Negotiating better international contracts, agreements for Africa

Addis Ababa, 26 November 2015 (ECA) - African states often receive an unfair deal when negotiating contracts and agreements with international companies or partners. This is especially true for the natural resources sector, which, according to the Economic Commission for Africa, is prone to the generation of illicit financial outflows through secret and poorly negotiated contracts.

To assist African states obtain skills required to negotiate international contracts, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is launching a series of annual workshops on international economic agreements; the first of which will be held in Dakar, from 01 to 4 December 2015.

The Dakar workshop titled ‘Building Africa’s negotiating capacity for improved terms of engagement with the rest of the world’  aims to contribute towards filling the skills gaps in contract negotiation and strengthen the capacity of African governments and institutions to negotiate international contracts and agreements that serve national and continental interests.

The natural resources sector is not the only area with intricate and highly technical contract negotiations. The workshops will also therefore focus on skills needed to negotiate deals on investments, trade, financial instruments and taxation.

Despite noted progress in economic negotiations on multiple fronts within Africa, for example the launch of the Continental Free Trade Agreement, the continent still lacks skills to negotiate highly technical and legally biding agreements.

This institutional capacity deficit has been recognized for a long time. ECA will train participants to have a comprehensive understanding of the substantive and procedural obligations contained in these legally binding instruments. The delegates will learn to master the skills, techniques, processes and dynamics required to put the instruments together.

ECA notes that it wants delegates to understand that the world of international economic agreements is shaped by fast-moving policy and a regulatory landscape thus requiring a constant adjustment of strategies and priorities.

Delegates will leave the workshop with improved negotiation skills coupled with a better understanding of national, regional and international legal frameworks.

The proposed annual economic negotiation workshops are intended to provide regular opportunities for lead national negotiators from all African countries to explore options and strategies mainly in trade, investment, taxation and financial instruments, and natural resources contracts.

Issued by:

ECA External Communications and Media Relations Section
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826