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African Legal Support Facility hosts discussion on risks and rewards of international capital markets

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Eminent panelists at the “Sovereign Debt in Africa: Options, Obstacles & Opportunities” debate at the AfDB Annual Meetings in Abidjan (left to right): Melissa Butler, Partner, White & Case LLP; Aurélien Mali, Senior Analytical Advisor, Moody’s; Michael Atingi-Ego, Deputy Director, Africa Region, IMF; Michèle Lamarche, Managing Director at Lazard Frères & Co.; Peter Sullivan, Senior Vice-President at Citigroup. Standing - Alan Kasujja, Moderator.

The African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) on May 28 convened a high-level meeting on “Sovereign Debt in Africa: Options, Obstacles & Opportunities” at the African Development Bank’s Annual Meetings in Abidjan which concluded on Friday. 

The event aimed to facilitate discussions between African Ministers, government officials and professionals engaged in sovereign bond issuances about issues and challenges of African countries entering the international capital markets.

Speaking at the event, Seth. E. Terkper, Minister of Finance, Republic of Ghana, stated that it is important to ensure that funds from sovereign bonds are invested in a variety of projects that generate income. He also emphasized the need for governments to ensure that funds are invested in strategic projects that can boost economic growth.

For his part, Stephen Karangizi, Director of the ALSF, said “our interest in this subject is to ensure that African governments are aware that we are available and ready to offer technical support where it is needed. He added that this is a new market for most sovereigns therefore it is vital that governments have access to experienced lawyers who can offer the required advice. 

The ALSF provides assistance to African countries to strengthen their legal expertise and negotiating capacity in debt management and litigation, natural resources and extractive industries management and contracting, investment agreements, and related commercial and business transactions. The ALSF also grants and advances funds to African countries for legal advice from top legal counsel in these areas.

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