Created by treaty signed on 17 October 1993 in Port-Louis (Mauritius), OHADA is a pan-African organisation the purpose of which is to promote regional integration and economic growth and to ensure a secure legal environment through the harmonisation of business law in the OHADA region. To achieve this end, OHADA has promulgated a number of Uniform Laws which, upon a member state’s adhesion, are directly applicable in such state, overriding any local or national laws, whether promulgated prior or subsequent to such adhesion.
OHADA already counts among its member states 16 sub-Saharan African jurisdictions: Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo (Republic), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has also announced its intention to adhere to OHADA.
Between 1997 and 2003, the Council of Ministers of the OHADA member states approved the adoption of Uniform Laws in the following areas:
- General Commercial Law (1997)
- Commercial Companies and Economic Interest Groups (1997)
- Security Interests (1998)
- Simplified Recovery Procedures and Enforcement Measures (1998)
- Insolvency Proceedings (1998)
- Arbitration Law (1999)
- Accounting Law (2000)
- Contracts for the Carriage of Goods by Road (2003).1
- Certain areas of business law are not covered by OHADA-wide uniform laws, such as administrative law, forestry and mining law, insurance law and taxation and social security law. A draft of a uniform OHADA law on contracts prepared in concert with Unidroit has not been promulgated. Several OHADA member states are also members of West or Central African monetary unions and are subject to common legislation on exchange controls and to the monetary policy promulgated by regional central banks.