A Comparative Analysis of Ohada's Uniform Business Laws in West Africa: A French Civilian Structure's Impact on Economic Development

7 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2004

Date Written: November 15, 2004

Abstract

Sixteen West African, mostly francophone countries have entered into a treaty pursuant to which they have adopted uniform business laws. The treaty also provides a mechanism for adopting new uniform business laws and modifying existing ones, and for a single judicial interpretation of these laws across the treaty territory. The articulated purpose is to attract foreign investment. All these uniform business laws, the first of which came into effect in 1998, reflect a common heritage with the French legal system.

Contrary to earlier literature, recent comparative studies assert that the civil-law system's business laws, and in particular business laws based on the French legal system, are indeed compatible with economic development. Interviews with legal professionals in the region suggest that local consumers of the new, uniform business laws are optimistic about the laws' contribution to both foreign and domestic investment in the region. Although it is too early to confirm the outcome, these uniform laws have already begun to be change the discussion. There is evidence that the sophistication of the new uniform business laws, together with the supranational legislature and judicial system can facilitate commerce by increasing predictability and transparency.

Keywords: business law, Africa, uniform law

JEL Classification: K22

Suggested Citation

Dickerson, Claire Moore, A Comparative Analysis of Ohada's Uniform Business Laws in West Africa: A French Civilian Structure's Impact on Economic Development (November 15, 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=630623 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.630623

Claire Moore Dickerson (Contact Author)

Tulane University - Law School ( email )

6329 Freret Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

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