The African Legal Support Facility committed to supporting African governments in commercial negotiations
Seated from left to right: Simon D’ujanga, Minister of State for Energy, Uganda; James Musoni, Minister of Infrastructure, Rwanda; Henry Macauley, Minister of Energy, Sierra Leone. Standing from left to right: Simon Gosling, Managing Director, EnergyNet; Charles Mathias Zulu, Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Zambia; Mamadou Frankalay Keita, Minister of Energy and Water, Mali; Kwabena Donkor, Minister of Power, Ghana; Stephen Karangizi, Director, African Legal Support Facility.
The Director of the African Legal Support Facility has called on international investors to secure business transactions that will be fair and balanced for company shareholders and stakeholders in government. He also said that a major contributor to the exorbitant cost and protracted nature of many African energy projects in Africa is inefficiency at the negotiating table caused by the fact that investors and government are not consistently speaking the same language or the lack of quality advice during negotiations of transactions.
He was speaking at the Ministerial session hosted by the ALSF on June 9, 2015 at the 17th Annual Africa Energy Forum in Dubai. Stephen Karangizi said, “Today there are financing opportunities available for infrastructure projects both public and private. What we need are high-quality strategic projects that are structured and aligned to meet the commitments of African countries and investor expectations.”
Present were Mamadou Frankalay Keita, Minister of Energy and Water, Mali; Charles Mathias Zulu, Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Zambia, Kwabena Donkor, Minister of Power, Ghana; James Musoni, Minister of Infrastructure in Rwanda; Simon D’Ujanga, Minister of State for Energy, Uganda; and Henry Macauley, Minister of Energy, Sierra Leone. Many other African countries were represented by senior government officials and heads of utility and regulatory authorities.
During the session, the Ministers shared their countries successes and challenges in the energy sector.
“I applaud the organisers of this event for providing us with a platform to update ourselves of different perspectives and ways delivering energy solutions for the socioeconomic development of our countries in commercial viable way,” said Kwabena Donkor, Ghana’s Minister of Power.
Henry Macauley, Minister of Energy, Sierra Leone, questioned how African governments can pursue economic development through meaningful investments without putting additional burdens on their national resources.
For his part, James Musoni, Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, stated that Rwanda is recognized as an ambitious reformer with a strong track record in launching a comprehensive development agenda and to be able to attain this the country plans to be a middle-income country in the next five years.
The Ministers also shared key insights and knowledge on the power sector in their respective countries. This included the development of policy, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks.
Participants questioned whether projects in energy require new approaches that demand links to development issues in areas such health and education.
The Ministers stressed that development should be looked at holistically and projects being developed should address unique country individual needs. “Energy has a bigger role to play than just light bulbs.” said Macauley.
The ALSF is a public international organization hosted by the African Development Bank based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. It provides legal assistance to governments related to commercial creditor disputes and contract negotiation. It is currently advising governments on over USD 24 billion worth of transactions and over 1,400 MW of energy projects.