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The African Legal Support Facility, hosted by the African Development Bank, has been supporting African governments in the negotiation of complex commercial transactions since 2010.
The Facility was established to support African governments in their dealings with deep-pocketed international investors who often took the upper hand in negotiaions. The ALSF is an organization dedicated solely to providing legal advice and technical assistance to African countries.
The facility was established in response to a call by African Ministers of Finance for assistance in three key areas, namely, commercial creditor litigation, the negotiation of complex commercial transactions, and capacity building.
It 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. The ALSF’s goal is to ensure fair and balanced negotiations.
The facility was originally established to assist African countries in vulture fund litigation after African Ministers of Finance recognized that one of the underlying reasons for vulture fund litigation was poorly negotiated and drafted contracts and concessions. The reason for the poor contracts was related to improper legal representation and a lack of local capacity.
The facility is currently assisting African states on 26 projects. Almost 70% of the projects are related to advisory services for either direct assistance in contract negotiation or the building of legal foundations needed to properly negotiate contracts.
Most requests for assistance relate to extractive resources contracts, public-private partnership (PPP) negotiations, commercial creditor litigation, and debt negotiations.
Membership in the ALSF is open to all sovereign nations and international organizations.The facility currently has 52 members, comprising 47 countries and five international organizations. The ALSF is actively recruiting additional members and support for its operations.