The African Development Bank (AFDB) has recently posted on its website the Assessment Report of Arbitration Centres in Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt and Mauritius, which was prepared by Dr Werner Jahnel, Partner, LALIVE as mandated by the AFDB to assess various arbitration centres across the African continent. The Report focuses on the following three centres: La Cour Commune de Justice et d’Arbitrage (CCJA) in Côte d’Ivoire, the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA) in Egypt, and the Mauritius International Arbitration Centre (LCIA-MIAC) in Mauritius. The purpose of the Report is to assess the arbitration centres against the requirement and standards for “international commercial arbitration” according to the Bank’s Rules and Procedures for the Procurement of Goods and Works and to examine, among other issues, “the neutral venue requirement” in each of these centres.
The research methodology of the report was double-staged based on desk review of documents and site visits of some of the Centres involved. The Final Report consolidates the findings of the two stages and provides a final assessment of each centre. The basic features of the report on CRCICA follow:
Recognition: CRCICA is one of the best arbitration centres across the African Continent and can readily be recommended for use by parties from both the African continent and elsewhere.
Neutrality: CRCICA fulfills the Bank’s important requirement for a neutral venue even in cases of commonality of origin between one of the parties to the arbitration (notably if it is the State party) and the State in which the Centre is located, i.e. Egypt.
Strengths: the professionalism of the Centre and the suitability of the CRCICA Rules for the conduct of important international arbitration proceedings are noted as significant features of CRCICA.
Users’ Review: All the practitioners consulted confirmed that the Cairo Centre was functioning very well and that the current political situation in Egypt did not have any impact on the organization of the Centre and its ability to properly administer the arbitral proceedings. This factor, together with the Centre’s status as an independent non-profit international organization, enhance public confidence entrusted to the Centre.
French version of the CRCICA Rules: The assessor has received no negative feedback regarding the Centre. He has however stressed the importance of having a French version for CRCICA’s Arbitration Rules, which is due to be released in September 2014.
Assessor’s Conclusion: The system at CRCICA as a whole appears to provide the necessary safeguards to guarantee a suitable framework to all parties to the arbitration.
CRCICA reviews the outcome of this report with pride and satisfaction. It is notable that the Centre has recently received similar acknowledgements of neutrality and professionalism from other international financial organizations as well as commercial dispute resolution institutions in the course of their assessment of neutral and appropriate arbitration venues.