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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 5, 2015

Toward an Elaboration of a More Pluralistic Legal Landscape for Developing West African Countries: Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) and Law and Development

David Hiez and Séverine Menétrey


In Europe and especially in France, the African business law landscape, as well as the legal discourse, for developing West African countries is almost exclusively dedicated to OHADA, the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa, created in 1993. While economic development in the Member States is the obvious underlying reason for the modernization and unification of African business law, the exact nature of such development remains uncertain, as does the manner in which a such result can or will be achieved. OHADA’s Uniform Acts are, with some minor exceptions, a carbon copy of French business law. The only goal is to increase international investment, which, in turn, is expected to generate economic development, but all without taking any notice of equality or social justice issues. That, without a doubt, is the reason why OHADA is constantly criticized as a law that benefits foreign investors, while remaining ineffective, even illusory, for local traders. To go beyond the criticism, the authors have decided to focus on the relationship between law and the informal sector and to draw lines between formal and informal rules in the business sector.

Published Online: 2015-8-5
Published in Print: 2015-12-1

©2015 Law and Development Review