The African Legal Support Facility receives GBP 1 million over two years from the United Kingdom

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 15th February 2021 : The African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland acting through the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which provides modalities for cooperation between them, including a GBP 1 million grant from the FCDO to the ALSF to support Building Debt Management Capacity in Low-Income Countries over a two year period.

Previously, the UK extended a GBP 7 million grant to the ALSF to support the provision of legal advice and technical assistance to African Countries to negotiate and conclude equitable, bankable and sustainable agreements that also safeguard their sovereign rights and maximize their resources for economic and social development. Out of the 53 oil, gas, mining and infrastructure-related complex commercial contracts (amounting to USD 97.8 billion in value) negotiated by the end of this programme period in 2017, the UK’s contribution supported 14 contracts, exceeding the 12 contracts originally targeted and representing about 27.2 percent of the GDP of the beneficiary countries.

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, African countries are taking urgent measures to manage the spread of the disease and to limit the human and socio-economic impacts, including the impact on their debt portfolios. In recognition of the extraordinary needs of African countries, and to support the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (supported by the IMF and the World Bank), the UK Government committed GBP 1 million to fund ALSF activities to enhance African countries’ debt management strategies for recovery and rebuilding during and post COVID-19. On 18 July 2020, the UK Government Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, tweeted: “Great to see £1m of #UKaid announced by @RishiSunak to @AfDB_Group @africalegal - which will provide advice and support to African countries to help them manage debts and recover from the coronavirus pandemic #G20”.

Acknowledging the timeliness of the support of the UK Government, the Director and CEO of the ALSF noted that the funds will enable the ALSF to respond effectively to the requests from African countries to provide the legal and technical support required to better manage their debt vulnerabilities and undertake debt restructuring where necessary, to promote sustainable investments and transactions to improve the lives of the people of Africa.

About the ALSF

Created by the African Development Bank in 2010, the ALSF supports governments in negotiating complex commercial transactions, providing legal and technical assistance in public-private partnership projects across the oil and gas, mining and energy sectors, and covering sovereign debt issues and creditor litigation.

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