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Africa urged to negotiate better

AFRICAN Legal Support Facility, an organisation that supports countries to negotiate complex commercial transactions, has called on African governments to negotiate better deals as they undertake public private partnerships (PPPs) to ensure a win-win situation.
The ALSF, hosted by the African Development Bank, was established in response to a call by African Ministers of Finance for assistance in three key areas, namely, commercial creditor litigation, the negotiation of complex commercial transactions, and capacity building.
ALSF director Stephen Karangizi said with many African governments venturing into PPPs to develop infrastructure projects, especially in the energy sector, there is need to negotiate deals that will benefit both parties.
“Investors usually have more capacity and resources and they invest to get the best deal so you need a level playing field during these negotiations because you are assured of better agreements,” he said in an interview recently.
Mr Karangizi said some African countries, including Zambia, have in the past negotiated deals that have worked against them, citing vulture fund litigation, as one of them, hence the need for governments to strengthen their negotiation expertise.
He said the organisation provides assistance to African countries to strengthen their legal expertise and negotiating capacity in debt management and litigation, natural resources and extractive industries management and contracting.
It also provides support in investment agreements, and related commercial, and business transactions.
Mr Karangizi said the organisation has supported about 35 projects in African countries including Zambia, with the organisation assisting the country in PPPs, and capacity building, as the country plans to undertake the Batoka Hydro Power project in partnership with Zimbabwe.