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Rwanda Signs Singapore Convention On Mediation

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Rwanda has signed the UN Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation.

The Convention was signed by Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Valentine Rugwabiza on Tuesday Morning in New York City.

The Convention facilitates international trade by promoting mediation as an alternative and enforceable method of resolving disputes.

In December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted, by consensus, the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, recommended that the Convention be known as the “Singapore Convention on Mediation” (the “Singapore Convention” or “Convention”), and authorised the signing ceremony of the Convention to be held in Singapore on
7 August 2019.

The Singapore Convention will facilitate international trade and commerce by enabling disputing parties to easily enforce and invoke settlement agreements across borders.

Businesses will benefit from mediation as an additional dispute resolution option to litigation and arbitration in settling cross-border disputes.

What is the Singapore Convention on Mediation?

A uniform and efficient framework for international settlement agreements resulting from mediation

The Singapore Convention applies to international settlement agreements resulting from mediation, concluded by parties to resolve a commercial dispute.

It provides an efficient and harmonised framework for the enforcement of international settlement agreements resulting from mediation and for allowing parties to invoke such agreements.

The Singapore Convention has been designed to become an essential instrument in the facilitation of international trade and in the promotion of mediation as an alternative and effective method of resolving trade disputes.

It ensures that a settlement reached by parties becomes binding and enforceable in accordance with a simplified and streamlined procedure.

It thereby contributes to strengthening access to justice and the rule of law.

Mediation is known for improving efficiency of dispute resolution and flexibility.

The mediator’s role is not to adjudicate, but rather to facilitate discussions between disputing parties to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.

The mediation process is more flexible, and in many instances, more cost and time efficient than other dispute resolution processes such as litigation and arbitration.

Until the introduction of the Singapore Convention however, an often-cited challenge to the use of mediation was the lack of an efficient and harmonised framework for cross-border enforcement of settlement agreements resulting from mediation.

It was in response to this need that the Singapore Convention was developed and adopted by the United Nations.

The Convention contributes to the development of a mature, rule-based global commercial system.

The primary goals of the Convention are to:

  • facilitate international trade; and
  • promote the use of mediation for the resolution of cross-border commercial disputes.

Key Features

The Convention applies to international commercial settlement agreements resulting from mediation.

  • It does not apply to settlement agreements that are enforceable as a judgment or as an arbitral award.
  • It also does not apply to settlement agreements concluded for personal, family or household purposes , or relating to family, inheritance or employment law.

The courts of a Party to the Convention are expected to handle applications:

  • To enforce a settlement agreement in accordance with its rules of procedure and under the conditions laid down in the Convention.
  • To allow a party to invoke the settlement agreement in accordance with its rules of procedure and under the conditions laid down in the Convention, in order to prove that the matter was already resolved by the settlement agreement.

The courts of a Party to the Convention may refuse to grant relief on the grounds laid down in the Convention, including:

  • If a party to the settlement agreement was under incapacity.
  • If the settlement agreement is not binding, null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed under the law which it is subjected to.
  • If there was a serious breach by the conciliator of standards applicable to the conciliator, without which breach that party would not have entered into the settlement agreement.
  • If granting relief would be contrary to the public policy of that Party.

Signing of the Convention

UNCITRAL has requested that governments inform Ms Anna Joubin-Bret, Secretary of UNCITRAL at uncitral@un.org, of the delegation that will represent it at the signing ceremony and which delegation member will sign the Convention.

When contacting the UNCITRAL Secretariat, governments may wish to quote the note verbale from the UNCITRAL Secretariat dated 7 January 2019 (reference: LA/TL 133(3) – CU 2019/1/OLA/ITLD).

 

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Business

DRC Opposition Protests Against Phone Tax

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Martin Fayulu, DRCs leader of opposition coalition LAMUKA has called upon all citizens to take to the streets and demand for the abolition of a controversial mobile phone tax.

In June 2020, the DRC government set up – through the ICT, Post and Telecoms Ministry – a CEIR system (Central Equipment Identification Register), with the aim to fight fake devices and the theft of mobile devices.

However, Telephony mobile users claim the Mobile Device Registry (RAM), a controversial new tax is robbing them of their units and making them poorer.

In terms of RAM, mobile operators are cutting a big chunk of units monthly from their customers’ mobile devices, which many users believe is too high and unnecessary.

“We are calling for the immediate withdrawal of RAM. Because it’s theft, a scam. That no one is demobilized. Let’s march and denounce it because it is outright  theft. Once withdrawn, all money collected must be returned, ”said Martin Fayulu.

During a meeting this Saturday, October 16, 2021 in Kinshasa, Martin Fayulu called for the outright abolition of this fee.

During the rally, the leader of Lamuka pinpointed other topical issues, including the issue of appointing the leaders of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

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Tanzania’s Economy Records 4.3% Expansion in 2nd Quarter

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Tanzania’s economic outlook seems very impressive as the country registered a 4.3% expansion between April and June according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Compared to the country’s economic performance in the same period last year, there has been a 0.3% upward expansion.

Briefing the media on Friday, Daniel Masolwa NBS Director of Economics Statistics, said, “Real GDP increased to Shs 33.4trillion from Shs 32trillion in the corresponding period in 2020, an equivalent to a 4.3% growth,” he said.

During the second Quarter of 2020, Tanzania’s economy registered the lowest growth rate of 4.0% since 2017 mainly due to the devastating effects of Covid-19 pandemic following the introduction of lockdowns and many countries to mitigate spread of this pandemic.

However, Masolwa tried to cool down any skepticism saying, the annual economic growth in 2021 is projected at a 5.0% rate. In terms of economic activities, he  said, during the period under review, information and communication attained the highest growth of 12.3%, followed by electricity generation at 12.1%.

Meanwhile, other services include arts and entertainment and households as employers (10.8%), accommodation and food services (10.1%), water (8.4%), and mining and quarrying (7.3%).

According to Masolwa, the expansion of economy by 4.3% during the second Quarter of 2021 was spearheaded by key drivers of growth which include Agriculture (13%), transport and storage (8.4%), trade and maintenance (8.1%), manufacturing (7.6%) and construction (7.1%).

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Siemens To Invest In Rwanda’s Vaccine Production

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In 2018, Siemens announced it was considering investing in the Rwandan market and that it had mapped out areas of interest.

This German multinational is the largest industrial manufacturing company across Europe. It also has departments dedicated to investing in African regions.

Four years later, Sabine Dall’Omo the Siemens CEO of Southern and Eastern Africa, on Monday October 10, 2021 led a delegation to Rwanda to discuss potential partnership and investment opportunities.

According to Rwanda Development Board, the Siemens team held discussions with government officials and RDB staff.

This contact between Rwanda and Siemens comes at a time the East African country is mobilising for establishment of a standard Guage railway linking the country to the neighboring countries of Tanzania and Uganda.

Rwanda also has an ambitious futuristic project of introducing Unmanned aerial cable car system in the capital Kigali. For Siemens this could be an opportunity worth tapping into owing to its experience in Automation and Metro Projects.

Another opportunity on offer is enery generation, and transmission. Rwanda needs targets to increase its generation capacity to 556MW by 2024 from the current 235.6MW. The current access to electricity is at 66% but the country’s target is 100% in 2024. Such ambitious targets require courting industry experts like Siemens.

Siemens has revealed that some of its activities coming up in Rwanda include vaccine production and technology transfer for Bugesera International Airport.

In January 2018, Siemens was in Rwanda and had conducted an investment exploration of the opportunities and viability of the market and had announced that they were looking to have deliberations with the government seeking a commitment on working together.

However, Siemens like most european firms pursue investiment models that make it expensive for host countries yet China, India and other asian firms could offer the same at affordable costs.

“Our main focus as a firm is delivering quality as opposed to be being cheap and reducing cost,” said Andre Bouffioux, the Chief Executive of Siemens for Belgium, and West and Central Africa.

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