John is EVP and GC of General Electric Capital Aviation Services. John joined GECAS’ legal staff in Shannon, Ireland in 1996 after working in private practice in London, the U.S. and Bermuda, focused primarily on aircraft leasing and financing. He has worked on numerous aircraft transactions, managed several acquisitions, including GECAS’ acquisition of PK AirFinance in 2000, and led legal aspects of GECAS’ aircraft sales. John graduated from the University of Liverpool with a bachelor of laws degree (LLB) and is qualified as a solicitor in both England and Ireland. He received his MSc in air transport management from Cranfield University and graduated with a master’s in law (LLM) from the London School of Economics.
Cynthia Lareine, Executive Director
With 20 years working experience as both a legal practitioner (UK qualified solicitor) and business development professional, Cynthia has an established reputation as an experienced business developer and relationship manager who is ‘proactive, pragmatic and passionate’ about legal services marketing and business development. Cynthia’s transactional and business development experience includes working with and advising African companies seeking to secure international investment and with international companies seeking to invest and/or establish a presence in Africa. Having lived and worked in Africa, Cynthia understands the cultural nuances of operating within an African context and has extensive experience of partnering with and advising African businesses across multiple sectors.
Prior to joining ILFA Cynthia worked extensively within leading global law firms including as global head of business development for Norton Rose Fulbright and also at Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Hogan Lovells. In 2017, Cynthia founded Lareine Gold Consulting (LGC) an Africa focussed marketing and business development consultancy with a particular focus on advising African law firms engaged in developing and improving their legal services marketing strategy. https://www.lareinegold.com
Cynthia has an established track record in converting strategies into measurable business and revenue objectives through marketing and business development. She is committed to the raising of professional standards across African legal services including uniting and elevating the African in-house legal community.
Kem is the Global Vice Chair of the Private Equity Practice at Latham & Watkins. He is an M&A lawyer with more than 20 years of experience, focusing on UK and international private equity, infrastructure, and M&A transactions.
Kem is recognized as a leader in his field by numerous publications. He is listed in the 2015 Lawyer Magazine’s Hot 100 list as a private equity star, and Chambers Global 2017 recognized him as an Africa Expert, stating: “He’s highly commercial, very experienced and knows the markets inside out.”
Kem sits on the legal advisory boards of various private equity industry bodies.
Tinashe is a senior banking and finance lawyer based in London.
Tinashe focuses on cross-border finance in Africa. He advises local and international banks, development finance institutions and private equity funds in relation to their pan-African transactions. He has acted for Absa/Barclays, PIC, RMB, Standard Chartered Bank and Standard Bank. He has also acted for various development finance institutions including IFC, AfDB, DBSA and IDC.
Tinashe has previously worked for leading legal practices at Allen & Overy, Norton Rose Fulbright and Trinity International LLP, where he advised clients on a range of financings, including project financing, trade and commodities financing and most recently off-grid power development.
Tinashe obtained an LLB from the University of Cape Town in 2003 and is admitted as an attorney in the State of New York
Howard is a project finance lawyer focusing mainly on PPP infrastructure and energy projects in Africa. With more than 30 years’ experience, he has advised on transactions in more than 16 African countries. He has chaired the Dentons’ Africa Committee and been part of the strategy group leading the Eversheds (Sutherland) Africa practice. Market recognition includes being shortlisted by the Financial Times for Legal Innovator of the Year and being one of The Lawyer’s “Hot 100”, as well as being ranked by various legal directories. He has spoken widely on legal topics, provided legal training in Africa and his publications include “Public Private Partnerships BOT techniques and Project Finance” (editor and contributor) and “Electrifying Africa – the hunt for an off-grid solution”.
Geeta is an international finance lawyer who focuses on the Developing Markets. She spent twenty-seven years at Clifford Chance including eighteen years as a partner in the Global Finance Practice, and was co-head of the firm’s East Africa Practice. She recently retired from private practice to pursue a portfolio of interests, and was appointed as a Senior Fellow at the Faculty of Law, SOAS, University of London in July 2016.
Melissa is the London office executive partner for White & Case, chair of White & Case’s Africa Interest Group and a partner in the firm’s Capital Markets group.
A US-qualified lawyer, Melissa focuses on US securities matters, particularly debt and equity issuances out of Sub-Saharan Africa, the CIS and CEE and Turkey. Adept at navigating the legal intricacies of complex, cross-border transactions, she has advised on some of the most ground-breaking transactions in frontier markets in recent years, particularly in Africa.
Vivian is a lawyer with over 15 years’ experience. She is currently, Head of Legal for Asia-Pacific Middle East &Africa (APMA) operations at Novartis, and responsible for providing support to significant litigations, arbitrations and investigations as well as strategic legal support. She also sits on the company’s Go Africa Board and its global Diversity & Inclusion Council. Prior to Novartis, Vivian was a commercial/transactional lawyer at Templars where she led several innovative and disruptive transactions. Her career started in dispute resolution at the law Firm, Chief Afe Babalola SAN & Co. Vivian is a recognized leader in the legal profession with several awards and mentions in ranking publications. She continues to actively speak for the International Bar and other associations on issues that affect cross-border businesses.
Dr. Aboubacar Fall
Aboubacar is the Managing Partner of FALL Partners Law Firm, a full commercial law practice based in Dakar (Senegal). He is also the founder of FALL Alliance. Aboubacar is an experienced legal practitioner and a member of the Senegalese Bar. His areas of expertise include international business law, international investment law, international trade law, international arbitration (commercial & investment), mining, oil & gas, PPP and Private Equity. A former member of the Paris bar. Aboubacar was an active member of the legal team which conceived and established the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF). He served as Chairman of the ALSF Management Board between June 2011 and June 2014. Aboubacar is the President of the Senegal Maritime Law Association, a Titulary Member of the Comité Maritime International (CMI), the Program Director of the African Center for International Law Practice (ACILP) and a lecturer in international trade & business law at University Cheikh Anta Diop, Institut des Métiers du Droit and Institut de Droit de Dakar in Senegal. In 2015 & 2016 Aboubacar was nominated among the 100 most influential people in Africa by the renown magazine Financial Afrik.
Dr. Gbenga Oyebode MFR
Gbenga was an Associate with White & Case, New York between 1982 and 1983. Gbenga is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) (FCIArb) and the Nigerian Leadership Initiative (NLI). He is also a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the International Bar Association (IBA). Gbenga was conferred with one of Nigeria’s highest honours, the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (MFR) in the year 2000. He was Chairman, Access Bank Plc (2005-2015) and the Chairman of Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc (both listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange NSE) and serves on the Boards of MTN Nigeria Limited, Nestle Nigeria Plc and Socfinaf S.A (listed on the Luxemburg Stock Exchange). He is the Chairman of CFAO Nigeria Plc. Gbenga is the past Chairman of the Section of Business Law of the Nigerian Bar Association. Gbenga sits on the Africa Advisory Committee of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), is the Chairman of Teach for Nigeria, Director Teach for All, New York, Member of the Global Advisory Council of the Africa Leadership Academy, Johannesburg, Director Jazz at the Lincoln Centre, New York and Director African Philanthropy Forum. Member Board of Trustees Carnegie Hall, New York, and Member Board of Trustees Ford Foundation, New York. Gbenga was the cover story of Forbes Africa magazine July 2018 publication headlined: “Lawyer- Investor. Gbenga Oyebode, the new face of business in Africa.”