GBA to make case for dispute settlement centre under AfCFTA to be established in Accra

Speaking on the Law programme by host, Samson Lardy Anyenini, he says the GBA will put together a team to front, and lobby for the Dispute Settlement Chamber.

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

The president of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Yaw Acheampong Boafo says the association would be taking the lead to ensure Accra is made the Dispute Settlement Capital under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 

Speaking on the Law programme by host, Samson Lardy Anyenini, he says the GBA will put together a team to front, and lobby for the Dispute Settlement Chamber. 

“When I was going round campaigning, it was Michale Apalbilah at AB & David, who drew my attention to the possible effects of AfCFTA on our legal practice. And we paid the courtesy call on the Minister for Trade, we asked to meet Professor  Kuruk, so that we meet to see whether there can be some moratorium before the protocol of services, before the Nigerians, other Africans try to move us up. 

Now we have engaged the Trade Ministry and Professor Kuruk. We are going to put together a team. But there’s something that I hope I’m able to achieve before I leave office. But I hope that we can start something. I believe strongly that the GBA should take steps to make Accra the dispute settlement capital of Africa. We should argue, lobby, and get governments to see the need of having the Dispute Settlement Chamber cited here. Because you see, we should tell our story properly, Nigeria is too chaotic to host it,” he said. 

Accra is currently the seat of the AfCFTA Secretariate. But Mr. Boafo says Ghana’s arbitration centre needs to be established to further make gains from the AfCFTA. 

“I believe strongly that under the Alternative Dispute Act, the government was supposed to set up an arbitration center which is not done. We can start little - let us make sure the government sets it up, and then we can have a rule, say any agreement of say $10 million down, the seat must be in Accra. 

I think that, if you have an arbitration centre seated in Accra, the dispute settlement chamber seated in Accra, it sounds to reason that, there’s somebody who instructs an Accra-based lawyer than most likely than bringing somebody from outside the country, where the hotel bills and everything,” he explained.

The AfCFTA would reshape markets and economies across the continent, and boost output in various sectors. And particularly for the legal sector, it is expected to expand the market – demand for legal services is expected to intensify, which is also accompanied by some level of competition. 

At the international lecture organized by the African Bar Association, the Ghana Bar Association, and the UPSA Law School in May, the Dean of the UPSA Law School, Prof. Kofi Abotsi had underscored the need for lawyers on the continent to brace themselves for the competition that comes with the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).