Online Dispute Resolution for Electronic Commerce under Ethiopian Legal Framework: The Need for Reform
With the advent of the internet, the international business trend is changing as the traditional business trend is replaced with Electronic-Commerce. This paradigm shift has posed a severe and substantial challenge on how to resolve cross-border disputes. In response to these challenges, online dispute resolution (ODR) has emerged as the best avenue to resolve cross-border electronic disputes. In 2020, Ethiopia adopted the "Electronic Transaction Proclamation" and "Digital Strategy for Inclusive Prosperity 2025". This plays a vital role in the advancement of Electronic commerce. The advancement of electronic commerce has led to an increase in the volume of cross-border disputes, whereby resolving such disputes could be a challenge. The purpose of this article is to assess the legal and institutional framework for online dispute resolution under Ethiopian law, identify its shortcomings, and explore opportunities for proper regulation. To this end, it has employed a doctrinal legal research methodology. The paper's finding shows that there is no legal and institutional framework for online dispute resolution under Ethiopian laws despite constitutional backup. Hence, there is a pressing need for Ethiopia to adopt online dispute resolution. First, as the dispute
is inevitable and the traditional dispute settlement is unsuitable for resolving online disputes, there should be a proper avenue to settle online disputes to enhance consumers' confidence in E-commerce. Second, the adoption of ODR is necessary for competing at a global level and the facilitation of cross-border trade. Finally, ODR has the potential to ensure the right to access justice enshrined under the FDRE constitution. To this end, Ethiopia should facilitate the room for online dispute resolution by adopting a proper legal and institutional framework.