HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS EXPANDS SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICE WITH THREE SENIOR HIRES

Global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills today announced that three leading South African lawyers will join the firm in its Johannesburg office. The hires – two partners and a senior consultant – are bringing well established teams with them, resulting in a total of 13 appointments.

Expanding Herbert Smith Freehills’ corporate, competition and technology & telecoms offerings, the three senior hires bring a total of 77 years’ experience advising high-profile South African and global companies.

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FIRM SPONSORS MAURITIUS ARBITRATION WEEK AND AFRICARB, FORGING CLOSER BETWEEN AFRICA AND ASIA

 

After a successful first edition in May 2018, the MCCI Arbitration and Mediation Center (MARC) hosted the second Mauritius Arbitration Week from 10 to 14 June 2019, which the firm was once again proud to sponsor. This year, the focus was on bridging Africa and Asia.

Hong Kong senior associate Greg Travaini was one of the panellists featured during the MARC Conference on ‘Mauritius: A Bridge between Africa and Asia’. He also organised, as founding member, AfricArb’s first dedicated seminar in Africa on Chinese-African BITs: Facing New Challenges.

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HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS ATTENDS AFRICA ENERGY FORUM IN LISBON

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.

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DJIBOUTI BECOMES 163RD SIGNATORY OF THE ICSID CONVENTION

Authors: Andrew Cannon, Natalie Yarrow and Rebecca Warder 

The Republic of Djibouti is the latest country to become a signatory to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the ICSID Convention). Djibouti’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, signed the ICSID Convention on 12 April 2019. Djibouti must now ratify the ICSID Convention in order for it to become a Contracting State (or Member State) to the ICSID Convention, and for the ICISD Convention to come into force for Djibouti.

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AFRICAN NATIONS MUST RESIST SIREN SONG OF RESOURCE NATIONALISM

Author: Peter Leon, Co-Chair of Africa Practice Group 

Countries that shun populist moves appear more attractive as commodity prices fall

In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the ANC would amend the country’s constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation ©Reuters

The spectre of resource nationalism is again rearing its head across Africa, leading to significant regulatory intrusions in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa — all major mining jurisdictions.

Unlike the outright nationalisations undertaken by many postcolonial African (as well as Latin American) governments in the 1960s and 1970s, resource nationalism refers to the more modern trend of governments adopting fiscal and regulatory measures to exert greater control.

In July 2017, Tanzania enacted three laws asserting “permanent sovereignty” over its natural resources including oil and gas while drastically amending the country’s mining code.

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