The Africa group unites lawyers across K&L Gates in providing integrated legal advice to clients throughout Africa. The group includes nearly 100 members, based in 25 offices across five continents. The group's lawyers actively represent public and private companies, governments and state-owned enterprises in their business, financing, regulatory, compliance, litigation and dispute resolution activities across Africa and internationally.
We advise across a broad range of sectors, including:
- Mining and Metals
- Oil and Gas
- Projects and Infrastructure
- Financial Services
Our experience covers more than 40 African countries from Tunisia to South Africa, and Senegal to Somalia. Our lawyers are noted for their seamless service to clients across multiple jurisdictions and for innovative solutions to legal difficulties that achieve the best possible results for clients.
Key attributes of our Africa group include:
Knowledge base of nearly 100 legal professionals, including English, Arabic, French, Spanish, and Portuguese speakers.
Representation of both African and international clients in a broad range of industries.
Our lawyers have a strong understanding of the subtleties of doing business in each of the different countries across the continent, of the OHADA legal system, as well as of the methods of limiting political risks (such as the use of bilateral investment treaties and insurance).
We have strong relationships with law firms across Africa, which enables us to provide the advice clients require, whether in a single African country or on a multi-jurisdictional basis.
The group spans 25 offices across North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Mining and Metals
With 99 percent of the world's chrome resources, 85 percent of its platinum, 70 percent of its tantalite, 68 percent of its cobalt, and 54 percent of its gold, among others, Africa is particularly well positioned to benefit from the continued demand for global mineral resource. We have the breadth and depth of experience to help develop these opportunities; we cover the mining, minerals, steel and specialty metals industries. We advise a wide variety of clients, including those involved in base metals, precious metals, minerals, coal, steel and specialty metals, and aggregates. Our clients range from junior exploration companies to the world's largest mining companies, with interests throughout Africa.
Oil and Gas
The World Bank projects foreign direct investment to the continent to rise to new record levels of $55-billion in 2015. Much of this growth in investment will be driven by oil and gas exploration and production. Strong exploration efforts in East Africa in recent years have led to the striking of several oil and gas wells, and Mozambique has recently discovered major offshore gas resource. The Group has been actively involved in advising clients on the myriad of legal issues involved with exploring for, producing, transporting, trading, storing, marketing, and processing natural gas, oil, and other petroleum products. Our clients include National Oil Companies, International Oil Companies, independents, service providers and investors.
Transport and Infrastructure
According to a recent McKinsey survey, the lack of electricity and poor transportation infrastructure are major obstacles to growth. The World Bank estimates that the necessary investment in Africa's infrastructure could boost GDP by as much as two percent per annum in the medium term. As such, we expect much of the continent's resource windfall to be redirected into infrastructure projects. We advise clients involved in power generation, transportation (by road, rail and sea), and other social infrastructure sectors, as well as the development banks, government agencies and contractors involved in the financing and building of infrastructure projects.
Telecommunications and Technology
Sub-Saharan Africa's mobile phone subscriptions have increased from $90-million to $475-million in the past seven years, and whilst now around three quarters of people have access to a phone, only 16 percent have access to internet, representing a huge opportunity. Companies such as Google, IBM Huawei, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung are aggressively investing, with Africa seen as being well positioned to adopt the next generation technology because it is not tied to any legacy system. Technology has always been a particular strength of K&L Gates, and our lawyers have an in-depth understanding of the African telecommunications industry We provide a wide range of advice, including in relation to projects and infrastructure; mergers and acquisitions; commercial advice, such as joint ventures, distribution and supply agreements, and outsourcing; and regulatory advice.
Africa's financial services sector is expected to continue its rapid growth. Africa's middle class has tripled over the last 30 years to 355 million (34%) of the population. As a result, domestic and international banks are looking at ways of better meeting the increased need for financial services. On the capital markets front, whilst only a few countries are active in international bond markets, the market is ripe for growth. Zambia recently issued a maiden ten year $750-million Euro bond, at a yield lower than many European countries, and Citi and JP Morgan have recently added Nigerian and South African bonds to their bond indices, which will further support investor participation. Our lawyers have significant experience representing clients in the financial services and related industries. We provide a full range of services relating to financial and capital markets issues, including public policy, derivatives, commodities futures, depository institutions, broker-dealers, securities trading, securitization, hedge funds, insurance, annuities, investment banking, investment management, mortgage banking, and consumer finance.
Between 2002 and 2010, Africa's retail sector created more jobs than any other private sector, with the number of stable wage-paying jobs rising from 10 million to 15 million. And with seven of the world's fastest-growing economies now in Africa (according to the IMF), this trend is likely to continue. Tapping into this regional growth story, Walmart recently invested $2.4-billion to acquire Massmart, with other international retailers such as L'Oreal and Proctor and Gamble actively investing into the region.