Angola has become the 157th Contracting State to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. On 6 March 2017, Angola deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention with the UN Secretary General. Under Article XII(2), the Convention will enter into force in Angola on 4 June 2017, 90 days after the deposit of its instrument of accession. Unlike many states, Angola has not made any declarations, notifications or reservations regarding the application of the Convention. The most frequently made declarations are to apply the Convention only to: (i) recognition and enforcement of awards made in the territory of another contracting State (the so-called "reciprocity reservation"); and (ii) differences arising out of legal relationships that are considered commercial under the national law (the so-called "commercial reservation").
As noted in more detail in our previous blog post, precisely how the Convention obligations will be implemented remains to be seen. To provide certainty that foreign arbitral awards are practically enforceable in the country, Angola may need to harmonise both the provisions of the Voluntary Arbitration Law (Law 16/03 of 25 July) and the Angolan Civil Procedure Code with its Convention obligations. Further, the success of international arbitration in Angola-related international transactions will also require support from the Angolan judiciary, and an understanding of the key concepts of international arbitration by the Angolan government, the Angolan legal community, and the Angolan business community. Nonetheless, the accession to the Convention sends a positive message to foreign investors that Angola is open for business.