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Addleshaw Goddard – Africa Group Newsletter September 2020

A REGION ON THE RISE

Get up to date with the August 2020 Africa Business Group newsletter. Explore some of the most interesting business news and articles from around the continent.

Visit our dedicated Africa site for more information about doing business in Africa and how Addleshaw Goddard can support you.

INTRODUCTION

We are pleased to present the latest edition of our Africa newsletter.

In this month’s newsletter, we’ve looked at some of the trends that are emerging across the continent in terms of dispute resolution and, in particular, increasing activity in the international arbitration space. As one of our contributors pointed out, the role of corporate counsel in Africa is diverse and challenging. This brings home the necessity of resolving disputes effectively and efficiently, so that management resource can remain focused on core business and revenue producing activities.

Across the continent, significant progress is being made in the resolution of disputes through arbitration. According to the ICC, during 2019, 188 parties from 33 African countries were involved in international arbitrations under the auspices of the ICC. The number of international arbitrations seated in Africa has also increased in the last year, with local arbitration institutions starting to gain traction.

As the arbitration movement gains momentum in Africa, we are responding to support our clients with experience and expertise in representing clients wherever the need arises – we work where our clients work.

GUEST EDITORIALS

SPOTLIGHTING AFRICA’S INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION EXPERTISE AT THE 2ND ANNUAL AFRICA ARBITRATION AWARDS 2020

Agnes Gitau, Partner, GBS Africa; Wairimu Karanja, Founder, Karanja & Co.

Hosted on the sidelines of the annual East Africa International Arbitration Conference 2020, the 2nd Africa Arbitration Awards (AAA) took place on Friday 29th August 2020 virtually.

This was an opportunity to once again shine a light on exemplary leadership and success in Africa Arbitration. The Africa Arbitration Awards incorporated in 2019, aims to celebrate, recognise, and honor outstanding practitioners and leaders in the Africa arbitration ecosystem.

To read this guest article, please click here.

THE DEVELOPING ROLE OF CORPORATE COUNSEL IN AFRICA

Simone Sulcas, Attorney of the High Court of South Africa and Group Legal Counsel at Cape Union Mart

It was late and my concentration was ebbing. The seventh redraft of a property finance agreement can take its toll on even the most conscientious attorney, so when my client jokingly remarked that I would be perfect for the role as their general counsel.

To read this guest article, please click here.

EMERGING TRENDS IN DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN SOUTH AFRICA

Caleb McKellar, Partner, Barter McKellar

Legal practitioners and their clients often, with justification, express dissatisfaction with the costly delays that are associated with tradition litigation. Clogged court rolls and savvy legal representatives who use numerous delaying tactics lead to many a protracted and costly process.

So what alternatives are available to replace tradition litigious court processes in South Africa?

To read this guest article, please click here.

TECH IN GHANA 2020: VIRTUAL EDITION

Now entering its fourth year and seventh edition, Tech in Ghana is back.

Held twice a year, in London and Accra, the high-level conference has become the leading UK-Ghana platform that highlights and connects Ghana’s tech ecosystem to both local and global audiences.

To overcome current live event challenges, this year’s conference will be hosted online by UK venue partner Addleshaw Goddard; bringing its London and Accra editions together for the first time, on 27-28th October.

To register for this event, and to see the full schedule please click here

DP WORLD SEEKS TO ENFORCE AGAINST DJIBOUTI

A subsidiary of Emirati logistics group DP World has applied to a US court to enforce LCIA awards totalling more than US$485 million against the east African state of Djibouti arising from a bitter dispute over a strategic port facility on the Red Sea.

Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) filed its enforcement petition yesterday in the District of Columbia. The company is using Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in New York, the same firm that advised it in the arbitration.

A London-seated LCIA tribunal chaired by Sir Richard Aikens of Brick Court Chambers and including Lord Hoffmann and Peter Leaver QC issued the awards last year, ordering Djibouti to compensate DCT for unpaid royalties and breach of exclusivity rights relating to a concession for a container terminal.

To read this further, click here

MALAMI, AGBAKOBA, OTHERS PUSH FOR NIGERIA TO HOST INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATIONS

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has stated that the Federal Government is preparing a National Arbitration Policy to enable the country to host major arbitral proceedings which hitherto were domesticated abroad.

Malami speaking on this in Abuja last week, said: “It is our intention to look at the existing legislations, with the possibility of enhancing them for the purpose of establishing the national interest as the major enabler of, perhaps, amendment to the existing legislations if the need for doing so arises.

“We are not ruling out the possibility of bringing about Executive Orders to complement same if the need arises. So, indeed we are looking at the possibility of having in place effective legal framework, national policy and associated legislations that will assist the process.”

To read further, click here.

NIGERIA GIVEN GO AHEAD TO CHALLENGE $10BN ARBITRATION AWARD

Nigeria has cleared a major procedural hurdle in a London court that will allow it to challenge a $10bn arbitration award that had threatened to grant roughly a quarter of the foreign reserves of Africa’s biggest economy to an obscure gas company.

In a decision on Friday, English High Court judge Ross Cranston said Nigeria had “established a strong prima facie case” that a 2010 gas project agreement between the government and Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) “was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria”.

The court granted Nigeria more time to appeal against the arbitration award and to investigate further what it alleges is fraud by P&ID and past government officials.

To read further, click here.

KIGALI ARBITRATION CENTRE GAINS INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION

The Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) received 33 cases from July 2019 to June this year, highlighting yet another milestone for the dispute settlement institution. The record included three emergency arbitration cases, according to KIAC.

Beyond Rwanda, the cases registered in the year 2019/20 came from eight countries including India, Singapore, Egypt, China, Kenya and France. Overall, 67 per cent of the new cases were domestic in nature while 33 per cent were international. KIAC says the increase in international cases is a statement of confidence that Rwanda is playing a key role in positioning Africa on the market of international arbitration, as well as its global appeal to users from diverse legal systems and cultures.

To read further, click here.

HUGE GROUP, CELL C DEAL ENDS IN ACRIMONY, FINGER-POINTING

Relations between Cell C and its soon-to-be-former client Huge Group have reached rock bottom, with the former claiming it is owed R60-million by the latter and the latter saying it’s actually the one that’s owed money “morally”.

The two parties have now entered a second phase of arbitration to resolve the acrimonious dispute, with both sides accusing each other of acting in bad faith.

The latest developments in the long-running saga, which has been dragging on since early 2019, come after the high court in Johannesburg last week handed down judgment against Huge Group subsidiary Huge Cellular’s attempt to seek an urgent interdict against the Cell C Service Provider Company from cutting off services, potentially affecting more than 20 000 mainly small and medium enterprise customers.

To read further, click here.

THE 2020 SOAS ARBITRATION IN AFRICA SURVEY CONFIRMS AFRICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SEATS TO BE A FORCE TO RECKON WITH

The biennial 2020 Arbitration in Africa Survey Report (2020 Survey), which is the second in the series, is focused on top African arbitral centres and seats. It identifies the top and busiest arbitral centres in Africa. The survey was commissioned by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and sponsored by the law firm of Broderick Bozimo & Co, Abuja and the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF). An online questionnaire composed of a combination of 27 closed and open questions was circulated broadly within the international arbitration community for completion. The questionnaire was supplemented by a very short focused quantitative analysis based on three broad questions targeted only at arbitration centres operating in Africa. With the maiden edition of the survey confirming that African arbitrators are skilled and possess sufficient expertise, this survey sought to investigate the suitability of African arbitral institutions as well as Africa cities as seats of arbitration. This was in consideration of previous suggestions that African parties prefer arbitral institutions outside the continent.

To read further, please click here.

ZAMBIA DEFEATS POLICE HOUSING CLAIM

Zambia says it has prevailed in a London arbitration brought by a US company under a contract to build a housing facility for the country’s police force – with a tribunal rejecting allegations the state corruptly reassigned the project to a Chinese competitor.

The country’s home affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo said in a media briefing on 22 August that the tribunal had rejected the claim by Lodestar International – ordering the company to pay around US$2.9 million in costs.

He indicated the case was heard at the London Court of International Arbitration. GAR understands the case was governed by UNCITRAL rules and seated in London.

To read further, click here.

ICC CLAIM OVER LATAM CASINO VENTURE TO SETTLE

South African casino hotel chain Sun International has agreed to settle a dispute with its Chilean joint venture partner that gave rise to an ICC arbitration and sell its stake in the venture for US$160 million.

Sun International announced today that it had agreed to settle the dispute with Nueva Inversiones Pacifico Sur (Pacifico) over their joint venture Sun Dreams – a Chilean casino business that also operates in Peru, Argentina and Panama.

The deal will see the South African company (via its subsidiary Sun Latam) sell its entire 65% stake in the venture to Pacifico, an investment vehicle owned by Chilean brothers Claudio and Humberto Fischer, for US$160 million.

To read further, click here.

TELECOMS CLAIM AGAINST SUDAN DISCONTINUED

The first ever ICSID claim against Sudan, brought by a Jordanian-Lebanese telecoms investor, has been discontinued by agreement of the parties. The tribunal issued an order taking note of the discontinuance on 3 August in the claim brought by Michael Dagher. The parties have agreed to withdraw their claims and counterclaims without prejudice. No formal settlement has yet been reached.

To read further, please click here.

CHRIS TAYLOR

Head of Region – Africa, Mergers and Acquisitions

+44 (0)7967 725 651

+44 (0)20 7880 5918

chris.taylor@addleshawgoddard.com

Nick Ashcroft

Partner, Dispute Resolution

+44 (0)7540 558 289

+44 (0)161 934 6278

nick.ashcroft@addleshawgoddard.com

MIKE KUSHNER

Associate, Commercial Litigation

+44 (0)113 209 2661

+44 (0) 7920 547742

mike.kushner@addleshawgoddard.com

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