User login

OHADA - Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa


OHADA – "Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires" (fr.).
OHADA in English - "Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa".
OHADA is a system of business laws and implementing institutions adopted by 17 West and Central African nations.
OHADA was created on October 17, 1993 in Port Louis, Mauritius. After 15 years, 17 October 2008, OHADA treaty was revised and updated with clarified procedural matters. Headquarters of OHADA is in Yaounde (Cameroon).

OHADA includes 17 countries:
- all members of the WAEMU (fr. – UEMOA) (8): 7 of them French-speaking - Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, and 1 Portuguese-speaking - Guinea-Bissau;
- all members of CEMAC (6): 5 of them French-speaking - Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, and 1 Spanish-speaking – Equatorial Guinea;
- as well as:
- Guinea,
- the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),
- the Comoros.

Working languages of the OHADA: French, English, Spanish, Portuguese.

OHADA legislation is purely commercial. The main purpose of its creation - the unification and updating of business law to provide legal and judicial security of economic activity in the member-states, strengthen investor confidence and promote international trade.

The primary goals of OHADA are: to provide opportunities for each member-state to use common rules adapted to the current economic conditions to facilitate the activities of enterprises; improvement of arbitration as an operational tool of commercial dispute resolution; improve the training of judges and their assistants; Promoting African Economic Community.

The judicial system of OHADA is built on a legal model of France, as almost all of its members are former colonies of France, except Guinea-Bissau (former Portuguese colony), Equatorial Guinea (a former colony of Spain) and the DRC (former colony of Belgium).

The structure of OHADA includes:
- Supranational court - Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (fr. - La Cour Commune de Justice et d'Arbitrage) -
- provides a unified and consistent interpretation of the laws of the member-States; serve as the court of cassation when it is necessary to verify the legitimacy and validity of the decisions of national courts of the member-states concerning the uniform law; controls the proper enforcement of arbitral performances;

- The Council of Ministers of Finance and Justice (fr. - Le Conseil des Ministres) - adopts unified acts;

- Permanent Secretariat (fr. - Secrétariat Permanent) - registers documents;

- Regional High Judicial School (fr. - L'Ecole Régionale Supérieure de la Magistrature) - prepares judges and supporting staff.

The basic document of OHADA is the Treaty on the harmonization of Business Law in Africa (fr. Traité Relatif à L'harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires), signed on 17 October 1993, and the Treaty on its revision (fr. Traité Portant Révision du Traité Relatif À L'harmonisation du Droit Des Affaires en Afrique) on October 17, 2008
The main documents concerning the rules of arbitration of OHADA is the Resolution about arbitration and about the General Juridical and Arbitral Court of 1996 (fr. Règlement N ° 01/2014 / Cm / Ohada Modifiant et Complétant le Règlement de Procédure de la Cour Commune de Justice et d'Arbitrage du 18 Avril 1996).

General rules for the member-states of OHADA come from Uniform Acts (fr. L'Acte Uniforme), adopted by the Council of Ministers of OHADA.

At this moment in OHADA 9 unified acts are adopted:
1. About general trade law (fr. Acte uniforme portant sur le droit commercial général). 307 articles. Adopted – 17 April 1997. Came into force - 1 January 1998. New edition – 15 December 2010. Came into force - 16 of May 2011 -
- defines the rules for entrepreneurs (physical and legal entities), their status; rules of accounting, registration of the trade register and credit; terms of the lease of commercial and industrial premises; functions of commercial funds; activities resellers; rules of buying and selling.

2. About the rights of trade associations and Groups of economic interests (GEI) (fr. - Acte uniforme relatif au droit des sociétés commerciales et du groupement d'intérêt économique - GIÉ). 920 articles. Adopted - 17 April 1997. Came into force - 1 January 1998. New edition – 30 of January 2014. Came into force on the 5 May 2014 -
- defines the rules for the operation of trade associations and GEI of all member-states, including: creation, responsibility of managers, relationship between partnerships, reorganization, merger, disintegration, contribution of capital, liquidation, advertising and others. Consistently defined various forms of partnerships for economic activities on the territory of the OHADA member-states by persons of any nationality: association with unlimited liability (general partnership) (fr. La Société en Nom Collectif - SNC), simple limited partnership (fr. La Société en Commandite Simple - SCS), limited company (fr. La Société à Responsabilité Limitée - SARL), joint Stock Company (fr. La Société Anonyme - SA), open Joint Stock company (fr. - La Société par Actions Simplifiée), partnership based on joint activity of participants (fr. Société en Participation), factual partnership (formed without proper registration) (fr. Société de Fait) and Groups of economic interests (fr. Groupement d'intérêt économique - GIÉ). Branch, belonging to a foreign individual or juridical person, can operate in that form during two years, on the expiry of this term it must be passed to one of the local associations, except the cases of official exemption from it.

3. About guarantee rights (fr. - Acte uniforme portant organisation des sûretés). 228 articles. Adopted - 17 April 1997. Came into force - 1 January 1998. New edition – 15 April 2010. Came into force - 16 May 2011 –
- provides legal guarantees provided to the creditor to enforce the obligations of the debtor in front of him, and divides it into three types: private enforcement of obligations (mortgage, guarantee letter); chattel mortgage as a way to ensure commitment; guaranteeing by real estate, mortgage.

4. About arrangement of simplified procedures for debt collection and methods of decisions’ execution on debts’ compensation (fr. Acte uniforme portant organisation des procédures simplifiées de recouvrement et des voies d'exécution). 338 articles. Adopted - 10 April 1998. Came into force - 10 July 1998 -
- describes the mechanism of debt collection, including the confiscation of property. Provided a significant expansion of the creditor rights.

5. About arrangement of collective procedures of verification of credits to eliminate debt (fr. Acte uniforme portant organisation des procédures collectives d'apurement du passif). 258 articles. Adopted – 10 April 1998. Came into force – 1 January 1999 -
- describes procedures of accounts’ reconciliation and penalties in relation to the debtor, including bankruptcy.

6. About arbitration law (fr. Acte uniforme relatif au droit de l'arbitrage). 36 articles. Adopted – 11 March 1999. Came into force – 11 June 1999 -
- formulates the principles of legal regulation of dispute resolution by arbitration and its stages: arbitration agreement, the appointment of judges to the Court of Arbitration, Litigation, which should be completed by the arbitral decision. This solution must be ensured by execution. Also this Act defines three ways to appeal judicial decisions: a petition for annulment of the judicial decision, the petition for review of the judgment and removal, claimed by a third party.

7. About arrangement and harmonization of accounting of companies operating on the territory of member-states of OHADA (fr. Acte uniforme portant organisation et harmonisation des comptabilités des entreprises). 113 articles. Adopted - 22 February 2000. Came into force - 1 January 2001 for the individual accounts of individual or juridical person and 1 January 2002 - for the consolidated and combined accounts -
- defines the principles of account arrangement in enterprises operating on the territory of member-states of OHADA, the rules of account management and presentation of the financial condition and financial information. The annex to this act representes: OHADA accounting system, a sample chart of accounts, the order of the accounts. West African accounting system SYSCOA (fr. Le Système Comptable Ouest Africain) of WAEMU (UEMOA) does not contradicts the rules of OHADA, and vice versa – completes this Act.

8. About contracts for transportation of goods by land (fr. Acte uniforme relatif aux contrats de transport de marchandises par route). 31 Article. Adopted – 22 March 2003. Came into force - 1 January 2004 -
- applies to all contracts for transportation of goods by land, if point of loading or unloading is situated on the territory of member-states of OHADA. Defines rights, duties and responsibilities of the parties. This Act applies regardless of residence and nationality of the contract for transportation parties.

9. About the right of cooperative companies (fr. - Acte uniforme relatif au droit des societes cooperatives). 397 articles. Adopted – 15 December 2010. Came into force - 15 May 2011 -
- this act completed the Unified act about rights of trade associations and GEI. Determines status of cooperative companies, conditions of their functioning and implementation of control over their activities, the rules of accounting and others.

In addition to the adopted unified acts in future projects of OHADA is the adoption of the Uniform Act on the contracts (fr. Acte uniforme sur le Droit des contrats), the Uniform Act on labor law (fr. Acte uniforme relatif au Droit du Travail) and the Uniform Act about consumers’ rights (fr. Acte uniforme sur le droit de la vente aux consommateurs).