Worldwide: OHADA's 17 African States Adopt The Uniform Act On Mediation

In Short

The Situation: In November 2017, 17 states of sub-Saharan Africa adopted the Uniform Act on Mediation.

The Result: The practice of mediation, although it already has legislative support in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Senegal, will be substantially expanded in the region with the OHADA states' adoption of the Uniform Act on Mediation.

Looking Ahead: Will the new mediation act enhance the security of doing business and facilitate alternative dispute resolution in sub-Saharan Africa?

In many parts of the world, mediation has become a strong tool for achieving the resolution of commercial disputes. It derives from the ancient tradition of palaver ("la palabre"), which is well known on the African continent. In modern business transactions, in particular long-term contracts, mediation has become part of a "package" to which parties agree in order to attempt to reach a solution early on and prevent a conflict from escalating to the point of arbitration or litigation in court. As such, parties agree on multi-tier dispute resolution clauses, providing for recourse to mediation as the first step in the avoidance of conflict, often as a prerequisite to proceeding to arbitration or litigation.

Mediation in the OHADA Region

The Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa ("OHADA") is an international organization based in Yaoundé, Cameroun. It is made up of 17 states from mostly Central and Western Africa with a total population of about 200 million inhabitants.

Three of these OHADA states—Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Senegal—are quite familiar with mediation, having recognized its importance as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism by adopting their own national mediation laws a few years ago. The arbitration centers of Burkina Faso (CAM-CO) and the Ivory Coast (CACI) have their own mediation rules in addition to the arbitration rules of their institutions. One of the challenges faced by those institutions remains the training of qualified mediators and gaining a better understanding by local business partners, including from the prevalent public sector, of the benefits of mediation.

In conjunction with its adoption of the Uniform Mediation Act, OHADA also reformed its uniform arbitration law, which was first created in 1999 (see Jones Day Commentary, "Revised Uniform Act Brings Major Innovations for Sub-Saharan OHADA Member States"). By uniformizing the arbitration and mediation frameworks for the OHADA region, the organization has remained true to the OHADA founding Treaty, which seeks to harmonize the business laws of its member states and to promote investment in the region. Mediation was rightly seen as a tool to serve these objectives.

Key Features of the Uniform Act on Mediation

The Uniform Act on Mediation has 18 Articles, with some key features:

Definition. The term "mediation" is meant to be interchangeable with the term "conciliation," while the former is more frequently used today. A mediation is any process by which parties ask an independent third party to assist them in finding a solution to their dispute or disagreement resulting from their legal or contractual relationship. Such disputes may involve physical or legal persons, whether from the private or public sector.

Scope of Application. The new law applies to any disputes submitted to a mediator, without any restriction as to geographical location or the subject matter of the relevant dispute. Moreover, it covers either conventional or judicial mediations, i.e., whether foreseen by the parties in their contract or imposed at the initiative of a judge.

Confidentiality. The confidentiality of the mediation and related information is protected. A mediator cannot reveal the content or result of the discussions that take place during mediation, nor can a mediator subsequently act as an arbitrator, expert, or counsel in related proceedings.

Enforcement. A unique and innovative uniform regime for the recognition and enforcement of settlement agreements is being implemented in the 17 states, with possible remedies before local courts and the OHADA Regional Court (the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration).

Future of OHADA's Uniform Act on Mediation

While the Uniform Act on Mediation was inspired by the 2002 UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation and takes into account benchmarks of international best practices, it has adopted innovative provisions for the enforcement of settlement agreements within OHADA. This is likely to encourage parties to settle their disputes through mediation.

The successful implementation of the new Uniform Act on Mediation will depend on the efforts of each OHADA member state to develop the practice of mediation, for example by encouraging judges to send litigants, whenever appropriate, before a mediator, and by making enterprises, whether from the private or public sector, aware of the advantages of mediation. The successful implementation will also require the training of an increasing number of qualified mediators and the development of institutions providing both mediation and arbitration services.

On a regional level, this task will be challenging since no single institution provides mediation services for the entire OHADA region. As the arbitration center of the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration in Abidjan has no mediation rules as such, those engaging in cross-border business transactions in the OHADA region are likely to continue to prefer recourse to national or international institutions that offer both mediation and arbitration services, such as the ICC.

Two Key Takeaways

  1. Seventeen African states recently adopted the Uniform Act on Mediation.
  2. The act's intent is to enhance the transparency, speed, and efficiency of arbitral proceedings in the OHADA region, thereby increasing the confidence of investors and other participants in the area.

Anne-Sophie Gidoin, an associate in the Paris Office, assisted in the preparation of this Commentary.

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

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

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Moritt, Hock & Hamroff LLP
Foley & Lardner
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Moritt, Hock & Hamroff LLP
Foley & Lardner
Related Articles
Related Video
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions