Africa’s economy is experiencing its longest period of uninterrupted growth in over forty years. Whilst growth is inextricably linked to the continent’s enormous wealth of natural resources and global commodity prices, increased fiscal discipline, debt-relief programmes, fast-growing middle class populations and improved political stability have made this growth sustainable and attracted ever increasing levels of foreign direct investment.
However, as with many emerging markets, the risks involved can be considerable. There is a balancing act between adequate compliance, cultural sensitivity and doing business successfully and the assessment and management of these types of risks in a pragmatic and commercial manner is vital.
We have a wealth of experience in Africa. For example:
We regularly advise clients on mergers and acquisitions in the region: for example, we have recently acted for clients on corporate and commercial deals in Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa and across the whole SADC territory. We work closely with our clients to assess risks (and impact), not least through our sector tailored due diligence process and corresponding warranty protections, with a specific and practical focus on compliance issues.
We have acted for a number of clients in disputes ranging from international arbitration to actions in the local courts. Our recent experience includes acting on litigious and regulatory matters (including two major ICC arbitrations) in Algeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Benin.
Risk and Compliance
Our clients view compliance as one of the major challenges to doing business in Africa. We provide our clients across the region with tailored advice which allows them to do business whilst managing the risks. We recently hosted seminars in Ghana and Nigeria providing guidance in relation to the UK Bribery Act 2010, in conjunction with the British High Commission, government representatives, local industry groups and our preferred firms in the region. We regularly advise clients on risk and compliance related issues and remediation strategies.
Intellectual Property and Reputation Management
As with all emerging markets, protecting intellectual property and reputation management can be challenging. We regularly act for clients in registering, protecting and enforcing intellectual property. We also act for clients looking to protect their reputation. For example, we recently acted for a client bringing defamation proceedings in Kenya.
In market expertise
We enjoy non-exclusive relationships with our preferred law firms across Africa. We invest heavily in those relationships and our clients benefit from integrated, collaborative relationships and a “one firm” approach to providing legal services. This means that we provide a joined up service and a “risk filter” for our clients to help them make informed decisions and to mitigate risk proactively. We also have a significant amount of “on the ground” experience having spent time in market and through secondment programmes. This gives us a great insight into local operations and business practices across Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa Task Force
Addleshaw Goddard is part of the Sub-Saharan Africa Task Force, a business-led initiative chaired by Lord Green, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment and backed by Prime Minister, David Cameron. The Task Force promotes high-level discussion of strategic issues relating to British business interests across a number of Sub-Saharan African markets. We are the only law firm among the UK businesses which make up the Task Force.
Find out more
For further information about Addleshaw Goddard in Africa, please see our credentials brochure.
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