East African Development Bank (EADB) will host a high level training seminar for senior lawyers from the region in Kigali, Rwanda. The training, to be held between March 9 and 14, 2014 is designed to build the capacity of public sector lawyers involved in negotiating transactions and drafting agreements for extractive and other industries.
The training which is the first in a series of workshops to be organised by the EADB will bring together lawyers from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. It will be conducted jointly with global law firm, DLA Piper and its non-profit affiliate New Perimeter, which provides pro bono legal assistance. Through New Perimeter, DLA Piper will send eight senior corporate transactional lawyers from six different countries to deliver the training.
EADB Director General, Vivienne Yeda, observed that the last decade had seen the discovery of minerals such as coal, gas, oil, titanium, among others, in East Africa noting that the region had entered a period of ‘economic tipping point.’
“The fundamental question we must ask, going by the experiences of other resource-rich regions in Africa, is whether the region will benefit from these resources, ” said the EADB Boss. She asked: “Can East Africa ensure the newfound resources are converted into tangible wealth for its people, current and future generations?”
DLA Piper Partner, Jay Finkelstein, stated: “Our training is focused on analysing and negotiating the types of complex transactions, including project finance, extractive industry agreements, and public-private partnerships that are most important in East Africa today. We will be using experiential and collaborative training methods to provide practical skills applicable to structuring these transactions in a manner beneficial to the host country.”
EADB believes the training will assist countries in the region to correctly structure extractive industry transactions and related policies and legal frameworks, and thereby reduce the risk of costly or politically complicated dispute resolution at later stages and ensure that host countries achieve tangible benefits from their natural resources.
DLA Piper Partner, Fredrik Lindblom commented that “it is extremely rewarding and a privilege for us to work and share knowledge with senior government lawyers from across the East African Community – lawyers that are and will be spearheading efforts to negotiate good solutions and productive foreign investments for their respective governments. EADB’s work in facilitating this seminar is admirable.”