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+ 27 11 535 8000
The Central, 96 Rivonia Road, Sandton, 2196, Johannesburg, South Africa

Award brings accolades to LEX Africa

LEX Africa members take pride in winning the African Network/Alliance of the Year category at the 10th ALM Law.com International African Legal Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa on 01 September 2023.  LEX Africa is an alliance of independent law firms with more than 700 lawyers across 30 countries in Africa.

LEX Africa members take pride in winning the African Network/Alliance of the Year category at the 10th ALM Law.com International African Legal Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa on 01 September 2023.  LEX Africa is an alliance of independent law firms with more than 700 lawyers across 30 countries in Africa.

While the award may mean different things to the different LEX Africa members, top of the list is the huge recognition the award brings to the alliance, says Jackie Jhala, partner at Corpus Legal Practitioners, LEX Africa member firm in Zambia. “And in turn it brings visibility to each of the member firms. The alliance is only as strong as its membership and the award brings recognition for each of its members, so it’s a win for everyone. And each member firm brings a different level of expertise to the alliance.” 

Jhala says LEX Africa won the award for several reasons, including the consistency with which it carries out its mandate and the shared principles of its member firms.  “The alliance’s 700 lawyers offer a wide range of cross-border and local services that reflect the rich diversity of the African continent. This allows them to provide valuable insights into local customs, practices and business etiquette when advising clients.”

“I think the relationships the firms have among themselves also contribute to LEX Africa achieving its goals and why the alliance won the award.”

Members benefit from sharing expertise

Jhala highlighted that members benefit from sharing expertise and competences, leveraging off each other’s strengths and referring work to other member firms within the alliance.

“Another positive is that we don’t receive work only within Africa, but through the alliance’s reach beyond the continent, which one can trace back to the relationships between members.  We have also been exposed to more complex work through referrals from outside of Africa through the alliance and clients are comfortable when they see that,” says Jhala.

On why LEX Africa won the award for the best African legal network, Amadou Barry, lawyer at Thiam & Associés, the LEX Africa member firm in Guinea Conakry, was not surprised at LEX Africa being selected as the winner of the award.   “The way LEX Africa works and connects its members and allows them to navigate and grow is priceless.  It allows independent law firms to do their own business and at the same time share their skills and their abilities and to connect with other law firms across Africa.” 

The alliance’s vision has been critical

Barry says the long-term vision of LEX Africa to keep growing and hosting new members has been critical. “It has existed for decades, yet it has carried on growing year after year, and this is characteristic of the alliance.”

LEX Africa has enabled Thiam & Associés to do business and connect with member colleagues across Africa and share expertise. “We have even visited offices of our LEX Africa colleagues in Senegal for instance,” says Barry.

Capital markets winner awarded for supply chain transaction

One of the top LEX Africa winners at the 10th African Legal Awards was Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah, a full-service law firm and LEX Africa member for Ghana, who won the Capital Markets Team of the Year (Medium Sized Firm) category. 

The firm presented a capital market transaction which has supply chain finance embedded in it. “Our client has built a supply chain finance platform to aggregate suppliers and buyers of goods and services,” says Frank Akowuah, partner at the firm. “The client, Factorex, is incorporated in Mauritius.”

He says the platform gives buyers of goods and services access to funding through capital markets, and the issuer of the funding is able to buy the invoice, pay them off and wait to be paid by the buyer eventually. There is also an element embedded in the platform that does due diligence on the buyers and suppliers. 

Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah received the award for the structuring of the transaction. The firm’s mandate was to make the platform market-ready within the applicable laws of Ghana, says Akowuah. It also had to ensure that the platform did not require a licence from the regulatory.

Jonathan Skamable, who worked with Akowuah on the transaction, added that the Ghana stock exchange has approved the listing of the securities. “And we are waiting for clearance from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Ghana to distribute the offer documents in relation to the product, which should happen shortly.” 

There are plans to replicate the structure of the platform that has been developed in Ghana and roll out the product in Nigeria, Kenya and other African countries. 

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