Canadian Lawyers Finding Themselves In-Demand In Africa

Canadian Lawyers

Photo by Graham Holliday / CC BY

Economic development in Africa is reaching levels not previously seen on the continent, mainly due to the many challenges presented there such as civil wars, corruption, and inefficiency. Even with the challenges of conflict and unrest the economy in Africa continues to grow every year due to the investments by other countries.

The continent of Africa is extremely unique in that it welcomes with open arms lawyers from other nations, and in fact finds them an integral part of their economic growth. The legal system of the African nations have European origins, and the Canadians ability to work in Francophile (meaning someone who speaks primarily French) jurisdictions along with the lack of historical baggage makes the Canadian lawyer a welcome addition. This makes perfect sense due to the fact that many of the participating countries were once French colonies.

West and Central Africa have the goal to make business law in their countries more “harmonious” and have implemented OHADA, which in English translates to “Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa” in an attempt to promote economic growth on the continent. Canadian law firm Eversheds LLP has gone a step further with their plans to sponsor a specific law degree for OHADA which will teach OHADA law to students and professionals alike, as well as implementing the Eversheds African Law Institute with the goal of allowing member firms located in Africa access to knowledge sharing programs and training, which will foster further economic growth.

 Canada’s extensive experience with foreign infrastructures along with their expertise with both mining and energy companies makes them invaluable to the African economy. That coupled with the Canadian governments’ efforts to begin free-trade negotiations with Morocco will give strength to the Canadian energy, telecommunication, agriculture, and education sectors.

Africa is unique in their willingness to accept lawyers from other nations; in fact most other countries present such regulatory blocks that it is not worth it to even try. Studies have shown that growth in the legal sector in developed nations has all but stopped, which is why there is such interest in investing in Africa. China, India, and the United Kingdom are among the top investors in the African economy, with the United States lagging far behind.

Growth in Africa is on the rise and is expected to reach more than five percent by the year 2015. The country is blessed with natural resources and countries like China are taking advantage of the low commodity prices, with other countries following close behind.