Slaughter and May and European Best Friends host African Symposium

Slaughter and May has hosted a two-day African Symposium in conjunction with its European Best Friend firms and several major multinational corporations having significant operations in Africa. The objective of the event was to provide a forum in which to share legal, transactional and commercial expertise and experience with some of Africa's leading independent law firms with a view to strengthening relationships with and among such firms. The event attracted 27 law firms from 16 countries across Africa, a region where Slaughter and May has experience spanning a number of decades.

The Symposium, which was held at the Phakalane Resort outside Botswana's capital Gaborone from 16 to 18 October 2012, featured discussions by a group of multinational corporations with major business interests in Africa including Diageo, Philips and Standard Chartered Bank. They provided insights into client expectations and a focus on the laws relevant to their industries.

The six law firm hosts - Bonelli Erede Pappalardo, Bredin Prat, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Hengeler Mueller, Slaughter and May and Uría Menéndez – led sessions on aspects of various corporate, commercial and financing transactions and on practice management within an independent firm.

The Attorney General of Botswana, Athaliah Molokomme, and the President of the Court of Appeal in Botswana, Ian Kirby, provided keynote speeches on the critical importance of the rule of law and the role that the Courts are playing in ensuring an investor friendly environment in Botswana.

Slaughter and May has substantial experience of working in Africa and is committed to growing its practice in this developing market. The firm's Africa group is headed by Nigel Boardman and has developed close relationships with many of the leading African law firms to provide clients in the private and public sectors with the highest level of expertise across the African markets. Recent landmark transactions include advising The Government of the Republic of Botswana in relation to its interest in De Beers; the project financing for the Mostorod Oil Refinery Project, the largest ever project financing in Africa; the procurement by Kosmos Energy on further financing for the Jubilee Oil Field, the largest oil discovery in Africa in the last decade; AngloGold Ashanti on its acquisition of the remaining 50% stake in the Serra Grande mine in Brazil that it does not currently own; PTTEP Africa Investment Limited on a recommended cash offer for Cove Energy PLC; and Aker Solutions on the proposed acquisition of NPS Energy.

Key firms with whom Slaughter and May works in Africa include Anjarwalla & Khanna (Kenya), Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah (Ghana), Collins Newman & Co (Botswana), John W Ffooks & Co (Madagascar and across Francophone Africa), MMAKS Advocates (Uganda) and Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie (Nigeria).

As well as being involved in landmark deals and initiatives involving Africa, Slaughter and May takes its social responsibility in the region very seriously. The firm’s African pro bono projects range from advising the South African Department of Trade on South African Company Law Review to advising on the establishment and registration of a charity defending and promoting justice in Libya through the promotion of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. In addition, Slaughter and May and its European Best Friend firms hosted a know-how sharing event for the Botswana Law Society immediately following their Practical and Legal Education Symposium.