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Jay Ireland Joins Covington’s Africa Practice

New York, January 29, 2018 — Jay Ireland has joined Covington as a senior advisor in New York. Mr. Ireland has nearly four decades of senior executive experience across a number of industry sectors, including telecommunications and media, healthcare, energy, financial services, and manufacturing. Most recently, he served as President and CEO of GE Africa, … Continue Reading

Covington Strengthens Africa Practice with Key Additions to Johannesburg Office

  We are pleased to share that partner Ben Haley has relocated to the firm’s Johannesburg office to lead the firm’s Africa-focused compliance and investigations efforts. Mr. Haley joins another recent addition to the Johannesburg office, Robert Kayihura, who will lead the office’s Public Policy and global problem solving practice. Mr. Haley is an experienced … Continue Reading

Summary of the Final 2018 Report of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa

In its final deliverable of the 2016–2018 term, the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (“Council”), issued a call to the U.S. Government and the American business community to make a deliberate effort towards nurturing greater U.S. commercial engagement with Africa. The final report was prepared by the private-sector members of the council … Continue Reading

Covington’s Africa Practice Hosts African Leadership Academy

Covington’s Africa Practice Hosts African Leadership Academy On October 3, 2018, Covington and Burling hosted the African Leadership Academy (ALA) for a celebration of its impressive ten-year existence. Located in Johannesburg, ALA offers a two-year diploma program to some of the most promising students from across the continent. To date, ALA has provided 983 students … Continue Reading

Recent Media Interviews on African Business Trends

Witney Schneidman, Chair of Covington’s Africa Practice, recently participated in a number of media interviews where he discussed various business trends on the continent. Below are links to those interviews.  An interview with CGTN that compared the commercial approaches of China and the United States in Africa. LINK CNBC-Africa’s Closing Bell had Witney Schneidman on … Continue Reading

Project Finance Master Class: Addressing Africa’s Infrastructure Deficit

There are ample studies that quantify Africa’s infrastructure deficit in terms of projects and funding. The World Bank estimates $93 billion of annual upkeep investment is needed for projects and Ernst and Young estimates that there are some 800 projects, largely in the power and transportation sectors, that require approximately $700 billion in new investments. … Continue Reading

Covington’s Africa Practice Will Be at SXSW

Covington’s Africa Practice is looking forward to being a sponsor of the first-ever Africa House at South By Southwest (SXSW) this year. Launched in 1987, with a mission to foster discussion and collaboration in the music and art scene, SXSW has morphed into the ultimate gathering place for creatives, innovators, and technologists. Held in Austin, … Continue Reading

What Next for Trump and Africa?

In late December, the Trump Administration released the “National Security Strategy of the United States of America.” The nearly 70 page document lays out the foreign policy priorities of the current Administration in both thematic and regional approaches. At the time of its release, the press focused on the strategy’s emphasis on Russia and China, … Continue Reading

The Trump Administration’s First African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum

Next week, some 40 African finance and trade ministers, along with a large contingent of senior U.S. government officials will descend upon the coastal city of Lomé, Togo for the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. There will be more eyes on this year’s Forum. Aside from Secretary Ross’ brief address at the … Continue Reading

Can Pension Funds Help Solve Africa’s Infrastructure Deficit?

Despite the global focus on growth trends in Africa, one trend has flown mostly below the radar: the increase in the number and size of pension funds. In addition to evidencing increased income security, the continent’s growing number of  pension funds could potentially be a new source of funding to address Africa’s  infrastructure deficit, estimated … Continue Reading

Africa Events in Washington: A Recap of March

This past March was a busy month in Washington for Africa related events. Covington participated in a number of business focused summits and congressional hearings touched on U.S. – Africa public policy and its impact on the commercial relationship. In early March, Covington’s Washington office hosted the Corporate Council on Africa’s (CCA) Annual Board Meeting. … Continue Reading

Crowdfunding in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges

Crowdfunding—or the use of online platforms to raise money for business ventures from a large base of investors—has been steadily gaining traction in Africa over the past decade. Still, crowdfunding in Africa remains limited compared to other regions: In 2015, the African crowdfunding market amounted to about $70 million, accounting for less than one percent … Continue Reading

ECOWAS Forces Gambian President’s Hand

The end of the 22-year reign of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, ushered in by the December election of opposition candidate Adama Barrow, is widely seen as a win for democracy in Africa. More so than anything else, this is a win for the Economic Community of West African States (“ECOWAS”) and regional self-policing in … Continue Reading

As Europe Divides, Africa Unites with Common African Union e-Passport

In 2015, African Union (AU) Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi, indicated that a plan was underway to implement a single African passport. After recent announcements that the AU passport would be unveiled at the AU Summit in Kigali this month, the long-awaited continental e-passport has finally been revealed. The first recipients of the … Continue Reading

Nigeria Floats the Naira

On May 25th, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, made the long-awaited announcement that the country would no longer peg the naira at N197 to the dollar. This change went into effect on Monday, which was the first time in recent history that the naira’s value was determined by market … Continue Reading

African Development Bank Group Annual Meetings Energize Africa

The theme of this year’s African Development Bank (AfDB) meetings, which ran from May 23rd to the 27th, was timely and necessary: “Energy and Climate Change.” In the first day of the meetings, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina announced the AfDB Group agenda for the continent’s economic transformation, which includes The New Deal on Energy for … Continue Reading

Diamond (Mines) Are Not Forever

In the last week of February, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe announced that all privately owned diamond mines would be nationalized and taken over by the newly created state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Co. The move affected six primarily Chinese companies. This decision is in keeping with the larger nationalization plan for mines that the President announced … Continue Reading

No Holidays for African Currencies

As the currency crisis plaguing Sub-Saharan Africa in 2015 continued through the recent holidays, Nigerians have learned that they can have their naira, but they can’t spend it too. Nigerians saw several restrictions on foreign exchange (“forex”) put in place, limiting what they could do with their naira. Triggered by the dive in oil prices … Continue Reading

AfDB President Launches “New Deal on Energy in Africa”

New African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina chose last week’s World Economic Forum at Davos for the official launch of the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, along with a Transformative Partnership for Energy in Africa (TPEA).  While a candidate for the AfDB president position a year ago, Adesina placed energy at the top … Continue Reading

From the AGOA Forum in Gabon to the WTO Ministerial in Nairobi

For years, many observers treated Africa’s plans for regional integration with a healthy dose of skepticism. Though the skepticism remains, what has changed is the wide-spread acknowledgement and elevated importance of regional economic integration to grow Africa’s economies, create jobs for its rapidly growing youth population, and improve lives. Last month’s AGOA Forum, hosted by … Continue Reading

Africa’s Tripartite Agreement: Another Step toward Integration?

Considerable attention has been paid to the recent signing of the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) which will bind three of Africa’s regional economic communities (RECs) together into one large free trade market of 26 countries, accounting for nearly 60 percent of the continent’s GDP.  How significant the Agreement will prove to be lies in … Continue Reading

Kaberuka’s Last AfDB Annual Meeting Begins and Ends on High Notes

The election of a new president to head the African Development Bank captured the headlines out of Abidjan last week, but the Annual AfDB Programme and meetings were more than electing Africa’s new leading voice on development and inclusive economic growth.  Thousands of people attended this year’s Annual meetings from government, the private sector, and … Continue Reading
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