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In-house: African Development Bank appoints new GC in senior management shuffle

The African Development Bank has appointed Hélène N’Garnim-Ganga as its general counsel as she joins the bank’s senior management team.

N’Garnim-Ganga will take up her role in September from her current position as the representative of the bank in Mali, where she advised on policy discussions in relation to finance and infrastructure and worked on behalf of the bank on Mali’s 2015 peace deal with rebels.

With 25 years of legal experience, N’Garnim-Ganga has worked at the African Development Bank since 2009, having previously spent four years as head of legal at the French Development Agency. She also worked as a senior associate at US law firm Coudert Brothers in its Paris and New York offices until 2004, prior to the firm’s breakup.

N’Garnim Ganga’s appointment comes as part of a leadership reshuffle at the African Development Bank. The bank’s former GC Vincent Nmehielle will take up the post of secretary general on 1 September. Nmehille had also previously held the role of GC for the African Union Commission.

African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina said: ‘Hélène brings extensive experience of the bank’s legal operations, combined with management of bank projects and business operations in a fragile state, where she is respected for building strong engagement with the government and development partners.’

The bank serves as a major development finance institution across the continent. Headquartered in the Ivory Coast, it deals with lending and project finance focused on infrastructure, agriculture, health, energy and renewables. In its latest annual report for 2014, the bank said it handled $7.3bn of new projects.

Africa has seen increased importance for global law firms in recent years as they seek to take part in major development and infrastructure drives on the continent.

Global 100 firms have made further moves to expand their presence in key hubs, with Norton Rose Fulbright adding to its African network with an alliance in Kenya, White & Case launching its second African office in Egypt in June, and DLA Piper launching two new offices in Morocco and South Africa last year.