Thursday 05, October 2017 by Jessica Combes

Greater security for UAE commodity and finance trade with Africa


The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts have brought additional certainty to UAE companies operating in southern Africa by signing a cooperation agreement covering contract enforcement with the High Court of Zambia. 

Bordered by eight other countries and a member of both the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Zambia is an important regional trade hub. According to MIT Economic Complexity Index Data, Zambia is the UAE’s fourth largest source of imports from Africa. These exports, mostly in the form of raw materials, have grown rapidly in recent years, while the UAE is a significant source of foreign direct investment and finance into Zambia, intensifying the need for courts systems in the two countries to collaborate on areas such as contract enforcement. 

The agreement signed by DIFC Courts Chief Justice Michael Hwang and High Court of Zambia Chief Justice Irene C. Mambilima in Dubai, clarifies the procedures for the mutual recognition and enforcement of money judgments between the two courts. 

“Zambia is an emerging gateway to southern Africa for UAE businesses, while imports from the country have increased markedly in recent years. Underpinning both trends are an increasing number of contracts, of which, inevitably, some will result in disputes. This agreement gives additional confidence to businesses operating in both the UAE and Zambia that a breach of contract will be enforced. It also reaffirms the DIFC Courts’ position as one of the world’s most connected judiciaries,” said Hwang. 

A practical guide for the international business community, the Memorandum of Guidance (MoG) enables both courts to outline what will happen when a money judgement  is transferred from one jurisdiction to another. This is the second such agreement signed by the DIFC Courts with an African judiciary, following a 2014 memorandum with the High Court of Kenya (Commercial and Admiralty Division). 

“The world is now a global village with trade and commerce thriving across borders. An effective and expedient dispute resolution mechanism has to take into account this reality,” said Mambilima.

The DIFC Courts have signed enforcement agreements with many of the UAE’s key trading partners, including the Federal Court of Australia, Commercial Court of England and Wales, High Court of Kenya (Commercial and Admiralty Division), Supreme Court of Korea, Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Federal Court of Malaysia, Supreme Court of Singapore, New South Wales Supreme Court, and United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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