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In-house lawyer jobs to open up in Africa?

Posted by: Laurence Simons 05/08/13

The development of Africa over the last few decades has been a global success story, with the continent enjoying a great deal of growth in many areas - although the vast scale of the area in question means this positive picture is not accurate for every country.

One major shift seen recently is the emergence of home-grown business success and investment, rather than reliance on external sources of funding.

The African Facility for Inclusive Market, a UN programme, has been set up to praise companies for involving low-income communities in efforts to boost economic growth and sustainable development. It recently named Kenya and South Africa as the top nations for these criteria.

Juergen Nagler, a programme specialist, told Standard Media most of the businesses named in the report "are located in economies that are stable and growing".

With companies from across the globe increasingly interested in engaging with these emergent economies, in-house lawyers could see their opportunities on the rise.

In October this year, Legal Week is hosting a conference in Johannesburg aimed at bringing together in-house lawyers and business experts across the sub-Saharan African region, highlighting how legal services have boomed on the continent in recent years.

"As the rest of the world looks to Africa as a prosperous hunting ground for future growth, those who are already established in the market understand the challenges faced in reaping the financial rewards," the organisation declared.

In-house lawyers in Africa, as in the rest of the world, are being asked to deal with increased regulatory burdens while upping their productivity and offering more services for less funding.

Areas to be addressed at the conference include the specific role of general counsel in high-growth economies and the attempts being made to clamp down on business corruption, which has been rife in the past.

Businesses that wish to deal with these problems will need a strong legal team, suggesting that more lawyer jobs could be offered in Africa over the coming decade.