The Academy was established due to the rising demand for improved expertise and training of arbitration practitioners in Africa, and to expose the young practitioners to the current trends and developments in international commercial and investment arbitration. The inaugural Academy program was held in London three years ago, in June 2019, and taught by international arbitration practitioners and experts, heads of arbitration institutions, in-house counsel, and judges. The overall objective of the Academy is to provide the much-needed specialized training to young arbitration practitioners from Africa and to equip them with the right set of skills to succeed within the international arbitration community.
One of the core objectives of AAA is the training and retraining of arbitration practitioners in Africa. Annually, members of the academy participate in training in order to equip themselves with the requisite skill set needed to deliver top-notch services to their clients. The training for the 2022 cohort was held in London and was attended by arbitration practitioners drawn from 15 African countries.
According to the drafting committee headed by Abayomi Okubote MCIarb and the Technical Committee headed by Prof. Dr. Mohamed Abdel Wahab FCIarb “The need for a Model BIT for the Africa States became necessary considering the growing importance of foreign direct investment in Africa and the desire of African states to promote an attractive investment climate that enhances sustainable development, the Africa Arbitration Academy Model Bilateral Investment Treaty (AAAModel BIT) has been developed to promote these objectives. The AAA Model BIT sets out the investment policy framework for the promotion of foreign direct investments in Africa”.
“It considers the asymmetries in the existing investment policy framework in many African states.
The AAA Model BIT recognises the right of state parties to regulate and introduce new
measures relating to investments in their territories in order to meet national policy objectives
in accordance with established principles of international law:”
“The AAA Model BIT thus provides a unique approach to balancing the relationship between
investment promotion and sustainable development. It serves as a source of cohesion for
African states in relation to their ISDS reform strategies and promotes the codification of
African states’ investment policies and laws. The document is been developed as a
comprehensive model treaty comprised of uniform texts which African states may adopt as a
basis for developing their specific model investment treaties, and also for non-African states
when seeking to negotiate and conclude BITs with African states. Even if a state does not have
a model investment treaty, this AAA Model BIT will be useful in considering how obligations
are drafted. It provides insights into different drafting approaches.
The AAA Model BIT is not intended to be and is not a legally binding document but a model
instrument, the adoption of which would depend largely on negotiations, domestic context,
and adaptability by African states. Consequently, the adoption of some or all the texts of this
document and the result of any particular investment treaty negotiation are the responsibility
of each African state.
“The main objective of the Model BIT is to promote, encourage and increase investments, and
enhance sustainable development in Africa. To support this objective, each article of the AAA
Model BIT is accompanied by an explanatory note, which forms an integral part of the final
product. The explanatory note serves as an informative tool for African and non-African
states’ officials when drafting and negotiating investment treaties involving African states. It
provides guidance on the application of each of the provisions contained herein.
The preparation of the AAA Model BIT has been undertaken through an interactive and in-depth research process by a drafting committee and technical review committee consisting of seasoned arbitration and investment law experts drawn from different African states and the international arbitration and investment law community”.
Arbitration News in Africa is published by Peter Ndubuisi Akpu Esq, an arbitration enthusiast and a volunteer with Africa Arbitration Academy and Association of Young Arbitrators. He studied law in Ebonyi State University Abakaliki Nigeria and attended Nigerian Law School Yola Campus.