One of the key drivers of attracting Foreign Direct Investment is the need for African countries to conclude equitable and durable agreements with investors that can stand the test of time. Unfortunately many African countries often face the challenge of negotiating these deals due to having limited expertise in the new areas that are often not taught at African institutions. The African Legal Support Facility was set up by the African Development Bank to remove the asymmetrical technical capacities and level the field of legal expertise among parties to litigation and negotiations.
The African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) is therefore dedicated to sustainable capacity building for African lawyers and experts in negotiating major commercial agreements. As part of its goal towards attaining its mission, the Facility has launched a flagship initiative entitled the “ALSF Academy Project," Under this initiative, the ALSF has developed a three-level capacity building and certification program. This program will be conducted through an interactive online portal, starting with an inception phase consisting of a series of in-person workshops.
The ALSF is implementing the ALSF Academy Project in partnership with the East Africa Law Society (EALS), the Southern African Development Community Lawyers Association (SADCLA), the International Training Centre in Africa for Francophone Lawyers (CIFAF) and the African Business Law Firms Association (ABLFA). In addition the Facility will also work with the International Lawyers for Africa (ILFA) an NGO that provides capacity building to young African lawyers.
The collaboration also extends to the national bar associations through the regional associations and is intended to provide valuable support in designing and implementing the three-level certification program, with the aim of granting continuing legal education credits to participants.
In this context, the ALSF will hold an introductory level in-person training workshop in Kigali, Rwanda from 15 - 20 October 2018, for African lawyers selected by the SADCLA and the EALS. The subject areas to be covered during the workshop include (i) mining; (ii) oil & gas; (iii) power (electricity); (iv) infrastructure and PPPs; (v) sovereign debt; and (vi) the soft skills required for a successful legal practice (“Personal and Professional Development”).
The next step for the ALSF Academy Project will be the organization of a similar introductory level in-person training workshop for lawyers of African countries that belong to OHADA from 12 - 17 November 2018, in Cotonou, Benin in collaboration with the CIFAF and the ABFLA. Participants who attend the introductory level workshop will be able to better understand issues related to complex commercial transactions and will be prepared to take online exams to obtain an introductory level certificate.
By the end of this year, the ALSF is planning to launch the ALSF Academy’s online portal in partnership with ILFA. This online portal will centralise the ALSF Academy’s e-learning programs and the related learning materials and offer other online resources such as model agreements, guides and sector-specific publications, as well as a networking and discussion platform for participants and experts.
The African Legal Support Facility is an international organization hosted by the African Development Bank Group. The Facility is dedicated to providing legal advice and technical assistance to African countries in their negotiation of complex commercial transactions, creditor litigation and other related sovereign transactions. The ALSF also develops and proposes innovative tools for capacity building and knowledge management.
About the African Development Bank Group
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 44 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.