African Legal Support Facility Constitutive Assembly Takes Place in Tunis

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Date: 29/06/2009
Location: Tunis
ALSF [Converti]

The Constitutive Assembly of the African Legal Support Facility takes place on June 29, 2009, in Tunis to adopt text establishing the institution and to set up its management organs, in particular, a governing council, management board and the executive council. African Development Bank (AfDB) Governors will personally attend or authorize senior Bank staff to represent them at the event. The Agreement on the Facility will be signed as a Treaty, and additional resources will be mobilized to reinforce its activities. Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General are expected to attend the launching.

The need to set up the Facility was initially expressed in June 2003 by African finance ministers when they called for the establishment of a legal support facility to help Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) to resolve increasing problems caused by vulture funds. It was clear that more than 70% of the judgments were against AfDB Regional Member Countries (RMCs). The decisions had awarded nearly US$ 1 billion to complainants in cases initiated by vulture funds. These legal issues also drew the attention of the G-8 which considered them as obstacles to the debt reduction framework adopted in Gleneagles in 2005.

In light of these concerns, the AfDB Board of Directors on April 30, 2008, approved the idea of creating the Facility. The AfDB has provided it with some US$ 15 million.

The agreement came into force on December 15, 2008. To date, thirty-three countries and one international organization have signed the agreement. During the AfDB 2009 Annual Meetings which took place in May 2009 in Dakar, Senegal, events were organized to sensitize other member countries on the Facility and to popularize the idea.