Dakar, Republic of Senegal, 12 January 2023: The African Legal Support Facility (the “ALSF”) has provided support to the Senegalese Bar Association and the International Union of Lawyers (the “UIA”) in the organisation of the 66th Annual UIA Congress which took place from 25 to 30 October 2022 (the “Congress”). The UIA is a global and multicultural organisation of the legal profession with a membership spread across 110 countries. It promotes the rule of law. It aims at enhancing professional development, training and networking among its members.
The Congress was held for the first time at the Centre International de Conférences Abdou Diouf (CICAD) in Dakar, Senegal in partnership with the Senegalese Bar Association and under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Senegal. The two main themes of this Congress were “Governance of Mining and Energy Resources in Africa and beyond” and “Efficiency and Relevance of our Judicial Systems.”
Regarding the first main theme (“Governance of Mining and Energy Resources in Africa and beyond”), the panel was made up of Mr. Olivier Pognon, Director of ALSF, and Mr. Aboubacar FALL, Associate Legal Partner at SCP AF LEGAL, President of the Société Sénégalaise pour le Droit International (SSDI) as moderators, and Mrs. Aïssatou SY, Legal Director of the Société des Pétroles du Sénégal (PETROSEN), Mr. Ousmane CISSÉ, Geologist, General Manager of the Société des Mines du Sénégal (SOMISEN), and Mr. Moustapha FALL, Doctor of Law, Legal Advisor to the President of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Senegal, as speakers.
The panellists highlighted the continent’s significant natural resources and the disparities in governance, institutional framework and legal capacity. They gave some examples of countries that have taken steps to ensure the sustainable management of their natural resources, including through transparent licensing processes, capacity building of national experts and collaboration among stakeholders.
The Experts on this panel also addressed the negotiation of investment contracts in the mining and energy sectors by sharing their various experiences in this area. Indeed, this exercise is often delicate for the host nation, custodian of the interests of the populations, which must ensure compliance with the principles of good governance while taking into consideration the often-divergent interests of investors.
Regarding the second main theme (“Efficiency and Relevance of our Judicial Systems”), the panel was moderated by Ms. Roseline MBAYE CARLOS, Director General of Mines of Senegal and the speakers included, Mr. Abdoul Aziz SY, Managing Director of Endeavour Mining, United Kingdom, Mr. Djami DIALLO, Former Attorney at the New York Bar Association, Director of Legal Affairs at the Presidency of the Republic of Guinea, Mr. Moussa MBAYE GUEYE, Executive Director of ENDA LEAD Francophone Africa, Senegal, Mr. Bocar-Alpha BA, Country Manager at Invest in Africa, Mauritania.
The recent increase of local content policies and laws in countries producing raw materials, in general, and extractive resources, in particular, aims to promote the beneficiation of extractive products (mining and energy), direct and indirect employment, the development of other sectors, the strengthening of the capacity of national companies to intervene in the whole value chain, etc.
While this dynamic presents important opportunities for local people and businesses, it also entails significant challenges and risks. The Experts on this panel each gave their views on the preparation and implementation of local content policies and legislation, as well as the associated risks and mitigating factors.
Finally, this Congress also enabled the ALSF to organise a special session dedicated to the presentation of its activities. In this context, Mr Olivier POGNON’s speech focused on the organisation of the institution, its role and its mission. The Director of the ALSF underlined its contribution to the fight against vulture funds. The intervention of Mrs. Safaa BARGOUCHI, Legal Advisor and Coordinator of the knowledge platform, focused on the innovative tools developed and proposed by the ALSF for capacity building and knowledge management, in particular the ALSF Academy (www.alsf.academy). This session was attended by more than forty (40) African lawyers including nineteen (19) young lawyers sponsored by ALSF to participate in the Congress.
The ALSF in brief
Hosted by the African Development Bank since 2008, the ALSF has been supporting African governments in negotiating complex commercial transactions, providing legal and technical assistance and developing capacity building tools in the key sectors of infrastructure and public-private partnerships, energy, natural resources and extractive industries, as well as on issues related to sovereign debt and creditor litigation.
Eve EHOURA, Communications Officer: email@example.com
ALSF website: https://www.alsf.int