13 August 2019

It's good to talk

New Perimeter provides training on contract negotiations to East African public sector lawyers.

New Perimeter, DLA Piper's nonprofit affiliate that provides long-term pro bono legal assistance in under-served regions around the world, recently conducted two separate regional trainings on negotiating international agreements in Nairobi, Kenya.

Confident negotiation

DLA Piper partnered with the East African Development Bank (EADB) to deliver the trainings for approximately 30 permanent secretaries and other senior government officials and close to 60 mid-level government lawyers from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The lawyers who participated in the trainings are involved in reviewing or negotiating contracts related to natural resources on behalf of their governments. This marks the sixth year that New Perimeter has collaborated with EADB to train East African public sector lawyers. “We were thrilled to return to East Africa to continue our long-standing partnership with EADB,” said Sara Andrews, assistant director of New Perimeter. “We are consistently impressed by the government lawyers involved in the trainings, and our global team of lawyers was privileged to work with them to engage on some of the most pressing issues facing their countries.” DLA Piper partner Jay Finkelstein, who developed and led the trainings, explained “Providing enhanced skills and confidence in negotiations has the potential to have significant positive impacts on resulting agreements, which will bring long-term benefits and improve lives of the broader population of the East African countries.”

Wealth challenge

East African Development Bank director general, Vivienne Yeda, observed that the Eastern African region has been losing wealth from the extraction of minerals. “This calls for capacity building for public sector professionals who are engaged in the development of legal and policy frameworks that will be pivotal in ensuring the respective members get maximum returns from their minerals.” The high-level, two-day program for permanent secretaries focused on preparing senior ministry leaders to manage teams engaging in complex international negotiations. The interactive five-day program focused on negotiating agreements and explored substantive issues involved in joint venture agreements, supply agreements and technology license agreements, as well as issues related to the political, social and economic context in which the agreements are negotiated. Using an experiential learning model, the training included active involvement from all participants. It was conducted with a combination of interactive lectures and simulated negotiations.