African Legal Support Facility Management Board holds key meeting in Abidjan

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The Management Board of the African Legal Support Facility (“ALSF” or “the Facility”) launched a major meeting on November 26 in Abidjan to assess status of implementation of ongoing projects, among others. Discussions are expected to continue to November 27, and will provide an opportunity for the Management Board to consider approval of the work plan and budget for 2015, as well as other substantive documents for transmission to the Governing Council of the Facility. The second day of the meetings will be dedicated to a session under the theme “Mid-Term Review of the ALSF’s Medium Term Strategy”, which is in line with the celebrations of the fourth anniversary of the launch of ALSF’s activities.

Over the years, the Facility has provided direct capacity needs in commercial legal issues to over 500 African experts from more than 45 of the African Development Bank’s regional member countries (RMCs) to raise awareness about the need to enhance negotiations capacity. It has worked tremendously to help AfDB’s RMCs to clamp down on vulture funds across the continent. It is reported that, to date, the Facility has approved over 45 projects and has supported more than 30 RMCs directly in its mandated area. All RMCs have benefitted from the capacity building efforts of the Facility in negotiation of complex commercial agreements with external investors. With respect to vulture funds, this has been mixed picture.

“The Facility successfully defended the DRC against a major vulture Fund (FG Hemisphere) before the US Courts. The victory by the DRC in the case meant huge savings for the DRC in suit for which they would have been required to pay over US $100 million claimed by the vulture fund. But there was also the loss by the DRC of one vulture fund case, Des Moines and Themis, that resulted in an award against the DRC,” said Stephen Karangizi, ALSF Director, adding, “We believe there may be many more cases out there and the Facility has continued its work of highlighting the dangers of vulture funds to the RMCs.”

The Management Board (MB) is the organ responsible for the efficient and effective conduct of all operations of the ALSF. It comprises five members of high integrity and competence, appointed by the Governing Council. They act in their personal capacity and do not represent any country or organization. The Management Board currently comprises Eve Sinare, attorney at law, expert in project finance, banking corporate law and arbitration; Tim Turner, AfDB Group Chief Risk Officer; Ibrahim Sixtus Vusi, expert in financial and policy analysis; Pim De Keizer, expert in international and multilateral development policy and cooperation; and Seward Cooper, international and corporate lawyer currently serving as legal advisor to the President of Liberia.