The African Legal Support Facility (“ALSF” or “Facility”) was established in December 2008 for an initial term of 14 years. By the end of 2020, the Facility has approved about USD 103 million for more than 292 operations in 45 African countries to support the development of the African legal sector through providing legal and technical advisory and developing legal capacity for various complex commercial transactions in its regional member countries (“RMCs”) in key sectors such as extractives and natural resources, energy, infrastructure and Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), and debt management.
At the first High Level Meeting (“HLM") of the ALSF held on 26 February 2020 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the RMCs noted that the Facility was still relevant for their needs and agreed to continue supporting the Facility’s efforts to develop the legal sector in Africa. The RMCs also recommended that the Governing Council of the Facility extends the duration of the Facility beyond the end of the initial term in 2022.
The Governing Council of the ALSF in their Annual Meeting held on 26 May 2021 considered the recommendation of the HLM, the relevance and effectiveness of the ALSF, as well as the performance of the ALSF since its establishment, and resolved to extend the term of the Facility for a further fourteen (14) years beginning in 2022 (‘New Phase”).
To herald the New Phase, the Facility will hold a high level event to celebrate the achievements of the Facility and the RMCs during the initial period of the Facility; and to deliberate on effective ways to ensure adequate legal and technical capacity of African countries in undertaking important sovereign transactions in the New Phase of the ALSF, as well as galvanise support for the ALSF’s future programmes and activities. The event also aims to share and elicit innovative ways and partnerships to support African countries effectively to address their legal and technical capacity needs in the debt, extractives, energy, and infrastructure sectors, in the face of current and impending challenges such as the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the fourth industrial revolution, and the asymmetry of legal and technical capacity.
Ahead of the high level event to be held on 22 and 23 September 2021, the Director and CEO of the ALSF, Mr. Stephen Karangizi, observed that the Facility had achieved its successes by understanding the RMCs needs and responding quickly, including through innovative means. Commenting on the theme - Smart Legal Capacity: A New Phase for the African Legal Support Facility – he envisaged that ultimately, the new phase of the Facility will be characterized by the increased utilization of smart tools and processes to ensure that the Facility can anticipate and provide effectively the legal and technical support required by RMCs to address today’s challenges as well as develop the capacity to overcome future challenges.