Ghana’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to Austria and the United Nations Offices in Vienna, Mr Philbert Abaka Johnson, has called on African countries to raise awareness on international trade law within the remit of the United Nations Commission of International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) to ensure competitiveness in the global economic system.
He noted that for Ghana and other African countries to take full advantage of UNCITRAL, there must be an understanding of the Commission’s rules and regulations which would enable African countries to formulate effective policies and strategies that would serve their interest.
Mr Johnson made the call during the second edition of the UNCITRAL Days in Africa 2023 in Accra by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in collaboration with UNCITRAL under the theme “The Use of UNCITRAL Texts in Africa, Trends and Prospects.”
He stated, “When you go to Vienna, where the Commission discusses international commercial and trade law, you find out that many Africans are not attaining. The laws are crafted based on the experiences and interests of developed countries and they come to hurt us.
“They hurt us because we do not understand the processes and the laws themselves and when we are having contracts with investors and others, we make errors and eventually we pay huge judgement debts. And so, if we have a better understanding of rules and apply them, we will be avoiding these costs.”
The Deputy Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Madam Diana Asonaba Dapaah, noted that the theme for the event underscored the importance of the UNCITRAL framework in shaping the landscape of international trade in Africa.
She indicated that the use of UNCITRAL texts in Africa represents a dynamic trend in the continent’s legal landscape, reflecting a concerted effort towards harmonising and modernising commercial laws.
She stated that Ghana has adopted UNCITRAL texts, particularly in the areas of arbitration and commercial law, to create a more favourable business environment.
“This reflects Ghana’s commitment to aligning its legal system with global standards, attracting foreign investment and facilitating cross-border transactions,” she added.
On her part, the Secretary of UNCITRAL, Madam Anna Joubin-Bret, stated that the aim of celebrating the UNCITRAL days in Africa is to promote awareness, study and discuss UNCITRAL texts and topics within the community of young legal scholars and students, that represent the next generation of legal thinkers and policymakers who would hopefully be involved in the work of UNCITRAL in the future.
Patience Anaadem, ISD