ALN (www.AfricaLegalNetwork.com) has announced the admission of three new members as part of their strategy to expand into francophone Africa. The new members are based in Algeria, Guinea and Morocco and joined as of 1 May 2017.
Since October last year, the alliance has welcomed six new member firms bringing ALN’s coverage to 16 countries, making it the largest legal alliance of its kind in Africa.
According to ALN’s Chairman, Dr. Cheick Modibo Diarra, “ALN’s expansion strategy has been planned carefully for some time now as we sought out the right firms for ALN, firms that met our requirements in terms of independence, capacity, integrity, expertise and cultural fit.”
He further said that, “It is clear that the Francophone market, and indeed the wider African market, is looking for lawyers that are dynamic, mobile, up-to-date with modern technology and systems and who can bring international experience alongside their local on the ground connections. This is what ALN is all about”.
The new member firms are led by Safia Fassi-Fihri for BFR & Associés in Morocco, Foued Bourabiat for Bourabiat Associés in Algeria and Salimatou Diallo for SD Avocats in Guinea. These three firms have been working closely with each other for some time and sought to join ALN as part of a common strategy focussed on the sustainable growth of their respective practices in francophone Africa.
Joining ALN was the natural next step in the evolution of these firms’ pan-African vision. By partnering with ALN, they will become “first movers” in their market with regional capacity and strong pan-African connections.
ALN views this as a further step in the alliance’s plan to create a stronghold in francophone Africa. Other francophone members include Mauritius, Rwanda and Madagascar. ALN is already entrenched in East and Southern Africa with a large client base of private equity funds, banks, multinational corporations, governments and developmental institutions.
ALN now has integrated Anglophone, Lusophone and Francophone capabilities, setting it apart from other African networks which work on a pure regional or referral basis.
Karim Anjarwalla, Managing Partner of Anjarwalla & Khanna, one of the founders of ALN, commented on the new members that “ALN has been in a ‘consolidation’ phase for some time now as we have been recruiting a team of professional business services resources to properly support ALN member firms. Now that we have the appropriate infrastructure and personnel in place we are able to really drive our expansion plans and introduce a whole new market to ALN clients”.
Anjarwalla further says, “ALN’s continued success in advising on cross border matters comes from our one firm approach of collaborating in virtual teams across multiple offices”. ALN will be able to capitalise on the increase in trade and investment between francophone Africa and anglophone Africa by offering on-the-ground legal resources to clients. ALN members also share resources and exchange business insights, market intelligence and best practices, placing them in an ideal position to advise any client looking to bridge between Francophone and Anglophone Africa.
The new members had the following to say:
Foued Bourabiat from Algeria has said that Francophone Africa is going to have an enormous role to play in the development of the African continent. “What attracted the new members to ALN was that the firms are all committed to working together and combining their respective strengths to create a footprint across the group that no one firm could develop on its own”. Bourabiat has also said that a bespoke Francophone team is in place to coordinate ALN’s efforts and work towards full geographic coverage across the region.
Safia Fassi Fihri from Morocco noted that there has been a significant increase in the appetite of Moroccan clients to expand their business in the rest of Africa. “We at BFR & Associés will use this Pan-African platform to take advantage of the many opportunities that exist for Moroccan businesses to enter other African markets, especially in the finance sector”.
Salimatou Diallo from Guinea told us that this is the first step in ALN’s plan to develop their OHADA law expertise and the group will be looking at ways to leverage off the increased commercial activity into the countries that have adopted the OHADA laws. “This is an exciting time to be a lawyer in Africa, I think we have the opportunity to change the way legal services have been delivered in the region – for the better”.
The ALN team is also gearing up for their Annual Conference in Dubai in October where the members will be hosting a number of panel discussions with key global business leaders to discuss the sectors, regions and opportunities in Africa that provide the greatest investment potential in Francophone Africa and the rest of the continent. The conference hosts over 400 delegates annually and has become one of the most sought-after Africa events in the calendar.