On 17 August 2015, various persons, numerous lawyers, including representatives of other arbitration associations in Johannesburg, among them the Chairman of the China-Africa Joint Arbitration Centre in Shanghai and the Secretary General of the China Law Society, signed the "Johannesburg Consensus" in a ceremony at Sinosteel Plaza in Sandton. This marked the establishment of the China Africa Joint Arbitration Centre (CAJAC).
CAJAC originated from the sentiments and decisions contained in the Beijing Consensus of 5 June 2015. The Beijing Consensus was to review the traditional friendship existing between China and Africa, to observe the latest development trends of international arbitration and to envision the corporate prospects of establishing China-Africa joint dispute resolution mechanisms.
The Chinese representatives considered where CAJAC should be located in Africa and eventually decided upon Johannesburg, due to the continuous enhancement of China-Africa cooperation and rapid development of trade and investment between China and Africa. Disputes relating to business in Africa will be dealt with in Johannesburg, whereas disputes relating to business in China will be dealt with in Shanghai.
The Chinese representatives were adamant that they did not want such disputes to be dealt with through the well-known arbitration centres in London and Paris, in order to reduce escalating legal costs and improve efficiency. Further, CAJAC will help to enrich, innovate and complete international arbitration rules to adjust to the changing times. This will help to strengthen the power of developing countries in the field of international arbitration, which will be based on mutual cooperation.
In essence, CAJAC will be an international centre that will provide dispute resolution services (mediation, arbitration, adjudication and conciliation) to facilitate and enhance business, trade and investment between China and the continent of Africa. CAJAC will strive to have the centre recognised and its rules adopted into the Bilateral Investment Treaties between China and African countries as a dispute settlement clause.