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African Affairs Committee
Business in Africa Law Project

The City Bar’s African Affairs Committee, through its Business in Africa Subcommittee, has launched a new online resource that focuses on legal, regulatory and policy issues relating to business in Africa. The resource will serve as a repository of original content and recommended reading designed to raise awareness about business in Africa among City Bar members and the wider community.

One impetus for this project is that African economies are becoming stronger and creating new opportunities for business. Economies in Sub-Saharan Africa have grown by an average of 5% in the past six years. In 2010, 10 of the world’s 15 fastest-growing economies were in Africa. Analysts have reported that the rate of return on foreign investment in Africa is higher than in any other developing region, and since 2007, foreign direct investment projects in Africa have increased by 20%. Investment opportunities exist in diverse sectors, including consumer goods, infrastructure development and tourism. Opportunities are not just limited to extractive industries.

Another motivation for this project is that socially responsible private sector investment can result in prosperity for investors and the communities in which they invest. Investment can create jobs for unemployed youth and opportunities for entrepreneurs, develop critical infrastructure, lead to skills transfer, and increase tax revenues for development programs. Lawyers play a role in helping investors comply with a host country’s laws and regulations, thereby minimizing investment risk and maximizing the investment’s contribution to the host country’s rule of law.

The web resource will eventually feature content on a variety of legal and policy issues, from anti-corruption law and regional economic integration to business and human rights standards and the U.S. government's role in facilitating African investment. We hope that you will check back for updates, and if you practice in the field, will consider contributing to the Business in Africa Law Project.

Thank you for reading, and please check back regularly for updated content!

Christina T. Holder
Chair, African Affairs Committee



Original Content

Strengthening The African Growth and Opportunity Act: Delivering on Africa’s Promise through NEPAD and the African Diaspora to Reinvigorate the Commercial Relationship Between the United States and Sub-Saharan African Countries(August 2013)
ABSTRACT: Initially signed into law on May 18, 2000, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was welcomed by many as a beacon of hope for Africa's socio-economic development. AGOA has since been amended multiple times and is set to expire in September 2015 if not renewed. By the time this paper is published, government officials from Africa and the United States, together with global business leaders, will have concluded their meeting in Ethiopia for the annual AGOA conference (AGOA Forum 2013). Undoubtedly, what will have been discussed is how AGOA has achieved undeniable successes, such as increasing African exports and creating jobs both in Africa and the United States. However, AGOA has not yet fully achieved its primary goal of significantly improving the lives of millions of African families through sustained economic development and increased access to the United States market, nor has it fundamentally altered the course of trade relations between sub-Saharan African countries and the United States in the long term.

At the same time, for many, Africa is no longer considered as an investment destination for only the brave or reckless. The 23rd World Economic Forum on Africa, held in Cape Town, South Africa in May 2013, declared through its theme "Delivering on Africa's Promise" that now is the time to capitalize on Africa's unprecedented economic growth. In line with such theme, this paper will discuss the origins of AGOA, its achievements, shortcomings and its potential to still serve as a foundation for meaningful trade relations between sub-Saharan African countries and the United States. This paper will also examine the New Economic Partnership on Africa's Development (NEPAD) framework, and explore ways that NEPAD's policies can create better synergies with AGOA to benefit African people. Finally, this paper seeks to articulate ways that AGOA can be strengthened to achieve its envisioned objectives, highlighting the role that the African diaspora community in the United States, and African governments, can play.

Legal Considerations for Investing in Africa: An Interview with Peter Hansen, Esq. (July 2012)
Peter C. Hansen, whose D.C.-based law practice centers on African business investment, shares practical and legal considerations for doing business in Africa with the City Bar’s African Affairs Committee. Mr. Hansen’s advice to investors: know the local community, and involve it. And for the U.S. Government: facilitate American investment by concluding bilateral investment and tax treaties with Sub-Saharan African States.

Foreign Land Acquisitions in Africa (Tad Bardenwerper, August 2012)
This article provides background on foreign land acquisitions, often referred to as "land grabs": why are such transactions gaining popularity, in what countries are they taking place, and what legal and social risks do they pose? The African Affairs Committee and other City Bar committees are interested in exploring these issues, and would like to develop legal tools to be used in negotiating fair and socially responsible land deals in Africa. Mindful that much work has been done on this issue already, we seek feedback from experts and affected communities on what types of legal tools, training or support would be most useful. Please e-mail the Chair of the African Affairs Committee with your suggestions.

Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act: Implementation and Pending Litigation (Kel Jack, November 2012)
This article provides an introduction to the “Publish what You Pay Section of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires publicly-traded oil, gas and mining companies to make annual project-level disclosures of payments made to governments. It covers the response of industry and civil society groups to regulations recently promulgated to implement the law, reporting information for affected companies, and a description of pending legislation to challenge the regulations.

Telecommunications, Media and Technology: A Major Growth Industry in Africa (Lauro Bueno and Christopher R. Clark, December 2012)
This article considers recent growth in the telecommunications, media and technology sectors in African countries and related legal considerations.




Recommended Reading

Working Group on U.S. Investment in Africa: Compendium of Action Plans and Briefing Memoranda

T. Rowe Price, Africa on the Rise

World Bank Group’s Doing Business Report 2012

Ernst & Young, Africa Attractiveness Survey 2012

PricewaterhouseCoopers, 10 Minutes on Investing in Africa

African Economic Outlook 2012

McKinsey & Company, Lions on the Move

The Boston Consulting Group, The African Challengers

Goldman Sachs, Equity Research – Fortnightly Thoughts, Africa’s Turn

Harvard Business School’s Annual Africa Business Conference

Columbia University’s Annual African Economic Forum

AllAfrica Investment and Business RSS Feed

Zambian Economist

Choforche: A Site on Limited Government, Development and Free markets