Author: Joanne Elson 

The 21st Africa Energy Forum (AEF) took place on the 11th to 14th June 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. The annual AEF is the largest Africa energy gathering of the year and easily draws over a 1000 delegates from all over the globe, including many government officials, public private sector representatives, developers, dealmakers, investors and business leaders, each with their focus on energy in Africa. This year renewable power together with new technologies in the battery storage and off-grid sectors were inescapable in their prominence. However, hydro, conventional power, LNG and oil & gas remain of key strategic importance in a number of jurisdictions.

Africa as an emerging market presents an opportunity to investors of all kinds and, in particular, development finance institutions with investment capital. These opportunities were discussed in great detail in highly focused sessions and break away meetings over the four day conference. Both public and private partnership investment opportunities were promoted in order to mobilise inward investment into the region. The delegates found the conference to be insightful and important given the ever prominent issue of power on the continent. Another key focus was on the ever increasing debt of governments either by way of direct guarantee liabilities or contingent liabilities with respect to their State utilities’ obligations.

Herbert Smith Freehills delegates attended AEF and were presented with excellent networking opportunities with delegates from diverse backgrounds. Investors, local law firms and business leaders shared insight into specific African jurisdictions, for example, Malawi, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Senegal to name a few. Insight gained included an overview of existing opportunities, risks/challenges to consider when doing business in the region, as well as successful business case studies in recent years.

Herbert Smith Freehills is committed to Africa and has been advising investors in the continent for over 30 years. Our Africa practice group comprises a multidisciplinary team of industry experts with one of the largest teams of common and civil law lawyers dedicated almost exclusively to Africa work.


Please feel free to contact Joanne Elson or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact should you have any questions about this event or should you wish to discuss any Africa Energy related issues.

Joanne Elson
Joanne Elson
Senior Associate - Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Finance, London
+44 20 7466 2802