With investments in renewable energy projects rising to $3.34bn in 2015, and Morocco set to host the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) 22nd annual Conference of the Parties in 2016, energy has become a rapidly expanding industry in North Africa.
Energy, particularly the renewable sector, has become a major point of entry into the North African legal market. Demand for legal professionals in the region has risen largely as a result of deal structures becoming more sophisticated. The intricacy of legal arrangements across much of North Africa has reached a par with those made in more mature legal markets such as those in Europe and the US.
Morocco remains a focal point for many energy-oriented legal firms looking to enter the African market or expand their reach on the continent, however demand has also increased due to more frequent cross-borders deals with Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. Morocco’s new $9bn Ouarzazate site is set to become the world’s largest solar power farm plant by the time it is completed in 2018, and has positioned the nation as a significant player in the global renewable energy market. Demand for legal professionals with relevant skills is also likely to increase in Egypt where sizable natural gas reserves have been discovered along the Mediterranean coast.
Although geopolitical stability in the region may be perceived as an issue, law firms are likely to benefit from high margins and minimal competition. Ambitious objectives and developments such as those proposed by King Mohammed VI in Morocco will facilitate unpresented growth in the sector, and undoubtedly increase demand for lawyers in the region.