Climate change is at the forefront of policy decision making, particularly given the signing of the Paris Agreement at COP21 in December 2015. Its implications for banks, insurers, investors, the labour market and the economy has been the subject of much debate.
Hogan Lovells recently held its Africa Forum in London. A panel of experts considered the question of why, in the context of Africa, with both the (overwhelming) need and the (ample) means available, the delivery of infrastructure is not happening as quickly as governments and the ultimate beneficiaries of new infrastructure might like. In the context of power and energy infrastructure, this question is amplified given that the power deficit on the continent coupled with the absence of an adequate and reliable power supply is holding back economic development.
At the beginning of the year the Ugandan parliament passed the Financial Institutions (Amendment) Act, 2015. The most notable inclusion is the introduction of Islamic Financial Business, the conduct of financial business in accordance with the principles of Sharia'h Law. Almost 40-years after the practice of Islamic banking and finance began in earnest, Uganda has finally embraced it.
Language and culture hold a very strong place in defining a legal system. In Africa, although some may be under the impression that most Africans speak English as a second language, at least three main languages and two legal systems coexist. In a previous article in without prejudice, the case was made that English language and English law should be the primary choice of law for transactions financing in Africa. But is pushing forward a single model in a continent as diverse as Africa the best way to help it develop, and to ensure the minimisation of legal risks?
From OHADA's (Organisation pour L'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires) inception, its purpose has been to encourage investment into the area, including foreign investments, and thus to support economic development. Its creation results from a political will to remedy the legal and judicial insecurity that prevailed in contracting states by modernising and harmonising their business law, and also from the idea (now deeply rooted in Africa) that the legal environment can be a powerful development tool.
The announcement on 24 June that the UK had voted to leave the European Union came as a shock to people and businesses the world over, even to some "Brexiters" themselves. Now, the question on everyone's minds is, "Is London still open for business?".
Just over one month (at the time of writing) has passed since the UK voted to withdraw its membership from the European Union. There remains much to do ahead of the final withdrawal once Article 50 has been triggered, and a significant degree of uncertainty still exists. The impact of the announcement has been felt in Sub-Saharan African, with many expecting that there will be noticeable consequences for trade into and out of Africa.
In essence the provisions under s31 of the Income Tax Act (58 of 1962), as amended, (the ITA) provide that parties within the same group of companies, in respect of cross-border transactions, are required to conduct transactions/ agreements on terms and conditions that would have otherwise been negotiated and concluded between the parties on an arm's length basis.
With global world events seemingly unfolding on a daily basis, the effect of macro-economic, political and financial matters on the private equity transaction landscape in the emerging markets of the African continent are worthy of consideration.
In an unprecedented move, Britain voted to leave the European Union on the 23rd June. The ramifications of this historical vote are being felt across the globe, not least in the financial markets. In the immediate aftermath of Brexit, as investors sought safe havens amid volatile markets, the US dollar posted its biggest two-day gain against the pound since November 2011. This article considers some of the factors that have led to and support the continued strengthening of the US dollar and the likely consequences for African economies.
Over the past decade or so, the fundamentals of the global economy have shifted. Investors look towards developing economies for higher rates of return as developed nations have become low growth economies. Although China, Brazil and India received much of the spotlight, China is transitioning to a developed economy while Brazil and India face major structural issues to deliver on their potential. This means Africa, despite its own challenges, is definitively the last frontier for capitalist opportunities.
Dealmakers in Africa still face significant regulatory hurdles, with a multiplicity of applicable competition laws and regulators. Obtaining the necessary clearances can significantly prolong deal timetables, and add to transactional costs. Reforms are needed to make Africa a more attractive destination for investment.