The next CISG Contracting State? Ethiopia prepares accession to the Convention

Among the continents of the world, Africa is the one with the smallest percentage of CISG ratifications. Against this background, it is particularly welcome news that Ethiopia has made important steps towards an accession to the 1980 Sales Convention. In mid-2020, the Ethiopian parliament passed the necessary law authorising the accession:


A step that is still outstanding is the deposit by Ethiopia of a formal instrument of accession to the CISG with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the depositary of the Sales Convention (Art. 89 CISG), as required by Art. 91(3), (4) CISG. Until this step has been completed, Ethiopia remains a CISG non-Contracting State. According to Art. 99(2) CISG the Convention only enters into force "on the first day of the month following the expiration of twelve months after the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession".


Interestingly, Ethiopia's upcoming accession will be "reservation heavy", given that Ethiopia is planning to declare not only one, but two of the reservations authorised by the Convention (Art. 95 CISG, excluding the application of Art. 1(1)(b), and Art. 96 CISG, excluding the freedom of form for sales contracts). This is remarkable because the trend in recent years has pointed in the opposite direction, with more and more Contracting States withdrawing reservations, thereby opting for an unrestricted application of the CISG.