I have been blessed and honored by my nomination as Director of the CRCICA as of 1st January 2017 for a four-year term by virtue of a unanimous decision of the Board of Trustees. Indeed, the directorship of such a notable arbitral institution is undeniably a noble mission at the service of justice. I hold ambitious prospects to continue the growth of CRCICA’s role in the realm of the international arbitration justice building on the tremendous achievements of my esteemed predecessors.
On top of my priorities, I plan to continue the development of the CRCICA’s institutional dispute management strategies and mechanisms to sustain its reputation and achievements in Egypt, the Afro-Asian Region, and worldwide. In this regard, new measures have been initiated, as inspired from the Arbitration Rules, to enhance the managerial role of the Centre in accelerating the arbitral process and expediting the issuance of awards. Most significantly, all the practical issues arising out of the application of the Rules are being closely monitored and examined in preparation of a revised version thereof for release on or before the Centre’s 40th Anniversary in 2019. Concomitantly, guidelines to CRCICA Arbitration Rules shall be released to supplement the role played by our Practice Notes in transparently providing a better understanding of the way CRCICA constructs and applies its Arbitration Rules.
I lend equal attention to the continuous development of “the dedicated dispute management department” (the GAR Guide to Regional Arbitration 2017) to enhance the capabilities and skills of its diligent members. Among other plans, and associated with the issuance of the French version of the Arbitration Rules on 31 March 2017, the department is being supported by French speaking case managers to encourage and facilitate administering French-language arbitration cases
Our Conferences and External Relations Department is another important asset that CRCICA will invest in and support. With an increasing scope of activities, international projects, internal and external affiliations and a glowing record of internationally acknowledged successes, this department will witness considerable expansions in the few coming years.
Moreover, one of my primary objectives is to diversify CRCICA’s areas of cooperation by supporting arbitration in Africa and strengthening cooperation with other African arbitration institutions. I perceive Africa as one strong whole in the heart of the universe rather than some isolated islands in scattered lands. Let’s build bridges and demolish artificial walls that are unduly separating certain African Countries.
This perspective was echoed in the Africa Arbitration Week CRCICA hosted on 2-6 April 2017 which started by an international conference organized by the African International Legal Awareness (AILA) and the University of Geneva entitled “A Paradigm Shift in International Investment Law” followed by the ICCA Second Consultative Workshop on Cooperation among African Arbitral Initiatives, and culminated in SOAS University of London Third Arbitration Conference: “The Role of African States and Governments in the development of Arbitration in Africa”. Further, I have been invited to speak in three major conferences organised by AALCO, the ICC and the APAA jointly with the UNCITRAL respectively in Nairobi, Lagos and Yaounde.
Much awaited, CRCICA, for the very first time in 38 years, has successfully released a French version of its Arbitration Rules on 31 March 2017 to stimulate cooperation with all stakeholders in the African continent and beyond.
Also, in 2017, a section on arbitration in Africa will be added to the CRCICA-sponsored Journal of Arab Arbitration”, a biannual publication of the Arab Union of International Arbitration (AUIA).
Another priority for CRCICA’s diversification policy will be to strengthen its relationship with China, Malaysia and the Far East and cooperate with its arbitration institutions. With this respect, CRCICA, internationally reputed for its neutrality and impartiality, shall ensure its presence in the Belt and Road initiative of China with the aim of providing full and efficient dispute resolution services to the various parties related to such initiative especially in Africa and the MENA Region. Within this context, CRCICA has very recently entered into a tripartite cooperation agreement with the Beijing Arbitration Commission/Beijing International Arbitration Center and the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration. By virtue of this significant agreement, the parties shall commence close cooperation in handling disputes arising from the commercial transactions and promoting alternative dispute resolution mechanism under the Belt & Road Initiative.
Moreover, CRCICA shall maintain its continuous support to the Arab Union of International Arbitration (AUIA) and wishes to boost its role through inviting other Arab arbitration institutions to organise joint conferences and workshops. Furthermore, CRCICA will endeavour in the coming years, to promote and ensure diversity in arbitration through encouraging young arbitrators, and especially women, by reviving the CRCICA Youth Forum and hosting a Moot Court for young Africans. CRCICA will also endeavour to encourage geographic diversity to ensure that Non-Egyptian Africans and Arabs as well as Asian calibres are given a fair opportunity to sit as arbitrators.
I look very much forward to boosting intra-Afro-Asian cooperation all through the way of achieving the above plans building on my predecessors’ achievements who dug deep and laid the foundation on solid ground. I wish Dr. Abdel Raouf a bright future as Counsel and Arbitrator and to every arbitration practitioner dealing with the CRCICA all success in their noble mission of enhancing best practice for the arbitral justice.
Dr. Ismail Selim