Amazu A. Asouzu, International Commercial Arbitration And African States: Practice, Participation And Institutional Development - Aria Vol. 12 No. 2 2001
Originally from American Review of International Arbitration - ARIA
International Commercial Arbitration and African States: Practice,
Participation and Institutional Development, by Amazu A. Asouzu.
Cambridge University Press, 2001. Pp. 533.
This is the first comprehensive text on international commercial
arbitration in African states and is a welcome addition to a series of books
focusing on regional arbitration. The book is divided into five distinct parts. In
Part 1, Asouzu introduces us to the peculiarities of international commercial
practice in the African continent. One of these is the fact that African states,
acting by themselves or through a state agency, are directly involved in
commercial dealings with non-state parties, especially trans-national
corporations. He addresses the predominantly espoused prejudices by
commercial parties from the developed states and concludes that these were
clearly prejudices and relics inherited from the colonial past of the continent.
He then introduces commercial arbitration, highlighting its advantages and
relative disadvantages when compared with the traditional form of dispute
resolution, litigation, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution
Part 2 deals with the creation, historical background and philosophy
behind the work of the African-Asian Legal Consultative Committee
(“AALCC”) and the development of the various Regional Centres for
International Commercial Arbitration in African and Asian States. These
centres are currently in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia); Cairo (Egypt); Lagos
(Nigeria); and Tehran (Iran) (which is proposed for oil-related disputes).
Djibouti (Sudan) and Nairobi (Kenya) are also proposed. This part is the crux
of the book and deals extensively with the structure and status of the centres in
their host states and their independence from the AALCC. The aim of the
centres is to provide an efficient, expeditious and relatively inexpensive
dispute resolution mechanism, under their rules, modelled after the
UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, within the African-Asian region to prevent
recourse to arbitration institutions outside the region and to save time and cost.
The awards rendered in the centres can be enforced, subject to any declaration
of reciprocity, under the New York Convention; and if in a non-New York
Convention State, under its national laws for the enforcement of awards.
Part 3 deals with the issue of arbitrability under the arbitration laws of the
major commercial states, while Part 4 is a detailed study of the involvement
and experience of African states with ICSID, both the Washington Convention
and arbitrations conducted under its auspices. Asouzu then analyses a number
of important submissions and awards made involving African states,
concluding in Part 5 with a call for the continued improvements to the arbitral
atmosphere by African states and patronage by the international community.
The language of the book is simple, clear and understandable, approaching
the subject from the point of view of public international law. The reader,