On 13 June 2012, Mauritius made a successful bid to host the 2016 Congress of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), which will see this biennial gathering of the world’s pre-eminent arbitration practitioners held, for the first time in its 50-year history, in Africa.
The First African ICCA Congress
An active member of the African Group at the UN, Mauritius has friendly relations with other African states. Mauritius has been a member of the African Union (AU) since 1968, and its relations with its African neighbours are strong for historical, cultural and commercial reasons.
Mauritius is a member of the South African Development Community (SADC) which groups 12 countries of Southern Africa, viz. Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The SADC community covers an area of 9.9 million km2 and has a potential market size of 255 million people.
Mauritius is also an active member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). This free trade area consists of Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The economic block which extends over an area of 8.3 million km2 represents a market of more than 300 million people.
Mauritius is a member of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) which comprises of five countries of the South-West Indian Ocean region namely Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, France on behalf of Reunion, and Seychelles.
Mauritius is a major international player on the continent and plays an integral part in the continent‘s efforts aims to develop and build capacity. Mauritius‘ aim to develop as a regional hub for international arbitration is part and parcel of these efforts aimed at strengthening the rule of law, increasing the acceptance of international arbitration as a legitimate, universal and peaceful means for the resolution of commercial and investment disputes, and enhancing the attractiveness of Africa to inward capital flows. By holding its 2016 Congress on the Island, ICCA would be coming to Africa for the very first time, and would significantly bolster the visibility and legitimacy of this project, and benefit the African continent as a whole.