Turkey: OHADA To Prosper Business In Africa

Last Updated: 29 September 2016
Article by Fatma Esra Guzeloglu and Abdulkadir Guzeloglu

The Purpose of OHADA

On 19 October 1993, with the aim of establishing a reliable economic area that welcomes local and foreign investors in terms of providing solid and stable business grounds, along with maintaining a resourceful and integrated internal economy, 16 countries signed the Treaty1 which launched the L'Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (OHADA).

OHADA, in a very brief explanation, is an organization whereby Member states agree to resign from their national sovereignty to a certain extent in order to achieve a single, cross-border regime of uniform business laws.2 Today, there are 17 Member States and 9 uniform acts in force both which numbers are likely to increase.3

OHADA, unlike European Union, aims for a true unification rather than harmonization. In order to achieve this, OHADA uniform acts prevail over all the domestic laws covering the same subject matter as per Article 10 of the OHADA Treaty. Moreover, in order to overcome any differences in interpretation of these laws among the member states, the Court of Justice of OHADA has been established in order to truly guarantee uniformity.

The main goal of OHADA is to promote legal certainty by enacting unified contemporary business laws that are modern, operable and understandable.4 In this regard, developments i.e. expediting court process, increasing ethical and training standards5 of the judicial branch, facilitating the enforcement of court decisions and promoting arbitration6 as a swift, confidential and hassle-free mechanism are intended to be implemented through OHADA.

OHADA Uniform Acts in General

There are currently 9 uniform acts in force7 . As may be understood from their titles, OHADA aims to achieve a unified business law in the Member States by regulating the area in its entirety and thoroughly. Nevertheless, there is still room for national legislations of the Member States in the areas where non-regulated by a Uniform Act. For example, concept of "entreprenant" was introduced recently in order to address the issue of informal sector in the OHADA States, when the Uniform Act relating to General Commercial Law was revised in 2010. However, the Act does not regulate what incentives exactly does this status include with regards to tax, credit, business registration and social security benefits and instead leaves each Member State to enact the necessary laws through ad-hoc secondary legislation.8

Fundamental parts of these Unification Acts are imported from international laws and conventions such as UNIDROIT and CISG as well as other jurisdictions. For example, "entreprenant" status was inspired by the "auto-entrepreneur" status in France which has succeeded to lead over 300.000 persons to register their business activity in less than a year upon its first application in 2009.9 That said, since the laws were imported from foreign systems, OHADA is open to improvements as necessitated by the economic and social realities of the region. Introduction of new acts and revising the current ones are clear examples of its constant engagements to find solutions to the issues that come into existence.

The Draft Uniform Contract Law

Without any doubt, contracts are the backbone of the modern business world. Contracts, whether simple or complex; oral or written; or long term or short term, provide a sense of security for the parties, by means of allocating each parties' rights and obligations. This is why a strong contract law is an important tool to thrive business in the OHADA States. The Draft Uniform Contract Law, when it enters into force, will have a positive effect on the business atmosphere in OHADA states by providing a single and unified code that enables businessman and investors to move securely within and among the member states.


OHADA, an organization whose main purpose is to generate advanced business laws in order to prosper commerce and attract investment in the Member States is a pioneer for all other African States in many aspects. OHADA, like every legal organism is an ever-evolving system. Hence, it is yet to be seen how OHADA will be shaped as it continues to seek appropriate solutions for region's needs and realities.


1 Traité Relatif a l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires. Online: http://www.ohada.com/traite/10/traite-relatif-a-l-harmonisation-en-afrique-du-droit-des-affaires.html» Last Accessed on: 06.02.2016

2 Dickerson, Claire Moore. Harmonizing Business Laws in Africa: OHADA Calls the Tune. 2005. p. 1

3 Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo

4 Kalm, Gustav. "Building legal certainty through international law: OHADA law in Cameroon" Working Paper No. 11-005, October 2011, p. 2. last accessed at on 06.02.2016: http://buffett.northwestern.edu/documents/working-papers/Buffett_11-005_Kalm.pdf

5 Ecole Régionale Supérieure de la Magistrature, (ERSUMA), is established to provide training for judges and legal officers from all Member States on the topics that are encompassed by OHADA legislation.

6 In this regard, the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (''CCJA'') , is established under OHADA Treaty. Latter in Article 14.1 stipulates that CCJA, within the jurisdiction of all member states, shall ensure the interpretation and application of the treaty and the regulations taken for its implementation, the uniform acts and the decisions.

7 Uniform Act relating to General Commercial Law, Uniform Act relating to Commercial Companies and Economic Group Partnerships, Uniform Act organizing Securities, Uniform Act organizing Summary Debt Collection Procedures and Measures of Execution, Uniform Act organizing Insolvency and Liquidation Proceedings, Uniform Act on Arbitration Law, Uniform Act organizing and harmonizing the undertaking's accounts in OHADA Member Countries, Uniform Act relating to the transportation of goods by road, Uniform Act governing Cooperative credit banks.

8 Impact Evaluation of the "Entreprenant Status" in Benin. CIC Impact Program, Methodology Note, Draft. October 31 2013. Last accessed on 06.02.2016 at: https://www.wbginvestmentclimate.org/results/upload/Methodological-note-IE-Entreprenant-status-Benin-Oct31-ext.pdf

9 Beauchard, Renaud. "OHADA Nears the Twenty-Year Mark: An Assessment." The World Bank Legal Review: Legal Innovation and Empowerment for Development. Vol. 4. Washington D.C.: World Bank, 2013. p. 329.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.