29 June 2023
Erin Cronjé was recently appointed Director of Africa in the Moot. Africa in the Moot is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization that aims to support talented African law students' participation in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition ("Vis Moot"). The Vis Moot is the largest international commercial arbitration moot competition with some 400 teams typically registering, yet participation of Sub-Saharan African university teams has been less than 1%. "Africa in the Moot is on a mission to change this", says Ms Cronjé. "Through building capacity and giving a platform to talented future lawyers, Africa in the Moot aims to promote diversity and equal representation of Africans in the Vis Moot and in turn, in international arbitration".
Throughout the Vis Moot journey (September to April) it seeks to empower African law students by providing logistical and financial support, education and training, access to resources, and exposure to an international network in the field of (international) arbitration. Amongst its many initiatives is an educational and training series, with sessions led by prominent practitioners in the field, including Professor Emilia Onyema, Diamana Diawara, Professor Gary Born, Professor Stefan Kroll and Steven Finizio.
While it is still a young organization, having been established only 2 years ago, it has grown in size and its impact for the African continent, with the support of its valued partners and friends, some 40 volunteers and through the excellence of its talented student teams. Africa in the Moot reflects on a very successful second year of activity, in which it supported 14 teams from 10 different African countries, and co-hosted the 2nd Annual East Africa Pre-Moot together with Jones Day and Loyola University. The East Africa Pre-Moot is held in Nairobi, and is the only in-person Vis Pre-Moot that happens in Sub-Saharan Africa, thus bringing international commercial arbitration mooting and legal training a development a significant step closer for future African practitioners.
Earlier this year, this innovation was recognized on the international stage, when Africa in the Moot was awarded the Global Arbitration Review Awards for Best Innovation by an Individual or Organisation. Furthermore, at the 30th Vis Moot in Vienna, the Africa in the Moot community made Vis Moot history, with supporting 10 teams on the ground in Vienna. This was a record-breaking in-person participation, as the single largest group of Sub-Saharan African teams in 30 years of the Vis Moot.
"Africa in the Moot is a modest and humble organization with big ambitions. I am proud to join the leadership of this fantastic initiative and I look forward to expanding the African in the Moot community, its objectives and the excellent opportunities for its student and faculty members, together with our wonderful partners" comments Ms Cronjé. "It’s time for Africa!" To learn more about Africa in the Moot find them on LinkedIn, www.africainthemoot.com or via email at email@example.com.