Past Judicial Reform and the CDLP’s Work in Sub Saharan AfricaPosted by: administrator | Posted on: April 16, 2017
The commercial Law Development Program in the United States has spent a lot of time working with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to implement judicial reforms. The relationship began in 1999 as a part of the African Trade and Investment Program, which was an initiative managed under the USAID program.
The CLDP has worked with many west-Africa dountries to implement reforms in Alternative Dispute Resolution as well as judicial case management, and has explored issues of ethics, intellectual property rights and investment codes. The long term goal has always been to implement efficient and effective ethical justice systems, with legal and regulatory systems that can benefit everyone, regardless of their income. The CLDP has helped Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Niger, Gabon, Guinea, Nigeria, Mali, Togo and Senegal, and has worked with numerous organisations, including the Organization of the Harmonization of Business Laws in Africa, as well as the African Development Bank.
There have been several programs launched over the last 18 years, with one of the most interesting being the African Growth Opportunity Act, which has helped numerous businesses in the region. The CLDP helped to publicise the act, and also worked with the Southern African Development Community, to develop the infrastructure required for the region to comply with the WTO’s requirements in terms of the Intellectual Property Rights agreement ” in particular the areas of the agreement relating to trade.
They have also worked with countries in the region to improve intellectual property protection in general. Beginning in 2007, the CLDP worked with several individual countries, as well as the SADC, the East African Community and the Economic Community of West African States, to help with IP outreach, legislation, enforcement and administration.
Justice and law enforcement in Africa varies from country to country, and there are reforms taking place in every area ” not just intellectual property law but also criminal justice and civil litigation. Providing justice for all is a complex and expensive undertaking, and over the last 25 years Sub-Saharan African countries have accessed numerous pots of money from banks and private companies as well as from European Development Funds. They have worked with U.S. Federal Court Judges and with prosecutors to improve their own legislation, and spoken to police departments and government departments to learn about performance incentives, legislation and administrative systems that can help to streamline complex areas of law.
There is still a long way to go to improve areas of project finance, government ethics and regulatory systems in many parts of the region, but most governments are committed to a system of reform that will see them up to date and working smoothly. Things like Alternative Dispute Resolution systems take a lot of the burden off traditional court hearings, and offer a simple way of resolving a lot of cases, while keeping everyone on an equal footing and helping to make the law transparent and consistent for everyone.