African governments spend years defending costly mining contract-related arbitration cases they could have avoided with tighter internal controls, the right legal advice and greater business savvy.

To illustrate the high-cost governments can face in such cases, a trial ended earlier this month in a U.K. court in which Nigeria could face paying an $11 billion arbitration award. The amount of the award has escalated from $6 billion over the past decade due to interest.

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