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The construction of the OHADA Zone
The Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) was created by the Treaty of Port Louis of October 17th, 1993 and modified by the Treaty of Quebec of October 17th, 2008 and aims to create a legally integrated space between States which are member of it.
Its objective is to guarantee legal and judicial security between its parties, which contributes to the growth of trade and investments at the supra-national level.
To date, the OHADA zone includes 17 countries, has enacted 10 Uniform Acts and continues to evolve. Indeed, in accordance with article 53 of the Treaty, membership of OHADA is open to all member states of the African Union, as well as to any non member State of the African Union, invited to attend by mutual agreement of all the other States. From a substantive point of view, an Uniform Act on Labour Law has been drafted.
The organs of the OHADA Zone
OHADA has an institutional system structured around the bodies set up in the founding Treaty:
- The Conference of Heads of State and Government: supreme body of OHADA, it meets when necessary and define the general guidelines that must be followed in order to achieve the harmonisation of business law in Africa;
- The council of Ministers: deliberative body made up of the Ministers in charge of Justice, keepers of the seals and Ministers in charge of Finance in every member state. It adopts the Uniform Acts, Regulations and Decisions;
- The Permanent Secretary: executive body of the OHADA, it is headquartered in Yaounde,Cameroon. It ensures the general coordination of the functioning of the institutions and of the harmonisation process, prepares drafts, coordinates and organises the session of the Council of Ministers;
- The Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (CCJA): judicial body headquartered in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. It has been working since 2001 and is in charge of ensuring and construing the Uniform Acts in last resort. The Court also has advisory powers and can act as an arbitrator;
- The Regional Advanced School of Magistracy (ERSUMA): based in Porto Novo, Benin, ERSUMA is a training, development, documentation and research centre in business law.