Angola becomes the 157th State Party to the New York Convention
On 4 June 2017, Angola became the 157th contracting State to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention).
The New York Convention was endorsed domestically on 12 August 2016 after publication of the resolution (Resolution No 38/2016) in the country’s official journal by which the government of Angola ratified the New York Convention. Angola still had to file its instruments of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations (which was done on 6 March 2017) and the New York Convention entered into force 90 days after the deposit of those documents (i.e. 4 June 2017).
The New York Convention is a key instrument in the field of international arbitration. Its objectives are twofold: First, it requires courts of a contracting state to give effect to private agreements to arbitrate; and second, it facilitates the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards rendered outside the recognition or enforcement forum.
The ratification of the New York Convention by Angola therefore sends two positive signals: first, it highlights that the country is making a clear effort towards improving its legal environment; second, it offers parties to arbitral proceedings seated outside Angola the guarantee that they will be able to seek the recognition and enforcement of their award in Angola.
In this regard, the ratification of the New York Convention by Angola is particularly welcome for foreign investors. Indeed, this ratification will diminish the legal uncertainties and legal risks associated with their Angola-related investments by allowing them to litigate their Angola-related disputes before independent arbitrators in a foreign seat (potentially applying a foreign law). Meanwhile, if need be, the resulting award will still be subject to recognition and enforcement in Angola.
Before Angola, the last country to become a party to the New York Convention was the Principality of Andorra. Angola follows Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi among African countries that have recently become party to the New York Convention.