Adherence by the Democractic Republic of the Congo to the organisation for the harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) – comments by DRC Lex Africa member firm Djunga & Risasi – July 2012
OHADA is a system of business laws and common institutions adopted by various Western and Central African states, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo Brazzaville, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea Conakry, Guinea‑Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice and Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”) have confirmed in a joint announcement that the DRC has filed its instruments of adherence to the OHADA on 27 June 2012. This means that by 27 August 2012, the OHADA Uniform Acts will be applied in the DRC. The Uniform Acts exclusively relate to business law and govern general accounting principles, company law, general commercial law and securities law.
The Uniform Acts have also set up a supranational court, the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to act as an appeal court of last resort for any disputes relating to the application or interpretation of the Uniform Acts (rather than submitting such disputes to the local high or supreme courts of a member country). This ensures uniformity and consistent legal interpretations across all OHADA member countries.
Since Article 3 of the Uniform Act (which relates to general commercial law) expressly defines mining as a commercial act, it should be noted that the DRC’s adherence to OHADA will render commercial courts competent to decide commercial disputes relating to mining.
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