The International Chamber of Commerce, Nigeria says it will take putting an efficient system of dispute resolution in place for Nigeria and other African countries to attract investments and unlock their economic potentials.
According to the ICC, businesses are naturally averse to disputes and when disputes arise, they must be efficiently and effectively resolved for businesses to thrive.
The Chairman, Planning Committee for the 2nd ICC Africa Regional Arbitration Conference, Boma Ozobia, said this at the weekend while elaborating on the theme of the conference, which is scheduled to hold in Lagos between May 14 and 16, 2017.
With the theme, “Arbitration: Catalyst for economic growth,” the conference, Ozobia explained, is targeted at players in aeronatics, banking construction, energy, finance, intellectual property and international trade sectors.
She added that the conference, holding at Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, is open to magistrates, academics, arbitrators, business professionals, corporate counsel, legal directors, legal practitioners and mediators.
Ozobia said, “Dispute resolution is the key that unlocks investment, be it local, foreign, whatever it is, business, money, private equity, investment does not like dispute and where it arises, it wants it to be speedily and efficiently dealt with. So, this theme goes beyond lawyers, it goes to looking at the economy and what roles our skills and the work we do as arbitrators play in the economy.”
Also speaking on the conference, the chairman of its sub-committee on finance, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), said there was a need for more Nigerian professionals to be aware of existing opportunities open to them in arbitration.
He said the conference would not only provide an opportunity for existing arbitrators to network and share ideas on emerging trends, it would also afford the non-lawyer professionals the chance of learning about the opportunities open to them in arbitration.
Idigbe said, “Many people don’t know what arbitration is. Many people also think that arbitrators are all lawyers, no. Some of the best arbitrators in the world are non-lawyers but people in other professions. There might be arbitration in a media transaction and somebody with media experience, if trained as an arbitrator, may be the best person to conduct that arbitration or to chair a panel that involves lawyers.
So, to that extent, any system that has a pool of skilled arbitrators, a mix of professionals such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, among others, is likely to attract arbitration and if the laws and processes are convenient to arbitration, it means people will come to that forum to settle their disputes.
And there is a trickle-down effect of arbitration on the economy, the details of how arbitration affects the economy are what will be discussed at the conference.”
Idigbe said though a lot of foreign and local partners had already indicated their readiness to partner ICC towards the conference, the organisers were still open to more sponsors.