A virile judiciary key to Africa’s growth, say World Bank, African Court
Director, Governance Global Practice of the World Bank, Mr. Hassane Cisse, who made the call during the African Judicial Dialogue in Arusha, Tanzania, lamented the lengthy period in resolving legal disputes arising from business transactions.
He said such protracted cases discourage foreign investments in the continent and called for the enthronement of a quicker justice system that will resolve matters expeditiously.
In an electronic statement released yesterday by the Head of Media and Information Unit of the African Court of Human and Peoples Rights, Sukdhev Chatbar, Cisse said “timely functioning of an effective judiciary also boosts the private sector by upholding property rights and enforcement of contracts. It helps entrepreneurs and businesses lower their transaction costs and manage their operating risks.
“Thus, strengthening African justice systems is a key priority for building investor confidence, promoting businesses that can create much needed jobs, and boosting the continent’s economies”, he stated.
He noted that the World Bank Doing Business Report for 2015 Showed that “the average time to enforce a commercial contract in Sub-Sahara Africa is very long – 653 days, compared to, for example, 150 days in Singapore.
The enforcement costs are also very high, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, about 45 percent of the value of the claim is lost in the enforcement of commercial court decisions, as compared to about 30 percent in Latin America and South Asia.”
Cisse lamented the lack of improvement in the judicial system in Africa in recent years and blamed it on poor premium placed on the sector.
“The 2015 World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) Africa Report finds that the quality of the legal and judicial systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a score of 2.7 out of 6, has remained stagnant in recent years, due in part to lack of consistent attention and a shortage if budgetary resources”, he stated.
He said African “judiciaries can address this gap in justice and the rule of law by exercising their leadership role in society and by strengthening their own performance.”
He, therefore, commended the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights for organising the African Judicial Dialogue and the subsequent setting up of a knowledge and experience sharing network to provide a supportive structure.