Africa is frequently mentioned as a key market for companies looking to expand, but there is more to the region than simply natural resources, projects and infrastructure. The African continent, with its large population and abundant mineral resources, holds great promise and economic opportunity. Its many and varied issues have not stopped investors from all over the world, and the legal firms that represent them, from being increasingly active here, with peculiar interest in the oil & gas and energy sector.
Algeria is the largest economy in North Africa and derives its wealth is from its deep oil and gas reserves. The country maintains strict controls on foreign investment, ensuring that any company is at least 51% controlled by a domestic entity. Only the energy sector is relatively open to outsiders, drawing in global oil and gas companies, but in other sectors inbound investment is limited.
With an annual growth rate of 7.2% over the past 13 years, Ghana is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Relatively transparent and stable governance, as well as abundance of natural resources – including the recent discovery of oil – has made the country a target for investment. Private equity interest, the country’s energy reserves, and the government’s active encouragement of PPP projects have all served as strong incentives for foreign law firms to look with greater interest at Ghana.
Nigeria is one of the world’s main producers of crude oil and natural gas, with high-end potential for offshore petroleum activity. Consequently, Nigeria’s legal market is especially active in energy-related deals and it has seen an increase in mandates concerning downstream processes; the country’s energy lawyers are keen to have Nigeria’s long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) come into force. The PIB is intended to establish a new legal framework and effective regulatory agencies, and develop new guidelines to govern operations in the upstream and downstream sectors. However, the recent drop in global crude oil prices has led to fears for the country’s economy, as the country relies on crude oil export for 80% of its earnings. Consequently, the country has recognised the need to stimulate non-oil revenue; meanwhile, the financial services, power and telecoms sectors are growing, giving rise to a flow of regulatory and project finance instructions for law firms.
Doing business in Africa offers unique opportunities and challenges, and with this comes a need to understand the cultural, economic and political nuances that exist across the vast continent. There is more to the region than simply natural resources, projects and infrastructure.
As a keen player in the Legal Technologies industry of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, Grace Info Tech Limited, developers of the foremost electronic law report, LAWPAVILION has deemed it fit to partner with the International Bar Association as Headline Sponsor for the one-of-its kind “Investing in Africa Conference – Opportunities for Businesses and the Lawyers who Counsel Them”. The Conference is an initiative of various Fora of the IBA and is being held at the prestigious Millennium Broadway Hotel, New York City, United States of America from 24th – 26th of June 2015.
Some of the topics to be deliberated upon at the Conference include:
- Africa’s investment trends and how they will affect commercial enterprises and their lawyers
- Recent deals in sectors of rapid growth, including agribusiness, finance, IT, media and entertainment and consumer products/retail
- Recent deals in mature sectors, including oil and gas, mining, telecommunications and power-related infrastructure
- Who is funding Africa’s growth? – funding sources, including private equity, capital markets, foreign and African banks, and multilateral institutions (e.g., African Development Bank, International Finance Corporation)
- Risk mitigation
- How law firms can augment their presence in Africa
At the Conference, GIT will be holding special “showcase” sessions of its newest addition, the Solicitors’ Toolkit” dubbed as the “Central Bank of Commercial Law and Practice in Africa. The Solicitors’ Toolkit (STK) is a unique software application containing diverse contents suited principally for Solicitors, In-House Counsel and Legal Advisers to businesses or companies operating in Nigeria and Africa at large. The STK was designed and developed based on extensive research and deliberations with leading commercial/transactional Solicitors/In-House Counsel who highlighted the peculiar needs of that group of legal practitioners.
GIT LawPavilion is proud to be the first African company to provide Headline Sponsorship to the IBA ‘Investing in Africa’ Conference. At LawPavilion, we recognise what the continent represents in the global economy, and we consider it our responsibility to lead the pack for investment in Africa, and to back that move with the right tools necessary to succeed which we have done with our Solicitors’ Toolkit (STK).