find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Africa key to firms’ Asia strategy

Africa key to firms’ Asia strategy

Firms that want to capitalise on the thriving Asia market must examine Africa’s legal landscape, the head of DLA Piper’s global mining sector claimed ahead of a presentation at the Paydirt Africa Down Under conference today (30 August).

Robert Edel (pictured) is speaking on the topic of project risk in Africa and how bilateral agreements can manage that risk at the event in Perth, which also features keynotes by Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr and South Africa’s mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu.

Edel told Lawyers Weekly that Africa is “one corner of an investment triangle with China and Australia” and that firms moving into Asia must examine the African market.

He explained that China and north Asia, specifically Japan and North Korea, are major sources of finance for infrastructure projects in Africa. China’s thirst for resources is also driving investment in the resource-rich continent, he added.

Global firms are beginning to see Africa as a land of opportunity, continued Edel, who believes it is a “good time for firms to be entering the African market”.

Carr, who also spoke at the conference on the emergence of the ‘African century’ compared to the ‘Asian century’, also pointed to opportunities in Africa. He revealed that Australia was scaling up its presence in Africa, with around 200 Australian companies involved in 650 projects in 37 countries in the region.

This makes a compelling case for firms to seek out local partners in Africa, Edel commented.

But, he cautioned, firms expanding into Africa face a number of risks, particularly around the quality of local partners they link up with.

“You have to be careful and conduct due diligence in selecting a local partner,” he said.

Due diligence should also include ensuring the local practice is the “right fit for your firm”.

Operating in Africa also poses risks to clients, Edel continued. He claimed firms must advise clients of risks such as expropriation of assets, change of law, regime change and discriminatory treatment by government bodies.

Firms should also make clients aware of alternative options, such as bilateral investment treaties (BITs), which can provide useful protections for investors, added Edel.

“Firms play an important role in explaining the content of these treaties and what businesses can and can’t do,” he said.

“[Firms] will also act for companies that might lobby the Federal Government to enter into a BIT or strengthen an existing arrangement,” he added.

He pointed out that Australia has a poor record of granting BITs compared to China. Australia has been granted just one BIT in Africa compared to China’s 50, of which 37 are enforced.

“The Australian Government is not keen on BITs, which is hindering investment,” Edel argued.

The 2012 Paydirt Africa Down Under conference will be attended by more than 2000 delegates. The event has attracted miners, financiers, investors, service providers and government officials.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Africa key to firms’ Asia strategy
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
Oct 24 2017
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Oct 24 2017
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...