A Region on the Rise

Get up to date with the May 2020 Africa Business Group newsletter. Explore some of the most interesting business news and articles from around the continent.

Visit our dedicated Africa site for more information about doing business in Africa and how Addleshaw Goddard can support you.


This special edition of our newsletter focuses on the response of businesses and governments to COVID-19, along with the potential impact both in economic and legal terms, but also on the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Whilst we cannot underestimate the damage that COVID-19 has done, and will do, as a number of our articles highlight, there is also good reason to be optimistic. Immediately prior to the pandemic, several African countries were experiencing enormous economic growth. In the months following, the high level of inter-governmental co-operation across African nations, allied with the entrepreneurial spirit prevalent throughout the continent, may well translate into progressive and exciting commercial opportunities when the immediacy of the pandemic has passed. 

Finally, we'd like to say a huge thanks to all our special guests who have contributed to this edition.

Guest Editorials

Impact of COVID-19 on Sub-Saharan Africa 

Alex Booth, Kroll Associates 

With the ultimate impact of COVID-19 on African markets still unknown, Kroll’s Alexander Booth shares some perspectives from ground level.

To read this guest article please click here

COVID-19: Counting the Costs of the Pandemic on African Economies 

Professor (Dr) Adebisi Adewole, Deputy Director, CAREED and Agnes Gitau, Partner at GBS Africa

Professor (Dr) Adebisi Adewole, Deputy Director, Centre for African Research on Enterprise and Economic Development and Agnes Gitau, Partner at GBS Africa, discuss the cost of COVID-19 on African Economies

To read this guest article please click here

Impact of COVID-19 on Contracts: Force Majeure and Related Remedies under Ethiopian Law 

Dadimos Haile, Tadesse Kiros Law Office

The outbreak of COVID-19 is having a wide-ranging impact on lives and livelihoods around the world. While Ethiopia has thus far been spared from the high level of infection and deaths witnessed in other parts of the world

To read this guest article please click here

The Impact of COVID-19 on Ghana

Kweku Aggrey-Orleans, 12 King's Bench Walk

The Covid-19 virus audited Ghana’s health, welfare and numbers. The economic statistics may have been whatever they were up to that point, but the public health threat from mid-March (first case reported on 13 March 2020) was real 

To read this guest article click here

Now is the Time of Ubuntu

Keith Kibirango, Save the Children

Keith Kibirango, head of Africa Philanthropy, for Save the Children reflects on the impact of COVID-19 on Africa's children. 

To read more click here

Investment Treaty Claims in Pandemic Times: Potential Claims and Defences

Nathalie Allen, Addleshaw Goddard

States are announcing new measures daily to combat the spread of COVID-19 and to mitigate the consequent economic damage. In seeking to contain the spread of the disease, governments have declared states of emergency under their domestic laws and have imposed unprecedented restrictions on movement and gatherings. These measures have involved emergency declarations empowering governments to take control of private businesses, closure of borders, imposition of stay-at-home orders, suspension of mortgage and utility payment obligations, restrictions on exports and closure of non-essential businesses. Further measures are likely to be imposed in response both to the virus itself and to the economic destruction it continues to cause. For instance, many states have already announced substantial economic aid or stimulus packages, sometimes targeted in order to protect specific businesses. 

To read this guest article please click here

Oil & Gas - Impacts of Oil Price Crash

Angus Rollo, Addleshaw Goddard

Just as the more oil-dependent economies in Africa were starting to recover from the ravages of the oil-price slump of 2014-16, they have now seen oil prices dip to new historic lows through a combination of over-supply and a significant drop in demand in a COVID-19 affected world. 

To read this guest article please click here

Save the Children's Billable Hour

As you know, Save the Children are working tirelessly to respond to this global pandemic. A billable hour can help train local health workers around Africa to spot and treat COVID-19, give them the protective equipment they need, and make sure children at highest risk are safe. We hope you will join us by donating and sharing that you are standing up for justice through Billable Hour.

To donate please click here


AfCFTA must go ahead say African business leaders

The COVID-19 crisis is not a reason to delay the commencement of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement on 1 July but rather a reason to accelerate it, say a group of leading African business figures.

In an open letter to African Heads of State published by the AfroChampions Initiative they call for a COVID-accelerated phase one in to start in July 2020 and a COVID-delayed phase two to go ahead when the pandemic has eased.

To read more click here

SMEs receive Covid-19 support in Southern Africa

Schemes in Angola and South Africa aim to support small and medium-sized enterprises against the economic impact of the pandemic.

With Sub-Saharan Africa of the Covid-19 pandemic, Southern Africa’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have received some crucial support from the South African government and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

To read more click here

East Africa: Lobby Urges Leaders to Prepare Joint Recovery Plan

Companies in the region are pushing for tax waivers on medical devices and food to cushion businesses as countries face an upsurge in Coronavirus cases.

The East African Business Council (EABC), a regional lobby for business and the private sector, said in a statement said that EAC member states should waive Customs duties and value added tax for medical devices and protective equipment from the region and other highly demanded goods in battling Covid-19.

To read more click here

AfDB commits USD 10 billion to pandemic fight

States and the private sector in Africa will benefit from up to USD 10 billion from the African Development Bank as they battle Covid-19.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is to provide up to USD 10 billion to help its member states fight the impact of Covid-19.

To read more click here

Tanzania's president calls for debt forgiveness to help battle virus

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli called on international creditors on Wednesday to cancel debts owed by African nations to enable them use the savings to battle the coronavirus.

Tanzania has so far reported 284 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Authorities have been urging people to observe personal hygiene to slow its spread, but Magufuli has so far rejected calls to lock down the main city, Dar es Salaam.

To read more click here

Afreximbank announces $3m COVID-19 response grant for African countries

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced a $3m grant to complement continental efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Afreximbank President Prof. Benedict Oramah, who made the announcement in Cairo, said that the grant was in response to a request by African heads of state, through the auspices of the African Union Chair Person, Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, for the mobilisation of resources to address the pandemic.

To read more click here

African leaders laud AfDB President for visionary leadership amid COVID crisis

South Africa’s President and African Union chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa and the Nobel peace laureate and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have commended Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank for his visionary leadership and bold initiatives to accelerate Africa’s development and to support the continent through the COVID-19 crisis.

President Ramaphosa expressed appreciation for the Bank’s commitment of $26 million for the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, its support in the procurement of critical medical supplies in Africa, and the financial instruments the Bank has provided to assist member countries through the pandemic.

To read more click here

Africa's oil producers impacted by OPEC production cut

Africa’s oil producing nations have not been spared the impact of the global decision to reduce oil output. About 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa produce oil, which accounts for most of their annual export income.

Crude oil prices rose marginally on Friday (May 1) as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their allies started reducing output.

Major producers in April agreed to a production cut deal by 10 million barrels a day in May and June. The record production cut is a way of balancing the mismatch between supply and demand in global oil prices due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To read more click here

ECOWAS leaders strategise to combat COVID-19

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has scheduled a virtual meeting of Heads of States of member countries to further discuss the coronavirus situation in the sub-region, tomorrow, April 23.

The ‘Extraordinary Session’ which be held via videoconference follows an earlier meeting involving the “ministers in charge of Finance and the governors of central banks from the region” on the COVID-19 situation.

According to a statement from the Authority of ECOWAS, the “heads of state will be discussing the situation and impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the ECOWAS region.”

To read more click here

Standard Chartered commits GH¢1m toward COVID-19 relief

Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited has announced that it is committing an initial GH¢1million to support emergency relief in aid of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana. This is in line with its brand promise to be ‘Here for good’, particularly in times of adversity.

In line with government’s objective to conduct widespread testing for COVID-19, the bank is donating portable Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing equipment to leading Medical Institutions mandated to carry out contact tracing and testing in the country.

The bank will also be supporting frontline medical staff with N95 masks, gloves and coveralls. The items will be presented to hospitals and health facilities across the country.

To read more click here

Key Contacts

Chris Taylor

Chris Taylor

Head of UK M&A and Africa
London, UK

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Nick Ashcroft

Nick Ashcroft

Partner, Dispute Resolution
United Kingdom

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Harold Brako

Harold Brako

Partner, Head of Manchester Office, Co-head of Financial Services Sector
Manchester, UK

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