Amir Shaikh with Morne van der Merwe, Johannesburg managing partner, Baker McKenzie

Finalists: Tinuade Awe, Nigerian Stock Exchange; Luche Joubert, Remgro; Kelebogile (Lele) Modise, Barclays Africa; Faiz Nacerodien, Procter & Gamble (Highly Commended); Mark Stafford, Life Healthcare Group; Madeleine Truter, Setso Property Fund; Warren Van Rooyen, The South African Breweries

African Legal Support Facility’s (ALSF’s) chief legal counsel Amir Shaikh was named General Counsel of the Year for his efforts in developing ALSF and helping grow demand for its legal services among African governments.

ALSF operates in 36 African nations, and through Shaikh’s expert guidance, provides legal advice to governments throughout complex commercial transaction negotiations. That frequently means serving in a diplomatic capacity, helping resolve the often conflicting negotiating priorities of the public and private sectors. Those talents have seen Shaikh invited to speak on a G7 panel of experts about contract negotiation assistance. Shaikh has also been instrumental in streamlining the ALSF’s legal operations by introducing a cloud-based project management system that cuts down on admin and compliance issues, while borrowing performance and management techniques from other industries to improve efficiency.

Under his direction, demand for ALSF’s legal services has increased ten-fold in the past five years, estimated to have helped save African governments more than half a billion dollars. In addition to his reputation as a thought leader on African legal issues, he is also striving to strengthen Africa’s wider legal capabilities through training and other programmes. “Pioneering work, excellent leadership skills and vast expertise in multiple jurisdictions across Africa,” said a judge.

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