On Africa Day, we’re taking a look at some of the ways ICC is mobilising its network at national, regional and local level to make business work for all in Africa.
From building commercial dispute resolution capacity to ensuring African commerce benefits from the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement here are 7 ways ICC is working to raise the voice of African business and pave the way for a sustained economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A growing network in Africa
ICC has an active network in over 20 African countries. Committed to growing our presence in the region to further support private sector growth and development, ICC opened ICC Cameroon in June 2020. This latest addition to ICC’s network of national committees, is located in Douala and works in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Artisans of Cameroon.
- Meeting needs for trusted Dispute Resolution
Speaking recently at the launch of ICC’s 2021 Rules of Arbitration in Anglophone Africa, ICC Court President Alexis Mourre said:
“As home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies [Africa] is the region with the greatest need for international investments and where the development of robust and high-quality dispute resolution services is most relevant.”
In recent years ICC has been expanding its reach in Africa to bring its gold standard dispute resolution services closer to parties and professional on the continent.
In 2016, ICC held the first ICC Africa Regional Arbitration Conference in Lagos. The fifth edition of the conference is set to take place online from 1-6 June this year, hosted by ICC Nigeria.
In 2018, ICC established an ICC Africa Commission, with the aim of coordinating ICC’s outreach on the continent and augmenting the number of qualified and available African arbitrators to oversee the growing number of disputes arising from increased commercial activity in the region.
This month, ICC also announced the appointment of a Regional Director for Africa, Diamana Diawara, who is undertaking a one-year mission with a view to establishing a presence for case management in Sub Saharan Africa by 2022.
- Enabling a resilient recovery
With the aim of enabling private sector resilience, and paving the way for a sustained economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, ICC launched the Africa Action Network to mobilise ICC national committees, chamber of commerce leaders and other members of the ICC network for action and impact at regional and local level.
The Africa Action Network today continues to feed the voice of African business into global discussions, identify ways to build private sector resilience, and pave the way for a sustained economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
Objectives include enabling the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and digitising 5 million small businesses. ICC and Africa investor launched a global eTrade partnership to digitise five million SMEs in Africa. Supporting ICC’s efforts to make technology work for all, the campaign aims to facilitate access to trade and supply chain finance, digital logistics, trade data, capacity building and training tools for SMEs across Africa.
Committed to strengthening private sector development in Africa ICC also announced a collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Business Council (CBC) to advance economic and social progress in Africa through joint action locally, nationally and internationally and with the aim of providing tools and targeted solutions to global challenges such as climate change, inequality and finance for development.
- Better business together
In 2020, ICC joined forces with the Ministry of Business Development of Ghana, the UNDP and the Business for Peace Foundation to launch the For Better Business Together programme (4BBT), as a focal point for global and local initiatives in Ghana of the three partners to support economic recovery and strengthen the sustainability and resilience of businesses for the future. ICC Executive Board member Valentina Mintah also announced ICC plans to launch an Accra Hub of the ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship to harness the untapped potential at local level while thinking globally on standards and opportunities.
- Making Incoterms work for Africa
ICC regional offices in Africa have been instrumental in introducing Incoterms 2020 to businesses in Africa hosting a series of training sessions to ensure a sound understanding of the renowned trade terms which facilitate trillions of dollars in global trade each year.
- Supporting green investments in Africa
In March ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO joined African ministers of Finance and leading institutional investors from Africa and around the world at a side event of the 2021 Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. Mr Denton participated in discussions on how best to support green investments in Africa, the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and stronger economic recovery and resilience. ICC welcomed plans to create a pan African Green infrastructure Investment Bank, a announced during the event.
- Implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement.
The World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) entered into force in February 2017 with the aim of removing the red tape that entangles the movement of goods worldwide.
Research by the World Economic Forum suggests TFA implementation could trigger a 60% to 80% increase in cross-border SME sales in some economies and that implementation of the TFA in Africa could reduce the cost of trading internationally by over 16%. As one of three organisations comprising the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, ICC works with business, governments and international institutions like the World Customs Organization to advance the global customs and trade facilitation agenda.