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The Singapore-Africa Law & Investment Club

The increasing incidence of Investment disputes between investors and African state governments was the primary impetus for the formation of the SALI Club. The SALI Club's overall aim is to educate international investors on the resolution of investment disputes (whether through arbitration and/or mediation and/or adjudication processes) and the benefits of investing in Africa as a whole. The secondary aim of the Club is to provide an informative platform of cutting edge analysis and discussion relating to the ongoing economic and political developments sweeping the continent.

Given China’s spectacular and substantial investment into Africa, we believe Singapore and other Asian nations are also well placed to do likewise. As investors increasingly look further afield beyond developed markets for growth and returns, Africa, blessed with abundant natural resources and a youthful entrepreneurial population is the distant shining star shining brighter by the day. Explore and discuss the legal risk and protections which arise from doing business or investing in Africa. Our purpose is to educate ourselves about investment flowing into Africa predominantly from a legal perspective although we shall also cover topics such as political stability, national security, economic and infrastructure challenges in various African states. These risks and/or challenges raise the cost of investment and may deter foreign direct investment altogether which may adversely affect economic growth. It is vital therefore that businesses and investors already in Africa and those interested to make investments into Africa properly understand their legal rights and obligations according to domestic and international law.

A sound ADR and international arbitration framework provides international and local businesses as well as investors investing in Africa with the re-assurance that their business interests, investments and assets will be protected and thus reliance on unreliable and inefficient state courts will not be necessary. It is logical to assume that cost effective and transparent dispute resolution processes will encourage new businesses to venture into African markets. The SALI Club will look to explore the legal landscape and in particular consider the use and effectiveness of International Investment Agreements (“IIAs”), in particular, Bilateral Investment Treaties (“BITs”) executed between Asian and African States giving investors the ability to obtain arbitration awards which may be enforced against state assets. We shall also keep in mind the New York Convention (which has been adopted by more than half of all African states) and consider the general ease or difficulty found with enforcing arbitral awards on the African continent.

An non exhaustive list of the type of issues which typically gives rise to investment disputes under IIAs are:

  • Alleged direct expropriations of investments.
  • Legislative reforms in the renewable energy sector.
  • Tax related measures such as denial of tax exemptions
  • Termination, non renewal or alleged interference with contracts or concessions
  • Revocation or denial of licences.

Who should become a member?

  • Companies and institutions looking outwards to developing markets in African states to make investments
  • Venture capitalists
  • Equity funds and investment managers
  • Property developers
  • Infrastructure and construction businesses
  • Investors in ports
  • Transportation and the storage industry
  • Trading houses
  • Offshore and renewable energy industries
  • The telecommunications industry
  • Banks and individual investors

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