Zambia is a signatory to several international and regional treaties, conventions and instruments. The Ratification of International Agreements Act, No. 34 of 2016 provides for the process of ratification and domestication of international agreements, conventions and instruments for them to be applicable to Zambia.
Some of the major conventions and treaties that have been ratified or domesticated include the 1995 World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement, the 1991 African Union Treaty, the 2018 African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, the 1985 Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency Convention, the 1992 Southern African Development Community Treaty and the 1993 Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Treaty.
Disputes are determined by the courts or other form of ADR chosen by the parties. Investment disputes are normally governed by the Investment Disputes Convention Act, Chapter 42 of the Laws of Zambia which domesticates the Washington Convention on the Settlement of Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States (1965).
- Zambia is a signatory to the following international conventions for the resolution of disputes: the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention);
- the 1965 Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID); and
- the 1985 United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (UNCITRAL).
Zambia is a party to a number of international treaties governing various aspects of intellectual property rights. These include:
- Copyright and related rights - the WIPO Convention 1967, the Universal Copyright Convention and the Berne Convention;
- Patents – the WIPO Convention, the Patent Cooperation Treaty 1978, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property 1883 and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS);
- Trademarks – the WIPO Convention, the Madrid Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the Registration of Marks 1989, the Paris Convention and the TRIPS Agreement;
- Industrial design – the WIPO Convention, the Paris Convention and the TRIPS Agreement;
- Plant variety rights – the WIPO Convention;
- Trade secrets – the WIPO Convention and the TRIPS Agreement;
- Geographical indications – the WIPO Convention, the Paris Convention and the TRIPS Agreement;
- Unfair competition – the TRIPS Agreement.
Zambia is also a member of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), an intergovernmental organisation that facilitates cooperation among the current 22 member states on intellectual property matters.
Zambia is yet to accede to the following treaties:
(i) the Singapore Trademark Law Treaty;
(ii) the International Convention for the Protection of Varieties of Plants;
(iii) the WIPO Copyright Treaty; and
(iv) the WIPO Phonograph and Performers Treaty.
Regional and international bodies
Zambia is party to several international, continental and regional organisations, most notably the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the African Union, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the Southern African Development Community.
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