chairperson of the Drafting Committee and Advisory Board, is confident that "the New International Arbitration Rules will provide additional certainty and clarity to businesses trading across borders on the African continent and beyond and continue to make AFSA a highly attractive choice for parties in international arbitration proceedings."
For other news and stories download the
2020 edition of AFSA@Work here
Click to download
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