The annual East Africa International Arbitration Conference returns to Nairobi on the 29th & 30th August 2019 at the Radisson Blu Hotel for its 7th edition. EAIAC provides an unrivalled platform for International Arbitration practitioners, arbitration users, state counsel, academia, and in-house corporate lawyers to learn, share best practice, network and deliberate on International Arbitration as an important tool for promoting FDI in Africa. EAIAC equally provides a forum to promote, profile and celebrate Africa’s International Arbitration & Arbitrators.
Themed “Government Contracting and Investment Disputes: Lessons for States and Investors” the conference will explore the full spectrum of government contracting from procurement and PPPs (public-private partnerships), tender disputes, dispute mitigation in government contracts, investment arbitration and arbitrating with governments in African centres.
Kenya’s selection to host the conference was boosted by it’s long -term development blueprint, Vision 2030, and its mid-term development plan, the Big Four Agenda. The country has experienced a surge in government contracting over the recent past and only last year, the Kenyan government successfully defended two high profile investment arbitrations: an ICC arbitration relating to the power sector; and an ICSID arbitration in the mining sector.
Notably, across Kenya’s borders, various African countries have also published blueprints to be mid-level economies by the first half of this century. The momentum for investment in Africa’s investment in renewable energy, Infrastructure development, agriculture, healthcare, and education continues despite global uncertainty. These interests in African economies is further encouraged by the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which entered into force on the 30th May 2019 with 24 out of 55 Africa states have deposited their instruments of ratification. We see some Governments making attempts to become transparent and efficient in contracting.
All these developments set out a strong case for international arbitration and its development in the continent. It is for this reason that the East Africa International Arbitration platform exists, to promote the arbitration practice, support Africa centres build relationships and their profile, create a platform for shared experience, a place where arbitration practitioners and users can meet to network and acquire new skills.
The discussion topics will be delivered by leading Africa and international experts in discussion panels, Oxford-style debates and master classes tackling some of the pertinent issues in Africa’s arbitration space. The keynote address will be delivered by Hon. Justice David Maraga, Chief Justice, Republic of Kenya. The speakers will attempt to respond to questions like; How can governments and investors better contract? Disputes are expensive, even for the winner –can they be mitigated? Can damages be better assessed and recovered? Do African international arbitration centres and practitioners have a place in investment arbitration and many more.