NAIROBI — African and Chinese laws firms on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that aims to boost Chinese investments in Africa.
The MOU between Lex Africa and the Global Chinese Speaking Lawyers’ Association aims to improve the confidence of Chinese entrepreneurs operating in Africa.
Lex Africa founder member Fred Ojiambo told a media briefing that Chinese firms have began to recognize the importance of seeking legal assistance while doing business in Africa.
“So under the deal, Chinese business community can seek legal advice from Lex Africa partner lawyers who are situated in 20 African countries,” Ojiambo said during a trade and investment forum organized by the Kenya Investment Authority and China’s Shenzhen city.
The deal runs for an initial period of seven years, with a possibility of renewal depending on the outcomes. It is expected to give Chinese firms additional comfort that their investments and contracts will be fully respected.
Ojiambo said that Chinese firms are increasingly attracted to Africa due to the numerous business opportunities present in the continent.
“So our aim is to smoothen the Chinese experiences in Africa so that Sino-Africa relations are enhanced,” he said, noting that the legal environment in Africa is very different from that in China.
“As a result, Chinese firms often face difficulties whenever they find themselves in legal disputes with African governments or businesses,” he added.
Africa has diverse legal systems as African countries inherited different European legal systems.
The deal is also said to expand opportunities for African lawyers.
“We will now get referrals from Chinese lawyers on Chinese entrepreneurs who are seeking to establish presence in the continent and require legal representation,” Ojiambo said.