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OHADA is a system of business laws and implementing institutions adopted by seventeen West and Central African nations. OHADA is the French acronym for "Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires", which translates into English as "Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa". It was created on October 17, 1993 in Port Louis, Mauritius.

The OHADA Treaty is made up today of 17 African states. Initially fourteen African countries signed the treaty, with two countries (Comoros and Guinea) subsequently adhering to the treaty and a third (the Democratic Republic of Congo) due to adhere shortly. The Treaty is open to all states, whether or not members of the Organisation of African Unity.[1]


As a West and Central African initiative to harmonize business laws and implementing institutions, OHADA aims to find alternative solutions to the lack of economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa - a region which has challenged and puzzled development economists for several decades. The stated purpose of the initiative is to facilitate and encourage both domestic and foreign investment in the member states, and seeing as how most of the participating countries are former French colonies, they draw chiefly on a modernised French legal model to achieve their goals. The laws promulgated by OHADA are exclusively business-related. The OHADA treaty has created a supranational court to ensure uniformity and consistent legal interpretations across the member countries, and the French influence in court proceedings is apparent.[2]

Member States[edit]

Map of Africa with OHADA member states in green. Other states of sub-saharan Africa are dark gray. The Democratic Republic of Congo, an OHADA candidate state, is dark green.