Chairman of the Ghana Arbitration Centre, Nana S.K.B Asante, has urged the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) to incorporate the rules of international arbitration to address the situation whereby cases relating to multilateral trade are handled by foreign counsels.
“International arbitration is very crucial for intra-country commercial transactions, and the failure of the country to embrace and develop skills in arbitration means ceding a major part of modern legal practice to foreign firms.
“The Ghana Bar should not deny itself the opportunity to participate effectively in international arbitration, as it has interesting prospects,” he told lawyers of state-owned institutions in Accra at a two-day training programme organised by the International Chamber of Commerce-Ghana.
Nana Asante also encouraged lawyers in the country to build expertise and delve into the substance underlying international agreements that give rise to international disputes: such as petroleum and mining agreements, joint ventures, procurement agreements, and technology transfer agreements.
He indicated: “Without such expertise, they are relegated to spectators of the critical transactions and commercial arbitrations that invariably affect the country’s destiny.
“This is equally applicable to business executives and government officials.”
According to him, arbitration is part of the dispute settlement mechanisms that are being promoted at the highest level of the country’s legal system -- for the obvious reason that the courts are congested and pace of litigation is slow. For these reasons, he opined that in commercial disputes arbitration is an expeditious means of commercial dispute resolution that is favourable to both investors and businessmen.
Participants of the training course were drawn from state-owned institutions comprising the Volta River Authority, Ghana Highways Authority, Ghana Oil, National Communications Authority, Attorney-General’s Department, HFC Bank, and the Ghana Airports Company Limited.
One rationale behind re-launch of the ICC Ghana in 2013 was to address the rise in disputes between foreign investors in the country and the state, which usually resulted in judgment debts.
The Chamber was also to promote trade and investments in the country, as well as smoothen operations in the domestic business environment.
Executive Secretary of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Ghana, Emmanuel Doni-Kwame, in an interview with B&FT on the idea behind the training exercise said: “This is training programme for arbitrators and lawyers in the country, on rules of the ICC Court of Arbitration.”