18 January 2019

Funding aims to level legal playing field in Africa

African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) receives a EUR 4 million grant facility from Germany's development bank to promote better deals.

The facility is aimed at strengthening capacity for African countries to negotiate contracts with international investors, by helping to level the legal advice playing field between African countries and international investors,The 4 million euro injection is structured as  a grant from KfW, the German development bank. ALSF will use the funding to improve African nations’ legal capacity to negotiate contracts, with the aim of getting fairer deals from international companies and investors, including public-private partnerships, particularly in the natural resources and infrastructure sectors.

African experts

A statement explained:‘The aim is to increase financial and inclusive non-financial benefits for African states and enhance the involvement of African experts in negotiation of complex commercial transactions.’ The inequality of legal advice between natural resource-rich countries and investors has been a big problem, spurring the G7 in 2015 to launch the CONNEX Initiative, designed to tackle the issue, and ALSF will take steps to implement the initiative’s code of conduct, with support from KfW.

Levelling playing field

The grant was confirmed by the signature of the financing agreement by KfW’s director for regional funds Thomas Duve and ALSF director Stephen Karangizi. Mr Duve said, ‘we are excited about our partnership and recognize the value and role of the ALSF as an instrument for risk mitigation. The ALSF’s focus on operational activities will help it better respond to the needs of African governments.. Mr Karangizi stated the money would ‘help us to continue to level the legal playing field among parties to negotiations and contribute to an enhanced and sustainable economic and inclusive growth in Africa.’ Hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), ALSF provides litigation support, advisory services, training and experience for lawyers and knowledge management for lawyers acting on behalf of states in Africa.

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