LAW SOCIETY NAMIBIA





Angola Bar Association                                                                                             Mozambique Bar Association

 This Charter is established by the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (Hereinafter referred to as “AFSA”) under the auspices of the AFSA SADC Division (Hereinafter referred to as “AFSA SADC DIVISION”) of 1ST Floor Grindrod Tower, 8a Protea Place, Sandton, a project in partnership with all the Bar Associations/Law Societies of the Southern African Region under the umbrella of the SADC Lawyers Association (Hereinafter referred to as “SADC-LA”) of 304 Brooks Street, Menlo Park, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa, 0102.



  1. WHEREAS AFSA SADC Division was established through a partnership between SADC Lawyers Association and the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA) to advance the promotion and development of international arbitration practice and procedure in the SADC Region;
  2. AND WHEREAS the Bar Associations and Law Societies of Southern Africa’s members states, are constitutive institutional members of the SADC Lawyers’ Association, which is the umbrella body of all Bar Associations in Southern Africa are keen to advance the institutionalization of international commercial dispute resolution in the region.
  3. AND WHEREAS the AFSA was established in 1996 and seeks to institutionalize the practice of international arbitration in accordance with United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Arbitration Rules (UNCITRAL), New York Convention and other modern arbitration frameworks with internationally recognized standards;
  4. COGNISANT that the Parties wish to collaborate in pursuit of the institutionalization of the practice of international arbitration based on a standardized set of rules and procedures for the administration of arbitration and mediation processes in the SADC Region;
  5. DESIROUS of mutual cooperation with the view to facilitate such collaboration on agreed terms as shall be set herein below.
  6. NOW THEREFORE the Parties mutually agree as follows –

The purpose of this ALLIANCE CHARTER is to establish a member network of institutions committed to excellence in provision of the best process for private dispute resolution at domestic and regional levels in Southern Africa, and internationally. The charter defines the framework within which collaborative activities will be undertaken between the AFSA SADC Division, the Bar Associations of Southern Africa and other ALLIANCE partners as may be agreed. It outlines the vision, mission, principles and working priorities of the network.


The AFSA SADC ALLIANCE is a Southern Africa based network of like-minded institutions committed to the development of a shared arbitration framework and advancement of the practice of international arbitration in SADC. Its members are active national, regional and international organizations and individuals, which work together on the transformation of the way in which dispute resolution is administered. It stems from an agreement signed between the SADC-LA and AFSA in 2019 followed by a resolution of the network of SADC Bar Associations and AFSA under the AFSA SADC Division in 2021 to establish a Southern African Alliance with a roadmap for the establishment and operationalisation of a regional seat for international commercial arbitration in SADC.


The objectives of this ALLIANCE are to facilitate collaboration by the Parties as follows:

  • To become a leading network of institutions committed to excellence in providing fair and reliable systems to resolve disputes privately, to build panels of mediators, conciliators, and arbitrators and to train and develop arbitrators and mediators in Southern Africa and beyond.
  • To become a regional and international leader in provision of fast, transparent, and affordable services in international arbitration.
  • To transform the way in which the domestic, regional, and international business sector handles and processes disputes in Southern Africa.
  • To foster domestication and ratification of international standards in arbitration by Southern African countries so that they will meet the stringent criteria which justify their status as recognized seats or venues for the resolution of disputes.
  • To promote review and reform of domestic arbitration law for, harmonization, alignment, and consistency with international standards
  • Co-hosting of seminars, conferences, and events to promote international commercial arbitration and alternative dispute resolution as well as dissemination of related information to mutual partners.
  • Compilation of an easily accessible database of arbitration laws, institutions, and resources in Southern Africa.
  • Collaboration in promoting the participation of young lawyers and female lawyers in professional arbitration.
  • To do all that is necessary to advance the standardization of practice and enhancement of commercial arbitration under this Charter.


To create a standardized and harmonized framework for administered arbitration[1] to be available and operative throughout the SADC region, and thus constitute Southern Africa as a destination of choice for parties seeking services in international commercial arbitration.


To promote and facilitate cooperation in the field of international commercial arbitration in furtherance of the Alliance vision;

In particular

  • At an international level – by providing a welcoming seat or venue and thereby promoting international trade, business, and investment through dealing quickly and fairly with commercial disputes;
  • At a regional level – by providing a shared dispute resolution mechanism for intra-regional trade and commerce;
  • at a local level – by providing an expedited and cost-effective means for the settlement of business disputes and thereby facilitating access to justice, and thus create a firm foundation for each SADC Member State and Alliance member to develop and expand its own identity as an arbitral seat internationally, regionally, and domestically.
    • Cooperation and solidarity

The Alliance is a democratic, accessible, efficient, supportive, and open network, based on the inclusive, active voluntary participation of its diverse membership, a cooperative structure, and a permanent secretariat under the AFSA SADC Division. The sense of belonging to a cooperative network and having an equal role in a regional and international community of organisations built on trust and solidarity, is a strong point of confidence in the Alliance membership.

  • Inclusive Participation, Recognition of Diversity and Active Involvement

The Alliance aims at fostering the engagement of members in activities that promote sustainable means of international commercial dispute resolution at all levels. This applies to intra-network as well as external network partner engagement.  Diversity is a value and an aim for the Alliance; therefore, it will seek to implement activities, develop tools, and capacitate members to enhance greater diversity in the region. Multi-linguicism will be a central pillar for facilitating inclusivity and fostering diversity.

  • Cross cutting themes

The Alliance holds dear the ideals of upholding human rights and rule of law. This means actively fostering equal participation of members in a way that respects basic rights and fundamental freedoms by youth, disabled, vulnerable communities and women. Gender parity and equality is emphasized as a cornerstone for advancing sustainable development.  In the same vein the Alliance lends itself to the development of infrastructures for peace in the region.

  • Mobility of professional services

The Alliance identifies its framework as a contribution to the pillars of advancing the liberalisation of trade in professional services. The Alliance framework is an enabler of cross border mobility of services by key stakeholders from across the region, continent and the world at large. Part of this recognises the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and the need for successful regional and continental economic integration.

  • Sustainability

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Alliance builds on a range of approaches to sustainability. This includes environmental social governance (ESG), green arbitration practices and to support environmental sustainability and climate justice through decarbonisation. Development of conflict resolution capacities for resilient local communities with strong relationships to surrounding environments. Particularly to support SDG 16 that seeks to Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.


In order to shape the future, the Alliance envisions and strives to advance the following key priority areas in furtherance of its vision and mission;

 Mutual recognition of and advancement of an esteemed Panel of Arbitrators

  • Mutual recognition of an internationally recognized set of International and Domestic Rules as well as ratification, domestication, and harmonization of legal domestic, regional, and international laws for administering international arbitration
  • Developing joint capacity building and training products,
  • Networking, marketing, and experience-sharing based on an extensive database of experts, and organisations within the network and externally at domestic, regional, and international levels
  • Recognition of a multi-tier membership categorization
  • Institutionalization of an open, transparent, accountable, and efficient governance framework
  • Conduct of joint activities and conferences to promote international alternative dispute resolution.


Pursuant to the fulfilment of the objectives stated above, specific membership categories shall be recognized on a multi-tier basis

8.1. Founder Members – The Primary founding Membership shall consist of AFSA and SADCLA together with their listed institutional membership as duly constituted under their respective constitutions.

8.2. Full Membership – The following entities that meet the criteria for founding membership shall be accepted as full members;

  • Bar Associations
  • Law Firms
  • Business Entities
  • Professional Associations
  • Like minded NPO and NGOs

8.3. Affiliate Membership

There shall be a vested category of individuals that have no attachment to institutions or who simply wish to be part of the Alliance network in their personal capacity to join.

Institutions that have yet to meet the full criteria for developing into a full member are also enabled to hold Affiliate membership. Institutions may choose to remain in this category or to evolve to full membership.

8.4. Governmental and State Engagement

One unique feature of the Southern African Regional Set for International Commercial Arbitration is that it is a wholly private initiative that actively promotes collaboration and recognition by state parties and multilateral institutions at national, regional, and international levels. The underpinning principle is that the global community of arbitration recognizes effectiveness of dispute resolution as lying in the independence of the structure administering the resolution of disputes from external influence.

By appending their signature to this Agreement, the Parties hereby agree to constitute the AFSA SADC ALLIANCE in Southern Africa.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized representatives of the Parties, have on the date indicated, signed this ALLIANCE CHARTER in duplicate in the English language, both copies being duly authentic.

For AFSA,                                             For SADC LAWYERS ASSOCIATION

…………………………….                                                      ………………………………………….

Adv Michael Kuper SC                                                                      Des Williams

AFSA Chairman                                                                    Chairman AFSA SADC Division







…………………………….                                                      ………………………………………….

Mr. Lungisani Zulu                                                                            Luis Paulo Monteiro

President                                                                                                     President       







______________________________                                    ____________________________

President                                                                                                (TBA)







______________________________                                    ____________________________

Adv Lintle Tuke                                                                                            (TBA)

President                                                                                                       President



For LAW SOCIETY OF NAMIBIA                                 For LAW SOCIETY OF ZIMBABWE



______________________________                              ______________________________

(TBA)                                                                                            Rumbidzai Matambo

President                                                                                            President

[1] The term “administered dispute resolution” refers to an arbitration center which manages disputes in accordance with credible and modern arbitration rules and does so by way of a trained administrative staff using the services of experienced panels of arbitrators and offering all requisite technical facilities by way of room venues, transcription services, online and remote platforms.