ǼLEX is a full service commercial and litigation law firm. It is one of the largest law firms in West Africa with offices in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja in Nigeria and Accra, Ghana.
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LEVERAGING NIGERIA'S EMERGING ECONOMIC MIGHT TO DRIVE ARBITRATION IN AFRICA
Arbitration practice in Africa has not taken off as hoped. Foreign Parties and practitioners still view Africa with suspicion. This article acknowledges that there are persisting concerns about the competence of African practitioners and indeed whether African legal systems can be trusted. The article also argues that the challenge with these views about Africa are that they proceed from perceptions of Africa that do not reflect all the truth about the progress Africa has made to address the questions of competence and capacity, as well as improving its legal systems.
While progress has been made in the areas of capacity building in Africa using Nigeria as a case study, very little progress has been made in terms of attracting or retaining arbitrations in Africa. Critically for Africa usually those who might wish to retain arbitration in Africa have often been African parties who are in weaker bargaining positions during contract negotiations. Foreign businesses ensure that very little African content is included in the dispute resolution clauses of contracts. But this paper argues that the trends are beginning to change, with Nigerian businesses growing and expanding strongly across Africa. Further, it is argued that Nigeria has enjoyed remarkable economic growth and has shown maturity in its democracy sufficiently to alter the negative narratives.
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