Legal developments in the energy and mining sectors in Francophone Africa

Our Paris-based partner Mathias Dantin has contributed to the International Energy and Natural Resources Law chapter of The Year in Review 2021, an annual survey of the law from around the world published by the American Bar Association (ABA), by writing on recent legal developments in the energy and mining sectors in each of Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Morocco and Senegal.

Please contact Mathias Dantin if would like to receive further information.

Mathias Dantin
Mathias Dantin
Partner, Paris
+33 1 53 57 65 48

GREEN ENERGY IN AFRICA: ACCELERATING ENERGY TRANSITIONS ACROSS THE CONTINENT

Author: Rebecca Major

The following article was first published by Jeune Afrique in The Africa Report (N° 116, July-August-September 2021)

International investors need to reduce their carbon footprint globally and are being pushed by market forces, legislators, courts and shareholders to do so.

Africa needs an “energy progression” as well as an “energy transition”. In many parts of the African continent, it is not a question of changing the way electricity or transport networks are used, but a question of making reliable electricity supplies and transport networks available for the first time. Africa’s natural resources also need to be used to provide revenue for African citizens.

We think that the African continent can use the global “green business revolution” to its advantage.

African governments and legislators can harness this green revolution to facilitate access to electricity for African populations and encourage exports that suit the needs of international investors. The challenge will be to find a happy balance in order to protect the African economic environment with a healthy level of exports, and the social and economic domestic environment with an energy progression.

There will be enormous investments in Europe in these areas in the next few years, by private companies, national governments and the European Union. African governments and African businesses need to position themselves now to capture some of these investments and encourage sustainable investment in the African energy sector going forward.

Some international companies are seeing Africa as a good testing ground for innovative technologies and business models. For example, we are seeing investments and potential investments from Europe (and elsewhere) into off-grid solar, battery storage, improved hydroelectric technology and various uses of blue and green hydrogen. Africa could become an attractive place for using technologies such as hydrogen and renewable sources to make existing and new natural resources projects greener and therefore more marketable in the future. We have been talking to our clients about greener mines, greener gas and LNG production, greener ammonia production and greener refining and beneficiation processes generally in Africa.

We hope to see African policy and legislation continue to evolve to take account of this game-changing revolution and look forward to continuing to advise international investors and governments on these exciting challenges.

We are keen to speak with you about how we can help you achieve your goals in the green energy sector in Africa. For more information, please contact the lawyer below or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact:

Rebecca Major
Rebecca Major
Partner, Head of Energy & Natural Resources, Paris
+33 1 53 57 78 31

AFRICA EUROPE FORUM

Herbert Smith Freehills was a proud supporter of the Africa Europe Forum which was held virtually on 17 – 18 May 2021.

Thomas Kessler, a partner in the firm’s Frankfurt office, joined a panel discussion on the “Role of Renewable Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa’s Power Supply” together with Mario Ledic, Director Governmental Affairs, ANDRITZ HYDRO GmbH, Ravensburg; Dr. Daniel Schroth, Acting Director Renewable Energies, African Development Bank, Abidjan; Peter Schrum, Chairman, Sunfarming GmbH, Alensys AG, Erkner; Barton Shasha, Business Development Manager Afrika, ib Vogt GmbH, Berlin; and moderator Karsten Fuelster, Managing Director, Polaris Consulting & Invest GmbH, Frankfurt.

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The Future of Africa’s Energy Transition

We were delighted to host our live webinar on Africa Day on the topic of the Future of Africa’s Energy Transition. Journalist and BBC presenter, Lerato Mbele moderated the discussion between Ashwin West, Investment Director at African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), Wandile Mamba, Investment Manager – Infrastructure and Climate Project Finance at the CDC Group, along with members of our Africa energy and infrastructure team, Martin KavanaghBrigette BaillieRebecca Major and Paul Morton. The panel debated whether Africa’s energy “transition” could be better described as a “progression”. While the continent has shown its ability to fast track development in other sectors, the panel discussed the opportunities and challenges that the energy sector faces.

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AFRICA EUROPE FORUM – Global Virtual Conference 17 – 18 May 2021

Herbert Smith Freehills is a proud supporter of the Africa Europe Forum. Thomas Kessler, a partner in the firm’s Frankfurt office, will join a panel discussion on the “Role of Renewable Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa’s Power Supply”. Nina Bowyer, a partner in our Paris office and global co-Head of the firm’s Africa Practice Group will join a panel discussion on “The Next Big Thing between Germany and Africa – Hydrogen ?”.

 

 

Register (free of charge) 


For more information, please contact Rebecca Donovan or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact:

Rebecca Donovan
Rebecca Donovan
Business Development & Central Management Executive, Paris
+33 1 53 57 70 90

AN INTERVIEW WITH HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS LLP DISCUSSING M&A IN AFRICA

Lexology GTDT Market Intelligence provides a unique perspective on evolving legal and regulatory landscapes. This interview is taken from the M&A volume featuring discussion and analysis of legal developments, keynote deals as well as an insight into typical transactions within key jurisdictions worldwide.

1. What trends are you seeing in overall activity levels for mergers and acquisitions in your jurisdiction during the past year or so?

Gavin Davies and Rudolph du Plessis: The medium and long-term impact of covid-19, and the effect of lockdown restrictions, on the economies of countries in Africa will probably dominate any discussion about business and M&A activity on the continent for a while. The pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty, not only about the consequences of the lockdown restrictions on the economy, but also the possibility of a second wave of infections and countries’ ability to cope with infections. At the time of writing, the data seems to suggest a slowdown of covid-19 cases in Africa, but uncertainty remains about the social and economic effects of the pandemic. The uncertainty has definitely had a short-term impact on M&A activity and many transactions were delayed, renegotiated or cancelled. We do, however, expect the crisis to operate as a catalyst for change and, as a result, there will be opportunities for those with capital to invest or a desire to expand. However, we think that M&A will be different. One immediate example of such change will be that the due diligence exercise will have to have an increased focus on certain key areas such as supply chain risk (including force majeure and the possibility of further waves of the pandemic). It will also be important to understand what steps the business has taken in response to the pandemic, (eg, payment of rent) and what activities the target may have undertaken (or carried out differently) during the covid-19 pandemic that could give rise to liability.

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AFRICA RENEWABLE ENERGY: ENERGY TRANSITION AND THE AFRICAN RENEWABLES MARKET

For our clients looking to invest in the “green” energy sector, the African renewables market is occupying a growing space in strategic thinking. Projected GDP expansion and rapid population growth will drive up energy demand in Africa, which combined with the presence of rich renewable resources (including wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower) means that African renewables is seen as a clear growth market.

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RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT BROCHURE

Authors: Nila Wilde, Martin Kavanagh, Rebecca Major and Joanne Elson

For Africa-focused developers and sponsors in the renewable energy market, ESG is likely in the forefront of your minds and it is important to show knowledge of what is expected in the responsible investing market in order to ensure swift project development and to enhance bankability. This handy guide profiles the key factors relating to ESG which may impact your business. We hope that this guide provides you with a better understanding of the ESG expectations in the responsible investment market. We are keen to speak with you about your approach to ESG and how we can help you achieve your strategic goals in the Africa renewable energy space.

You can download the English/French version of the brochure below.

ENGLISH VERSION

FRENCH VERSION


For more information, please contact any of the lawyers below or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact:

Stephane Brabant
Stephane Brabant
Partner, Paris
+33 1 53 57 78 32
Antony Crockett
Antony Crockett
Of Counsel, Hong Kong
+852 210 14111
Oliver Elgie
Oliver Elgie
Senior Associate, London
+44 20 7466 6446
Joanne Elson
Joanne Elson
Senior Associate, London
+44 20 7466 2802
Martin Kavanagh
Martin Kavanagh
Partner, London
+44 20 7466 2062
Rebecca Major
Rebecca Major
Partner, Paris
+33 1 53 57 78 31
Elsa Savourey
Elsa Savourey
Avocat, Paris
+33 1 53 57 76 79

Nila Wilde
Nila Wilde
Avocat, Paris
+33 1 53 57 65 50

AFRICA RENEWABLE ENERGY – ‘BANKABILITY’: A CHECKLIST FOR MARKET ENTRANTS AND SMALLER DEVELOPERS

Authors: Martin Kavanagh, Joanne Elson, Josh Attard and Beatrice McGuire

For Africa-focussed developers and sponsors in the ‘green’ energy market, enabling financing and ensuring that the contracts that they enter into are ‘bankable’ is of fundamental importance.

Following on from the release of our guide to the alternative funding options available to support renewable energy projects in Africa, we have produced a handy checklist which sets out the key considerations you should bear in mind when negotiating and entering into various project contracts, to help ensure that the impact of risk allocation on the overall “bankability” of your project is coherent and balanced.

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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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