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Member countries of UNCITRAL asked to contribute to formulation of International trade laws to enhance trade


By Hannah Dadzie

Deputy Minister for Justice and Deputy Attorney General, Diana Asonaba Dapaah, has called for active participation of countries that are members of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) to contribute to the formulation of international trade laws in Africa.

According to her, this will pave the way for a prosperous and just future for the continent in terms of trade relations.

Speaking at the second edition of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, UNCITRAL Days in Africa 2023, Madam Dapaah said as countries across the continent embrace UNCITRAL principles, there is a growing potential for increased collaboration and the empowerment of the youth with the requisite skills as Africa positions itself as an integral player in the international trade arena.

International trade and commerce are the lifeblood of any nation, given the interconnected nature of the global economy. Ghana has always believed in an open market economy that attracts investors to the country.

The second edition of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, UNCITRAL, was to create awareness of the instruments and the importance of legal harmonisation amongst the next generation of legal thinkers and potential policymakers.

Deputy Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Diana Asonaba Dapaah, said UNCITRAL plays a crucial role in shaping the legal framework that underpins cross-border transactions.

“The chosen theme, “Use of UNCITRAL Texts in Africa: Trends and Prospects,” underscores the importance of the UNCITRAL framework in shaping the landscape of international trade within the African region. The theme also resonates deeply with the evolving landscape of international trade law in our region. As we embark on this day of exploration and dialogue, it is an opportunity for us to contribute to a broader narrative, one that encompasses direct voices and perspectives,” Madam Asonaba Dapaah

Ambassador, Embassy and Permanent Mission of Ghana in Vienna, Philbert Abaka Johnson, called for the need to understand how to promote an enabling environment to facilitate trade in the fast-growing digital economy.

“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 developing 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,” Ambassador Abaka Johnson noted.

Philbert Abaka Johnson.

UNCITRAL Secretary Anna Joubin-Bret reiterated the need for all member states to actively participate and contribute to discussions to identify and tackle pressing global challenges in international trade laws.

“The role of national experts and lawyers in ensuring that legal issues being discussed in UNCITRAL align with local and regional priorities cannot be underestimated.

Anna Joubin-Bret.

Together, we can foster a deeper understanding of international trade law and create an environment where African nations can thrive in the global marketplace,” Madam Joubin-Bret indicated.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in collaboration with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), hosted the event.

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. It prepares legal texts in a number of key areas, such as international commercial dispute settlement, electronic commerce, insolvency, international payments, sale of goods, transport law, procurement, and infrastructure development.

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