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Liedekerke participates at the Lex Mundi Series of Symposia on Investing in Africa

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03/12/2013
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Corporate Counsel Emphasize Importance of Local Expertise as Companies Seek to Capitalize on Africa’s Economic Growth at the London Investing in Africa Symposium, Jointly Organized by Lex Mundi and the Association of Corporate Counsel.

The third and final instalment of the Investing in Africa symposia jointly organized by Lex Mundi and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) took place in London on Tuesday, December 3, at the offices of Baker Botts L.L.P., Lex Mundi member firm for USA, Texas.

Lex Mundi member firms and ACC joined forces to present a series of symposia focused on current legal developments and business opportunities in Africa. Building on the success of earlier events in New York and Paris, more than 70 General Counsel, European Counsel, EMEA Heads of Legal and representatives of Lex Mundi member firms, discussed some of the key challenges that arise in connection with doing business across Africa.

The half-day symposium presented a unique opportunity to hear from local counsel and to debate issues including Africa’s rapidly evolving legal regimes and the harmonization of laws within regional institutions such as COMESA and OHADA. Panel discussions covered:

• Doing Business in Africa: Lessons Learned for Mitigating Risks

• Mergers & Acquisitions: Current Developments and Prevailing Trends

• International Arbitration: Advantages, Constraints and Enforcement

In addition, a series of regional roundtables enabled corporate counsel to share experiences and address the practicalities of doing business in various parts of the African continent.

The keynote presentation at the London symposium was given by Charles Robertson, Global Chief Economist & Head of Macro-Strategy (EMEA) at Renaissance Capital and author of The Fastest Billion: The Story Behind Africa's Economic Revolution.

Philippe Malherbe, Partner and member of Liedekerke’s Africa desk, chaired the round table on Investing in Francophone Africa.

The macro picture was refined by corporate counsel and Lex Mundi member firm partners from across 15 African jurisdictions, who detailed their own efforts to facilitate investments, and who emphasized the very local legal and cultural issues that have to be considered when doing business across the continent.

Panellists at the London symposium included corporate counsel, investment bankers and Africa-focused partners from Lex Mundi member firms Baker Botts, Gide Loyrette Nouel, Houthoff Buruma and Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick (represented by Philippe Malherbe and Kristien Carbonez), as well as African member firms, Angola Legal Circle (MLGTS Portugal), Bentsi-Enchill Letsa & Ankomah (Ghana), Bowman Gilfillan (South Africa), Mozambique Legal Circle (MLGTS Portugal) and Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie (Nigeria).

The symposia were specifically designed for in-house counsel advising organizations that operate in Africa or are considering entering African markets. Lex Mundi President Carl Anduri explained, “These symposia formed part of Lex Mundi’s broader objective to help clients in Europe and North America deepen their knowledge of local investment conditions and the relevant legal frameworks based on our unique footprint in Africa and the longstanding relationships among Lex Mundi member firms.”