Finalists: Law For All; Mediterranean Shipping Company; Nigerian Stock Exchange; Standard Chartered Bank (highly commended); Unilever South Africa (highly commended).

The African Development Bank’s African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) lifted the Legal Department of the Year – Large award, in recognition of its efforts to help African governments reach their development goals.

The ALSF is spilt into two units – the institutional team (which serves as in-house counsel to the bank), and the projects team (which advises governments on complex international deals and cross-sectoral issues). With operations in 41 African countries, ALSF has advised governments on more than $90bn of infrastructure, extractives and sovereign debt deals. In addition, ALSF has trained more than 2,000 lawyers and government officials on issues related to business and commercial law. Some projects it has supported include the development of an online database and template guide for mining legislation; the development of an African public-private partnership (PPP) laws database and handbook on procuring infrastructure PPPs; and the development of three handbooks on the power sector, covering project financing and power purchase agreements.

It has also launched a programme alongside the regional African bar associations to provide advanced training courses on subjects that are not widely taught in African law schools, in an effort to boost the scope of commercial work that local lawyers can undertake.

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