Over two days, approximately 100 lawyers came together to discuss the work that needs to be carried out and the challenges that must be met if the OHADA area is to improve. French lawyers had the chance to talk to lawyers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal, Togo, Mali, the Côte d’Ivoire, Chad, the Republic of the Congo and Niger.
From left to right: Louis Degos (President of the Prospective Committee of the French National Bar Council), Bar President Abbe Yao (Côte d’Ivoire), Roger Masamba (President of the OHADA National Committee in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Narcisse Aka (Secretary General of the CCJA).
Organised as part of Africa Week in Greater Lyon, the first day took place in the function rooms of the City Hall. It was attended by key players from the OHADA area, such as Dorothé Cossi Sossa, former Minister in Benin and current Permanent Secretary of OHADA, Sanma Daouda, President of the Bar Conference of OHADA Member States and Narcisse Aka, Secretary General of the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (CCJA). Representing France, in addition to the French National Bar Council and the Lyon Bar, the Bars of Bayonne and Libourne were represented by their Presidents alongside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, which attended as a reminder of its commitment to this adventure and the strong ties between France and French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa.
From left to right: Dorothé Cossi Sossa (Secretary General, of the OHADA), the Bar President Coco Kayudi (Kinshasa-Matete), the Bar President Bernard Vatier (Secretary General of the International Conference of Bar Associations from a shared legal tradition), Aly Fall (member of the Bar Association of Senegal).
Various round tables took place, on work carried out in the OHADA area, but also on the challenges that the Member States and institutions will have to overcome if OHADA law is to make progress. Tax-related issues were addressed, as was the idea of extending OHADA law, or even opening up the area to other countries, particularly English-speaking countries.
From left to right: Philippe-Henri Dutheil (President of the European and International Affairs Committee), Franck Heurtrey (President of the International Committee of the Lyon Bar), Dorothé C. Sossa (Permanent Secretary of OHADA), Pierre Fronton (lawyer at the Lyon Bar), Laurence Junod-Fanget (Bar President of Lyon) and Michel Benichou (President of the CCBE).
On Tuesday 8 December, discussions turned to the development of arbitration in the OHADA area and the resulting advantages for businesses. The advantages of the CCJA were presented by its Secretary General, Narcisse Aka. In cassation, the court is competent to hear appeals against decisions rendered at last instance where OHADA uniform acts are applied by the national courts of the states parties. For more information, Mr. Aka’s presentation is available below.
Round table on Business and Human Rights in the OHADA area with, left to right: Coco Kayudi (Bar President of Kinshasa Matete), Véronique Tuffal-Nerson (Member of the European and International Affairs Committee), Philippe Henri-Dutheil (President of the European and International Affairs Committee).
The day came to a close with an examination of how Business and Human Rights issues can be brought to Africa and the OHADA area.