The Founder of the Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu, has deepened the conversation on the need for the rule of law for economic growth and development in Africa.
He remarked on this at the 7th International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Africa Conference on International Arbitration, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the International Court of Arbitration held in Lagos.
According to Elumelu, “We need to handle adjudications and judgments quickly because if you are going to invest in an environment, critical criteria to consider is the practice of the rule of law in that country. If there is a business dispute, how do you resolve it? It is so critical.”
Elumelu added that there is an emerging growth trend in technology, manufacturing, financial services and payments for doing business in Africa.
While underscoring the need to democratise wealth creation in the continent, Elumelu implored Africa to address critical soft and hard infrastructural gaps for the growth of her economy.
On his part, the Secretary-General of ICC, John Denton, said ICC would deploy all tools necessary to achieve it.
Continuing, he said the institution would help drive economic development in regions while also encouraging young entrepreneurs.
He argued that the institution could help bring justice to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and people in Africa who cannot access justice due to the cost.
He said, “If we can provide access to private justice throughout the world, we can create additional economic development, and we can give life to that promise.”
Denton outlined that he made a decision that the voice of Africa would flow through the ICC and help regenerate the institution.
“We didn’t have enough voices from the global South, and I decided that in my time, the dominant voices in ICC would come from there. We now have ICC representation in over 170 countries, and over 70 per cent of those countries are in the global South,” he said.
Speaking also, the Chairperson of ICC Nigeria, Commission on Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Dorothy Ufot (SAN), appealed to the international community to make Nigeria the seat of arbitration.
She said: “We want African arbitrators appointed to huge arbitration cases. We also want Nigeria and Africa to be the seat and venue of arbitration proceedings.”