Commercial arbitration in Mozambique needs deep and urgent reforms

Arbitragem comercial em Moçambique carece de reformas profundas e urgentes

The state of arbitration in Mozambique is still incipient and underdeveloped, despite the country having a legal regime on the matter, approved by Law 11/99 of July 9, that is, approximately 24 years ago, considers Gilberto Correia, lawyer and president of the Mozambique Internationalization Committee of the Commercial Arbitration Center (CIM CAC).

For the lawyer and arbitrator, who was speaking this Tuesday, May 30, in the city of Maputo, at the opening ceremony of the first International Arbitration Conference, the Arbitration Law already shows signs of being outdated and urgently needs reforms, not only in the sense of incorporating amendments from 2006 of the UNCITRAL Model Law, but also to include other options of adequacy to the materialization needs, felt in the field of internal as well as international arbitration.

"The existence of a functional and evolved commercial arbitration system in Mozambique would be an influential factor in improving the business environment and would stimulate the emergence of more and better domestic and foreign investment, contributing significantly and permanently to economic growth," said the president of the CIM CAC, for whom it is unquestionable that the country needs more and better arbitration, which is crucial for the growth of the economy.

However, and despite these observations, Gilberto Correia is of the opinion that Mozambique can be considered "arbitration-friendly", due to the fact that it has ratified the important Washington and New York conventions, in 1993 and 1998, respectively, as well as because it is making a huge effort to consolidate the means of dispute resolution, such as labor mediation.

The use of arbitration as an out-of-state means to solve commercial conflicts, he added, brings several advantages to companies and businessmen, such as the speed in solving disputes, flexibility, greater expertise in the analysis and decision of the merits of the case, confidentiality, and enforceability, since arbitration awards have the same enforceable value as a court judgment, among others.

He also mentioned that it is undeniable that Mozambique needs a dynamic, efficient and effective commercial arbitration in order to improve the business environment, which will have as a direct consequence the attraction of more and better investment to the economy.

Present at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs, Helena Kida, stressed the importance of arbitration, and said that the government has been promoting initiatives aimed at introducing institutions that act in this area, such as the recent authorization for the creation of the Mozambican Arbitration Association, "which we hope will contribute, along with other institutions, to the dynamization of the means of dispute resolution.

"The topic of arbitration has always been at the center of the Government's attention, often working as a way to attract investment," stressed Helena Kida, who pointed to the Investment Law Revision Bill, the Public-Private Partnerships Law, the State Business Sector Law, the Labor Law, and the Administrative Litigation Process Law as paradigmatic examples of the relevance the Executive attributes to arbitration.

In another development, the governor referred to the importance of holding, for the first time, the International Arbitration Conference, which, in her opinion, allows the private sector's alignment with the Government to be gauged, thus creating a platform for constant interaction that will help in the dynamization and massification of alternative means of dispute resolution.

It is important to highlight that the event aimed to train and inform interested parties about the benefits, vicissitudes and specific elements of commercial arbitration, as well as to contribute to the dynamization and improvement of the quality and efficiency of commercial arbitration in Mozambique.

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