Commercial Law in Africa – An Easy Reference Guide

Established in 1908, Adams & Adams is firmly rooted in Africa. It is not only a firm in Africa but truly an African firm. We call Africa home.

Our head office in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, provides the gateway through which our 68 partners, supported by 588 professionals and staff, render a broad range of legal services to clients in Africa and the rest of the world.

Through our associate offices and long established networks in the majority of Africa’s 53 countries, we serve our global client base throughout the African continent. Africa’s economic potential is largely unfulfilled. This is, however, changing as investors both local and from the rest of the world are realising opportunities on the African continent. The 2014 Global Attractiveness Study conducted by EY reveals that Africa has become the second most attractive investment destination in the world – second only to North America. The World Bank’s Africa Pulse Report for 2014 projects that
economic growth for Africa will remain above the global average for some years to come, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where growth of more than 5% is expected.

We, together with the rest of the world, believe that Africa’s time has come. Governance is improving. The wave of democratisation of a large number of African states towards the end of the 20th century has seen the rise of political institutions and reinforced broader approaches to governance to include more ambitious goals of political responsiveness and accountability. The African Union’s New Growth Path for African Development (NEPAD) endorses democracy and good governance as essential “conditions for sustainable development”.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has gained increased acceptance and influence, with the majority of African countries ratifying all its binding legal instruments, including the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

Investing and operating in Africa is not without challenges, particularly from a legal perspective. Local knowledge of complex legal systems, legislation, courts, applicable processes, prevailing practices and risks can be the difference between success and failure. Over many years, we have gained expertise and built relationships which enable
us to guide our clients effectively through these complexities.

This publication provides an informed overview of pertinent legal frameworks in respect of a selection of African countries that we have identified as being the most relevant to our clients.

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    We have offices in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, please contact your nearest office for any legal enquiry or assistance.

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