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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THE REVISED LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE UPSTREAM OIL & GAS INDUSTRY IN SENEGAL

Authors: Stéphane Brabant, Bertrand Montembault, Paul Morton and Etienne Marque

INTRODUCTION 

Senegal has been at the forefront of the emergence of the MSGBC basin (covering Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry) in the global upstream industry. Accordingly, the new revision to the country’s petroleum legislation has been expected with anticipation.

On 1 February 2019, President Macky Sall signed into law two pivotal pieces of legislation for the oil and gas sector in Senegal. The key development is the introduction of a new petroleum code1 (the “Revised Code“), replacing the earlier 1998 petroleum code2 (the “1998 Petroleum Code“). The new Revised Code is complemented by a stand-alone law local content in the petroleum sector (the “Local Content Law“)3. Together, these laws represent a substantial update to the previous framework.

The new regime is consistent with the regional trend within the extractive sector, whereby the economic relationship between the host state and investor is being shifted in favour of the state (see our discussion on developments in other jurisdictions in Africa – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s revised mining code and Heightened Risk? Resource Nationalism on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa). The Government will be hoping that the updated regime will strike the right balance between maximising returns for the country and maintaining an attractive and stable investment climate.

This note provides a brief overview of the key features and changes brought about by the legislation.

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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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THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO’S REVISED MINING CODE

Authors: Peter Leon, Bertrand Montembault and Paul Morton

INTRODUCTION 

On 9 March 2018, President Joseph Kabila signed into law significant changes to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (“DRC”) mining code (the “Revised Code”).1 The Revised Code, which amends the 2002 Mining Code2 (the “2002 Mining Code”), was adopted by both houses of Parliament on 27 January 2018 and came into force upon publication in the Official Journal on 28 March 2018. This note provides an overview of some of the key changes introduced by the Revised Code.

The promulgation of the Revised Code follows months of uncertainty during which the proposed legislation faced significant criticism from a number of the largest mining companies operating in the country. However, buoyed by a more optimistic outlook for the mining sector globally, the Revised Code was approved by the President without any material changes, despite last-minute lobbying by the mining industry.

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