22 June 2017

African and Chinese law firms sign MOU to boost investments in Africa

African and Chinese laws firms via Lex Africa and the Global Chinese Speaking Lawyers' Association have signed an MOU to boost Chinese investments in Africa by improving the confidence of Chinese entrepreneurs operating there.

Lex Africa founder member Fred Ojiambo said that Chinese firms have began to recognise the importance of seeking legal assistance while doing business in Africa. ‘So under the deal, Chinese business community can seek legal advice from Lex Africa partner lawyers who are situated in 20 African countries,’ Mr Ojiambo said during a trade and investment forum organised by the Kenya Investment Authority and China's Shenzhen City. The deal runs for an initial period of seven years, with a possibility of renewal depending on the outcomes. It is expected to give Chinese firms additional comfort that their investments and contracts will be fully respected.

Chinese firms increasingly attract to Africa

Mr Ojiambo said that Chinese firms are increasingly attracted to Africa due to the numerous business opportunities present in the continent. ‘So our aim is to smoothen the Chinese experiences in Africa so that Sino-Africa relations are enhanced,’ he said, noting that the legal environment in Africa is very different from that in China. ‘As a result, Chinese firms often face difficulties whenever they find themselves in legal disputes with African governments or businesses,’ he added.

Diverse legal systems

Africa has diverse legal systems as African countries inherited different European legal systems and the deal is also said to expand opportunities for African lawyers. ‘We will now get referrals from Chinese lawyers on Chinese entrepreneurs who are seeking to establish presence in the continent and require legal representation,’ added Mr Ojiambo.