Experts have restated the positive impact of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by promoting business opportunities in Nigeria. This was indicated at the recent International Market Place Conference that held in London.
The conference, organised by the Law Society, attracted speakers and delegates from all corners of the world, was themed ‘Innovation, Opportunities and Challenges in Emerging markets,’ and highlighted the business opportunities that exist for firms of all sizes in providing legal services in commercial transactions and projects in, and between, emerging markets.
Dr. Augusto Lopez-Claros, World Bank Director of Global Indicators and Analysis, who gave a keynote address, put into perspective the contrast between developed countries, which are growing slowly, and some poorer countries that are developing fast.
“Even with annual growth of 6%, compared with less than 2% for mature economies, it will be 2116 before the people of poorer countries earn the same as us,” he said. He also reminded delegates that ‘economic miracle’ China is still ranked 100 out of the world’s 190 countries in terms of income per capita.
While delivering an address at the event, Mr. Yemi Candide-Johnson (SAN), a Director of the Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA), spoke about the business opportunities and challenges within Nigeria and the role of ADR in promoting FDI.
Reiterating the vast opportunities available to investors in Nigeria, he pointed out the fact that Nigeria isAfrica’s most populous country with over 150 million people and is currently one of the world’s 25 fastest growing economies. This according to him, goes to show why “commercial activities, including cross-border transactions, within the region need arbitration as it is faster and more efficient, making it imperative for businesses to include arbitration clauses in their contractual agreements.”
“FDI will be encouraged when investors know that there is the possibility of quickly resolving disputes and the LCA stands to provide parties with a flexible and neutral setting for dispute solution,” Candide-Johnson said.
Megha Joshi, Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA), also spoke about the role of LCA in the provision of infrastructure and dispute resolution mechanisms. She reiterated the necessity for efficient dispute resolution mechanisms to be in place in developing countries and the need for businesses to embrace arbitration, emphasizing how it enhances foreign direct investment.
“LCA represents the private sector taking initiative to enhance infrastructure and provide dispute resolution services to help businesses operate easily. Foreign investment between developing and developed markets like Nigeria necessitated the formation of the LCA as an efficient dispute resolution mechanism, especially with the rising profile of Lagos as Africa’s Big Apple.”
“It is an increasingly accepted fact that current economic trends – the need for foreign investment and bilateral trade between developing and developed markets – has underlined the necessity for efficient dispute resolution mechanisms to be in place in developing countries, and to embrace arbitration if their prospects of attracting foreign investment are to be enhanced,” Joshi opined.
The conference examined advancements in legal reform and the ADR industry, trends in intra-emerging market trade and investment, profiling some of the more interesting and innovative ways in which legal practitioners have been involved in transactions in and between emerging markets, as well as highlighting the opportunities to collaborate and build partnerships with overseas law firms.