Public Debt Law regulated in Angola: Presidential Decree No. 164/18 of 12 July 2018 regulates the legal framework for direct and indirect public debt. The Decree revokes Presidential Decree No. 259/10, of 18 November 2010.
Proposed changes to age of consent: The government of Botswana has initiated moves to increase the age of sexual consent from the 16 years to 18 years. The aim is to afford greater protection for minors particularly in relation to child sex crimes and to introduce tougher and more uniform sentencing for certain crimes.
Referendum on contested reforms: Burundi’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza, has set 17th May 2018 as the date for a referendum on a controversial constitutional reform that could keep him in power till 2034.
Burundi withdraws from ICC’s Rome Statute: Burundi withdrew from the ICC’s Rome Statute as of 27 October 2017. Such withdrawal is said not to affect the jurisdiction of the court with regards to alleged crimes committed prior to the official withdrawal date. This means the ICC will continue to investigate killings, imprisonments and enforced disappearances.
Burundi’s Potential Presidential Term Increase: The new draft constitution for Burundi would allow its president to be elected for a renewable seven-year term, with a limit preventing such president from serving more than two consecutive terms. This constitutional change would allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to be elected in 2020 and re-elected seven years later. The new constitution would be in contravention of the Arusha peace agreement, which stipulates that no president may govern for more than 10 years.
Democratic Republic of Congo
DR Congo mining code regulations signed into law: Regulations to implement Congo’s new mining code have been signed into law with no changes, despite objections from mining firms that have been threatening legal action.
Update on Mining Law: Congo has rejected the proposal by the mining industry to soften some provisions in new the mining code in exchange for higher royalties.
New Mining Law: The President has signed a new mining code that raises loyalties and taxes on operators into law. International mining companies have vigorously opposed this law.
Democratic Republic of Congo Revises Mining Law: The new Congolese Mining Law which is yet to be signed by the President drastically raises royalties to be paid to Government by Oil Firms on most of the resources extracted in the country.
The Egyptian Government to offer residency to investors that purchase property within the country: The executive regulation provides that the length of the residency offered will be tied to the cost of the property, with five years being the maximum length offered. The residency law perhaps is aimed at encouraging foreign direct investment and are being fine-tuned and will be issued within a month.
Egypt president ratifies law protecting military officers: Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ratified a bill that could immunize senior military officers from future prosecution related to violence. The law grants senior military officers selected by al-Sisi rewards including immunity from investigation for alleged offenses.
Egypt parliament approves three new draft laws regulating media, press authorities: On Sunday, Egypt’s parliament approved three draft laws aimed at regulating the performance of the Higher Council for Media Regulation (HCMR), the National Press Authority (NPA), and the National Media Authority (NMA).
Uber ban: An Egyptian court has ordered authorities to revoke the operating licenses of the Uber and Careem ride-hailing services and block their mobile apps and software.
Ethiopia embarks on strategies to privatize state owned enterprises: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister has appointed an Advisory Council to advise his Government on the privatization of state-owned enterprises that will ensure the accountability and transparency throughout the process.
Internet access in eastern Ethiopia shut down: Authorities have shut off Internet access in eastern Ethiopia amid an outbreak of violence there, a sign of the challenges facing reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in containing ethnic tensions in parts of the country.
Ethiopian Parliament Passes Amnesty Bill into Law: Ethiopian parliament has passed a proposed amnesty bill into law. The Amnesty law will pave ways for legal amnesty provisions for individuals facing criminal and/or terrorism charges or are convicted of alleged offenses such as outrage against the constitution and terrorism.
MoU Signed to Promote China-Ethiopia Genomics, Biotechnology Cooperation: Two institutes from Ethiopia and China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on scientific and technological cooperation in genomics and biotechnology.
3 Nigerian judges arrive to serve in the Judiciary: Three judges from the Federal Republic of Nigeria have arrived in the Gambia shores to assume duties as High Court judges in various courts in the country. The appointments are as a result of the request by the government of The Gambia through the office of the Chief Justice of The Gambia to the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the deployment of serving Nigerian judges to The Gambia on Technical Assistance.
Hydrocarbon Law: Gabon plans to revise its hydrocarbon Law to attract new investment.
AFED Proposes A Startup Act Enactment in Ghana: Africa Economic Dialogue (AFED) Proposes A Startup Act Enactment as a perennial Solution to Ghana’s Economic Challenges.
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Parliament passes Public Financial Management Bill: The new law repeals the Financial Administration Act of 2003 and its amendment and the Loans Act of 1970. The law seeks to regulate the financial management of the public sector within a macroeconomic and fiscal framework, as well as define the responsibilities of persons entrusted with the management and control of public funds, assets, liabilities and other resources.
Call for the passage of Mineral Revenue Management Law: A tax consultant, Abdallah Ali Nakyea, has called for the passage of a mineral revenue management law to guide the disbursement and utilization of revenues from the country’s mining sector.
International Criminal Court Bill: Civil society groups in Ghana have urged the government to pass the International Criminal Court Bill 2016 into law. Ghana ratified the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court (Rome Statute) in 1999 but is yet to pass it into local legislation
Chamber of Mines and Standards Authority Sign MoU: On the 19 November 2017, the Ghana Chamber of Mines and the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance and strengthen technical cooperation in the fields of standardisation, metrology and conformity assessment.
New Law to Protect HIV Positive Ghanaians: Ghana is in the process of introducing a new law that aims to protect people with HIV/AIDs from discrimination from both their familities and society in general.
Kenyan Parliament introduce the Competition Amendment Bill, 2018: Kenyan Parliament will embark debates on proposed insertions under the revised draft Competition Amendment Bill, 2018 (Bill) that introduce national security considerations as part of the Competition Act, 89 of 1998 (the Act)
Kenya High Court suspends the implementation of excise duty introduced in Finance Bill,2018: The Bill seeks to introduce a number of amendments to the tax regime to mobilise revenues to finance the Government’s Sh3 trillion budget. The court said duty on money transferred by banks is an important issue that cannot be the subject of guesswork or individual interpretation by the lenders. The court ordered the laws suspended until definition of “money transferred by banks” is provided.
Kenyan Senate push for changes in extraction bill: Senators have proposed a raft of amendments to legislation that seeks to ensure locals benefit from the extraction industry. The lawmakers want the Local Content Bill, to expressly include governors or County Executive Committee (CEC) members’ in charge of mining among members of the local content development committee.
The Division of Revenue Bill 2018: The Kenyan Parliament has passed the Division of Revenue Bill for 2018. The bill is an annual law passed by Parliament to divide public funds between national and county levels of government.
Energy Regulatory Commission proposes fuel regulation: Kenya’s Energy Regulatory Commission has forwarded a proposal to create a uniform price for fuel across the country in order to end disparities in a controlled market.
Kenyan Election Law (Election Laws Amendment Act, No. 1 of 2017): Legislators have amended Kenya’s election law to state that in the case a presidential candidate withdraws from a repeat election, the other candidate automatically wins.
Kenyan Competition Act (Competition Act No. 12 of 2010): Following the introduction of the Competition Act in 2010, Kenya has finally established the Competition Tribunal and the Competition Authority of Kenya.
Kenyan Banking (Amendment Act) 2016: Kenyan banks have ignored newly implemented banking regulations regulations, which capped loan interest at 4% above the Central Bank Rate.
Potential UN Security Council Sanctions in Response to Slavery and Human Trafficking: In Libya After public outrage and indignation regarding the modern-day slavery and human trafficking occurring in Libya, the UN Security Council discuss sanctions and use of the ICC against individuals and entities.
Mauritius champions a single cyber law for Africa: Mauritius’ focus on legislation and innovation has positioned the country as one of only a few outside Europe to feature data protection laws in line with the recently enacted GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations)
New Violence against Women Law: Morocco has adopted a new law on violence against women. The new law criminalizes some forms of domestic violence, establishes prevention measures and provides new protection for survivors.
Mozambique Plans Constitutional Reforms: The Mozambican President announced plans for changes in the Country’s constitution to decentralize power.
Proposed Black-Ownership Law by Year-End: Namibia plans to pass laws to better distribute wealth among its citizens, most of whom are black, by the end of 2018. The proposed bill outlines six areas to increase black citizens’ participation in business.
Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) sign cross border trade policy: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development has adopted a regional policy framework on cross-border trade that promises to be a lifeline for the region’s small-scale traders.
Nigeria, Morocco sign agreements on Regional Gas Pipeline, Chemical Plant: Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco on Monday signed three agreements, which included a regional gas pipeline that will see Nigeria providing gas to countries in West Africa sub-region that extend to Morocco and Europe.
Senate initiates two bills to fight drug abuse: The proposed bills are the National Drug Control Bill and the National Mental Health Bill. The drug control bill will focus on proactive law enforcement and regulatory measures towards the eradication of the illicit production and trafficking of controlled substances while the mental health bill will guarantee the rights of persons with mental health illnesses.
Framework Agreement for the Establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area to be Signed: The Nigerian Federal Executive Council has given its approval for the establishment of a free trade zone. The agreement will be finalised during a meeting of African Union Heads of States and Government to be held in March 2018.
Bill to Tackle Money Laundering and Terrorism Funding Passed into Law: The National Assembly has passed into law a bill to make Nigeria’s National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) autonomous in order to tackle money laundering more effectively. This comes after threat from the Egmont group (a body of Financial Intelligence Units across the world) to delist Nigeria unless the local unit gained autonomy.
Hate Speech Offenders to Die by Hanging: A new hate speech bill has proposed death by hanging for any person guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another.
Anti-Torture Act 2017: The Nigerian President has signed the Anti-Torture Act into law. The law penalizes acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, 2017: This act stipulates that a person with a gunshot wound shall be received for immediate and adequate treatment by any hospital in Nigeria with or without an initial monetary deposit and without any clearance from the police.
Buhari Signs 8 New Bills into Law: On 26 January 2018, President Buhari signed 8 new bills into law, including the National Senior Citizens Centre Act, 2018, the Legislative Houses (Power and Privileges), 2018 and the National Institute of Legislative Studies (Amendment) Act, 2018.
Executive Order to Boost Domestic Production and Jobs: President Muhammadu Buhari has signed an executive order aimed at boosting the domestic production of goods and creating jobs in science, technology and engineering in Nigeria.
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission – Regulations on Eligible Customers: Under a May 2017 policy declaration, successor electricity Generation Companies (Gencos) and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) would be able to by-pass the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc and sell electricity directly to Eligible Customers. Since such declaration, there has been uncertainty as to the manner of its implementation and its overall effect on the NESI.
Nigerian Petroleum Law (Petroleum Industry Governance Bill 2017): First introduced in 2008, the Nigerian Petroleum Industry Bill has continuously undergone reform. Major changes include creating effective and separate governing institutions for Nigeria’s petroleum industry.
New Law to Govern Faith-Based Organizations: The Rwandan government is reviewing the existing laws regulating churches and mosques to address irregularities and other inappropriate activities amongst religious groups.
Senate Back Ratification of Three Extradition Treaties: These three extradition treaties between Rwanda and each of Ethiopia, Malawi and Zambia are part of efforts to bring genocide fugitives located in these countries to account.
Proposed Bill Seeking to Ease Cross-Border Movement: A new law has been proposed in Rwanda regarding immigration and emigration in Rwanda aimed at facilitating cross border movements of people living in border communities.
Replacement of the 1998 Petroleum Code: The new code, expected in 2018, is part of the country’s commercial strategy and is meant to promote Senegal’s oil & gas sector domestically.
Somaliland Presidential Elections: Although the country’s original vote was scheduled for July 2015, Somaliland will finally hold its presidential election on Monday, 20 November, 2017.
South Africa to amend gambling laws: South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, has tabled a new bill that sets out harsher rules and regulations for gambling in the country. The 49-page Amendment Bill features mooted changes to how gambling is both structured and regulated in South Africa.
South Africa to allow land expropriation: The South African government says it will pass a law to allow land mostly owned by white farmers to be taken off them without compensation. Ramaphosa said the measures will, among others, include increasing investment in public infrastructure.
South African Breweries (SAB) AB INBEV Signs Guidelines for Good Business Practice by South African Companies Operating in Africa: The guidelines are a voluntary set of principles and standards that seek to ensure that the operations of various South African businesses abroad are in compliance with the laws of the countries in which they operate in, as well as aligned with and in support of government policies and the developmental approach to regional economic integration in the African continent.
New Insurance Act takes effect in South Africa: A raft of changes to insurance legislation has come into effect and will enhance consumer protection and provide new opportunity for insurers.
SA to sign African free trade agreement: South Africa look forward to signing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) agreement. The agreement would make South Africa part of turning around the “framework agreement” into a “commercially meaningful set”’ of relationships within the African continent.
National Kitten, Avarian and Dog Levy Amendment: The South African Government has pushed through a last-minute tax on pets which will see pet owners pay a monthly levy for domesticated animals in their care.
Insurance Law 2018: The new South African Insurance Act provides a consolidated legal framework for the supervision of the insurance sector which is consistent with international standards.
South Africa Traffic Laws: The South African road traffic bill called the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) which passed into law in September 2017 has received criticism from some quarters for its apparent inconsistency with the rule of law.
Proposed Carbon Tax law: Plans are being made by the South African government to enact carbon tax laws in 2019. This move is being opposed by big energy users for fear that the tax will erode profits and drive up electricity prices.
Liquor Amendment Bill: This bill proposes banning the supply of liquor and methylated spirits to persons under the age of 21.
Proposed Law to Outlaw Compensation for Reclaimed Land: South African lawmakers have agreed to pass a law to reclaim land taken away from Africans by white settlers without paying compensation
Mining Charter: South Africa’s mining charter to be finalized in three months. The government of new President Cyril Ramaphosa has said it will negotiate the latest charter with mining companies, prompting the Chamber of Mines to suspend its legal challenge
Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act: The South African POPI Act, which was signed into law in 2013 is expected to become fully effective in the second half of 2018. The law imposes requirements on holders of personal data to guard against unauthorized access.
Arbitration Act 2017: The South Africa’s new arbitration law has come into effect. The law incorporates the UNCITRAL model law, described as the gold standard for domestic and international arbitration.
General Regulation Relating to Bonusing in relation to the Medicine and Related Substances Act: The South African Minister for Health has called for public comment on the Draft General Regulation relating to bonusing, which aims to flesh out the Section of the Medicine Act that prohibits the supply of medicine subject to a bonus, rebate or other incentive schemes.
Competition Amendment Bill 2017: A new competition law to extend the powers of the Competition Commission in matters relating to prohibited practices, market inquiries, procedural changes, mergers and acquisitions etc. is under consideration in South Africa. The extent of these new powers is of concern to many because of its potential to be abused for political gains; there are not adequate policies guiding interpretation and application of the law.
Upcoming Climate Change Legislation: Climate change legislation is to be introduced in South Africa by 2018. Such legislation will require the Departmental of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to implement climate change assessment procedures as a precondition to the opening of any coal-powered stations.
New Merger Notification Thresholds and Filing Fees: As of 1 October 2017, new merger notification thresholds and filing fees apply to mergers that are compulsorily notifiable to the South African Competition Commission.
Labour Laws Amendment Bill: The National Assembly passed the Labour Laws Amendment Bill on 28 November, 2017 granting parental leave to same-sex couples, adoptive and surrogate parents and giving fathers at least 10 days’ paternity leave. The Bill has yet to become law as it is awaiting President Zuma’s signature.
Proposed Changes to Criminal Law (Sexual Offenses and Related Matters): A report published by the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change has proposed recommendations to change the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Act 32 of 2007 to decriminalise prostitution.
Possible “Reserve Price” (Minimum Price) for Residential Property of Defaulting Owners: A change in the law coming to effect in the near future will prevent the abuse of homeowners who are unable to pay their debt.
South Sudan rivals sign final power-sharing deal: South Sudanese President and rebel leader signed a final peace deal in latest efforts to end the civil war in the country.
New Mining Law: The Tanzanian new mining Law compels foreign companies to boost local financial firms. The new law gives companies 3 months to comply with the regulations while also making them apprise the government of how they are enacting these changes.
New Tanzanian Oil and Gas Legislation: The Tanzanian government has enacted new legislation with a view to bringing its oil and gas industry up-to-date. These new laws are contained within:
- The Petroleum Act 2015: The aim of the Petroleum Act is to modernise the regulatory framework of the Tanzanian petroleum industry. It will create the Tanzanian Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority and the Oil and Gas Bureau, both of which will have specialists who will guide the government in its negotiations with the IOCs it contracts with, and in its regulatory functions. Click here to view the full petroleum Act 2015.
- The Tanzania Extractive Industry (Transparency and Accountability) Act: This Act provides that all concessions, contracts, and licenses that relate to the extractive industries are to be published. Noncompliance will result in a criminal offense resulting in a company fine of Tshs 150 million (approx. US$75,000). Click here to view full Act.
- The Oil and Gas Revenues Management Act 2015: This Act will establish the Oil and Gas fund. The fund will be responsible for maintaining fiscal and macroeconomic stability, enhancing social and economic development, amongst other things. Click here to view full Act.
Law on Eliminating Violence Against Women: The Law on Eliminating Violence Against Women, which was approved by Tunisia’s parliament in 2017, has now entered into force. The law makes every form of violence against women illegal. Until the passage of this law, there had been no specific law on domestic violence in Tunisia.
Activists files court challenge over Uganda’s new tax on social media: According to a petition filed by activists to the constitutional court against a levy that civic groups and opposition parties, it is said that the Uganda’s new tax on social media access limits basic rights and harms business.
Uganda court upholds age limit removal: The Ugandans Constitutional Court delivered a verdict on the petition against the controversial age limit removal and approves removing the presidential age limit of 75 years, the ruling that will allow President Yoweri Museveni to extend his three-decade rule.
New Online Mining Licensing System: The Directorate of Geological Surveys and Mines (DGSM) in Uganda is in the process of updating its mining cadaster to an e-government-based mineral licensing system. This arrangement will allow for all statutory processes to be carried out online.
Micro-insurance Law: The Insurance Regulatory Authority is in the final stages of drafting Rules and Regulations for governing Micro Insurance in Uganda. This law will increase penetration by allowing low income earners access insurance products at minimal costs.
Update on Presidential Age Limit: The Ugandan Parliament has finally voted in favour of eliminating the presidential age limit of 75 years.
Ugandan Biosafety Law (The National Biosafety Act 2017): Uganda has enacted a controversial biosafety law, which allows for the use of GMOs.
Scientists say the new law will allow them to conduct in-depth research and take advantage of the multi-locational biotech field trials.
Legislators say The National Biosafety Act will regulate the use of GMOs in agriculture and public health and protect the public from consuming dangerous or unsafe biotechnology products.
Zambia Association in South Africa (ZASA) signs MoU with South African Law firm: ZASA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a leading South African Law firm that will help provide legal representations to Zambians facing Police or Immigration related challenges
Tunisia and Somalia joining COMESA: The Republic of Tunisia and the Federal Republic of Somalia have joined the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), by this addition COMESA’s membership has now increased to 21 member states.
Carlos Lopes to lead African Union-EU trade talks: The African Union has appointed Carlos Lopes as the high representative for the post-2020 negotiations with the European Union.
African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA): 44 African countries have signed an agreement establishing a free trade area. The creation of a free trade area comes after two years of negotiations and is predicted to boost intra-African trade
ECOWAS Court To Sign MOU With African Court: The ECOWAS Community Court and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights are expected to sign an agreement on areas of collaboration that will enhance their contribution to improving respect for human rights in Africa.
Resolution Against Fake Medicines in Africa: African ministers have signed a resolution to strengthen efforts in the fight against counterfeit medicines and health products across Africa.
Africa Disability Protocol: The African Disability Alliance has called on African Governments to ratify the protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa.
Angola and Madagascar Bilateral Cooperation: Angola and Madagascar officially sign a bilateral cooperation agreement.
Greater harmony required if arbitration is to break through in Africa.
Does increased investment in Africa necessarily mean increased arbitration work for African Lawyers?
Are there any opportunities for Africa?
Click here for an article that outlines the ways in which Africa might benefit from Brexit as a result of its ability to renegotiate EPAs (Economic Partnership agreements) to create a “more balanced trade package” for African jurisdictions
Competition in Africa
Deal-making in Africa
It is a difficult market for deal-making in Africa during 2017, but it is not all doom and gloom, explained lawyers from Hogan Lovells at a recent event.
Merkel Suggests Legal Route for Africans Entering Europe
German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggests creating a legal route for Africans facing the issues of human trafficking and modern day slavery to enter Europe at the EU-Africa summit in Abidjan on 29 November, 2017.
Right of Free Movement
The Third African Judicial Dialogue took place from 9 to 11 November, 2017 in Arusha, Tanzania. The justices discussed a ten-year African Human Rights Action and Implementation Plan, 2017-2026 on the right of free movement.
Trump and Sustainable Development in Africa
A study published in October 2017 by John Stremlau, a fellow of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), attempts to explain the impact of Trump’s presidency on sustainable development in Africa and the relationship between Africa and the USA.