The right platform – trying to find a long-term approach for Africa

Given the fall in commodities prices in 2016, the spotlight has turned on the long-term sustainability of Africa for international law firms. Have the global players hedged their bets enough?

‘There is no African law firm that does infrastructure the way we do; it’s front and centre of our strategy. There is a real gap in the market for a sector-based law firm.’

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‘Do we believe in Africa?’

With economic strife putting pressure on Africa’s foreign investments, effective dispute resolution mechanisms are vital. We teamed up with Simmons & Simmons to ask general counsel their experiences of disputes on the continent

As we reported in our dispute resolution Insight ‘Clause and effect’ last year, Africa has become a disputes hotspot. With a fall in commodities prices leading to abandoned projects, disputes work is becoming even more plentiful.

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A safe bet – charting the rise of private equity in Africa

Africa’s economic transformation has made it a key target for globe-trotting private equity houses. Can the continent pay out for the lengthening queue of investors?

For the private equity (PE) community, where risk and return are uneasy bedfellows, Africa represents less of a gamble. Given the continent’s increasing political stability and steady economic growth, the stakes are becoming stacked progressively in the sponsors’ favour. Not so long ago, investors’ bets were as safe as buying a handful of lottery tickets.

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Constructing continents – the clients and advisers targeting Africa’s booming infra market

With a huge infra deficit and investment flooding in, Legal Business assesses the bellwether projects – and their advisers – defining Africa’s infrastructure market.

In August this year, President Obama hosted the largest US-Africa leaders’ summit ever, with the heads of nearly every African nation gathering in Washington DC. As well as working on governance and leadership issues, Obama talked to a business forum hosted in the Mandarin Oriental, with 90 US firms and over 100 major African companies attending, in an attempt to broker deals and build relationships across the Atlantic.

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‘We own the time’ – the Africa 2020 vision

The dynamics of the fast-changing continent are rapidly shifting. As sub-Saharan states challenge South Africa’s regional dominance, Legal Business asks what the much-touted market will look like five years from now

‘I’m standing saying that those who miss the boat now, will miss it forever. So if you want to be in Africa, think about investing,’ said Nigerian finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, earlier this year in a public speech.

Before most foreigners had become bullish on Africa, Stephen Jennings, founder of Renaissance Capital, who successfully bet on the opportunities in post-Soviet Russia, put it more pithily when he was quoted in 2007 as saying: ‘If Russia was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, sub-Saharan Africa is a second once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’

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Africa: into Africa

As foreign firms continue to pile into the continent, LB highlights the most attractive methods of accessing the pan-African market

Recently it seems that not a week goes by without new clamour surrounding another legal market as law firms race to enter countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. But of all the new frontiers that have been gaining favour with law firms, Africa’s focal points are the most difficult to pinpoint.

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The right track

For much of its recent history Angola has been torn apart by civil war. With considerable oil wealth the country is slowly opening up to foreign investment and a growing band of foreign law firms

Everything seems to conspire to prevent all but the most adventurous and patient of investors from entering Angola. A room at the ‘four star’ Tropico hotel, a 1970s’ block in downtown Luanda, will set you back $500 a night. Once checked in expect to pay $10 for a two-litre bottle of drinking water, $6 for a beer and $20 for a sandwich. It’s not surprising that the capital Luanda is now one of the most expensive cities in the world. Working in Angola requires not only deep pockets but also patience and preferably a bit of Portuguese. Yet investors and their lawyers remain unperturbed, lured into oil-rich Angola by double-digit growth rates and growing investment opportunities.

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