MTA partnered with the East African International Arbitration Conference (EAIAC) held at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa from August 30-31st, 2018. The theme for this year’s event was “Re-focusing Regional Trade, Energy and Arbitration.“ EAIAC hosted various legal practitioners, arbitrators, magistrates, international investors, academicians, corporate counsel, and government representatives from the African continent and beyond. The event was co-organized by the Ethiopian Lawyers Association (ELA).
Keynote address was delivered by the Ethiopian Investment Commission Commissioner, Mr. Belachew Mekuria, who remarked that the recently announced privatizations in Ethiopia will create a competitive business environment and the need for an effective dispute resolution mechanism, such as arbitration. Deputy Attorney General also delivered a keynote in which he emphasized that Ethiopia is welcoming major changes with liberalization of the public enterprises and hinted that the changes in policy will be followed with legal reforms. The Deputy Attorney General also expressed his office’s readiness to collaborate with international forums such as EAIAC.
The event featured a breakfast roundtable discussion on China-Africa investment and arbitration cooperation, and panel discussions on topics including: the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), East Africa’s Energy & Infrastructure Projects-, Preparing the Next Generation of Africa Arbitrators, Exploring International Commercial Arbitration, Treaties in International Arbitration, Enforcement and Artificial Intelligence in Arbitration.
Justice Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, President of the East Africa Court of Justice delivered the closing remarks reiterating the importance of platforms such as the EAIAC for the development of international arbitration in the continent.
Founded in 2013, the EAIAC has the vision of improving international arbitration and investment laws in East Africa, harmonizing regional arbitration centers and positioning them as a safe venue for international arbitration. The conference also aims at creating awareness and engagement in the private sector users of arbitration, governments and practitioners, as well as promote Africa’s international Arbitration. The annual event has so far been held in Addis Ababa (2013), Nairobi (2014), Dares Salaam (2015), Kampala (2016), and Kigali (2017).