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Djibouti is going to establish the first African international arbitration centre so as to increase free zone business and in turn become one of the top business destinations in the world. International arbitration centers were developed to allow parties from different legal and cultural backgrounds to resolve their disputes, generally without the formalities of their respective legal systems and usually at a faster rate.
Youssouf Moussa Dawaleh, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Djibouti, told Capital that they also formed arbitration for local businesses, something expected to be advantageous for regional countries.
“Djibouti is a central and strategic area and as a business, we must also have safeguards for commerce and investments here,” he said.
“President Ismail Omar Guelleh, saw more and more investments and investors that have come here asking who will guarantee their investment, and for that reason, for the investors who are in the free zone, this special law will do just that,” the chamber president said.
According to the plan, the arbitration court, which will be of an extra-territorial nature, will also house the headquarters of the arbitration center for Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
The chamber president said the free zone will soon have the arbitration center.
“We will also organize an arbitration center in the chamber of commerce for the local business community and those who want to invest as a local business, and for countries like Ethiopia that have business relationship with Djibouti,” Dawaleh added.
Anyone who has a business problem can have their case heard at the arbitration center, the president explained.
George Bermann Law Professor at Columbus University, is known as an international arbitration expert and supports the formation of the arbitration center in Djibouti. He is expected to come to Djibouti for the IGAD Business Forum in February.
“We have invited him and he will have a presentation at the forum,” said Dawaleh.
The international arbitration center that will be established in the Free Zone will have a special law and the chamber will not be involved in it.
Arbitration has been a good advantage for the business community because the claim takes only six months as opposed to the usual legal system.
“It will give trust to our business partners in Djibouti,” he added.
Currently Djibouti has one free zone and is in the process of enlarging it.
For the formation of the international arbitration, the country has been using the Dubai International Financial Center.
The court of arbitration would be key element that will quickly resolve trade disputes that sometimes occur as cargo moves through Djibouti’s ports.