Fifteen countries in Africa have joined forces to offer a single
business law environment, in order to facilitate worldwide trade
with businesses . OHADA - the Organization for the Harmonization of
Business Law in Africa - has been working since 1993 to create a
unified set of laws and rules. These were issued in 1998 and 1999
and are immediately applicable.
Trade development success story
The OHADA legislation is the biggest legal reform that western
Africa has undertaken. It is also unique in the world. This major
achievement provides 15 countries with identical business laws,
from commercial and company laws to labour, sales and transport
laws. This is a success story for the western African business
community to build upon and can serve as a model for other
These new laws must now reach those who conduct trade in the
region. African entrepreneurs, lawyers and foreign investors need
access to these legal texts and forms in order to register
companies and conduct business in the region.
An ITC partnership
OHADA laws and rules are now available on CD-ROM in French, with
some parts translated into English, Spanish and Portuguese. They
are also available on the Juris International web site (http://www.jurisint.org). The
OHADA CD-ROM and web site were co-developed by the OHADA
Secretariat and Juris International, a partnership between ITC, the
University of Montreal and the University of Nancy, with support
from the Fonds Francophonie des Inforoutes.
Fifteen countries have ratified the OHADA treaty as of 1
November 1999: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African
Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Equatorial
Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. Guinea is
well advanced in the ratification process and likely to become the
sixteenth country to ratify the treaty.
OHADA's purpose is to create a unified legal framework among
African countries; a single set of business rules; a common court
system for interpreting these laws and rules; and a regional
training institute for magistrates.
Juris International is a trilingual (English, French, Spanish)
collection of essential information on business law, available on
the Internet. Juris International cooperates with business law
associations and organizations in over 100 countries. Juris
International addresses the lack of practical international trade
law information by helping business lawyers find affordable legal
information for drawing up international contracts and
strengthening their position when negotiating internationally.
For more information, contact: Permanent Secretariat of
OHADA, P.O. Box 10071, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Tel./Fax: 237 21 67
To order the CD-ROM, contact Jean-François Bourque, ITC
Senior Adviser on Legal Aspects of Foreign Trade, at email@example.com
The information is also available on the Juris International
web site at http://www.juris.int.org