The Association of Young Arbitrators (AYA) Nigeria officially launches in Nigeria.

The AYA team is made up of young lawyers with a passion for arbitration who are seeking to develop young arbitrators and to "give them a face in the arbitration space". One of the goals of AYA is to overcome the perception that arbitration in Nigeria is a "closed shop" and open only to senior practitioners.

AYA is open to all arbitration practitioners under the age of 40 having professional links to Nigeria. In addition to the AYA team of young Nigerian lawyers led by its president and founder, Aboyomi Okubote, AYA also has a board of advisers and consultants consisting of leading African and international arbitration practitioners, including Hogan Lovells partners Michael Davison and Nathan Searle.

The association is planning an arbitration summit in Lagos later this year to bring together arbitration practitioners from across Nigeria to exchange ideas, share experience and discuss the latest trends and developments in arbitration. This represents a new dawn for the arbitration practice. As the first event of its kind in Nigeria and being organised by a group of young, energised and knowledgeable arbitration lawyers, it hopes to dispel many of the myths associated with arbitration in the continent. This can also be a launch-pad for other similar think-tanks on the continent.

In 2017, AYA intends to launch a mentoring programme to promote sharing of knowledge and experience from senior practitioners to younger arbitrators. The association also plans to facilitate secondment or exchange programmes for young arbitrators to arbitral institutions and law firms between Africa and the UK.

The launch of AYA provides a great opportunity for the next generation of Nigerian arbitration practitioners and will enhance the international arbitration community as AYA membership grows and the organisation seeks to become the main platform for leading practitioners.

As arbitration continues to grow across the Africa region, organisations such as AYA are important for expanding the number and diversity of African arbitration practitioners and fostering the development of the next generation of leading African arbitrators.

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