Africa Legal Network expands west with Nigerian member

The Africa Legal Network (ALN), an alliance of independent African firms, has moved into west Africa for the first time by adding Nigerian firm G. Elias & Co as a member.

G. Elias & Co, a 29-lawyer full-service firm founded in 1994, is the network’s twelfth member firm, but its first on the western side of the continent.

ALN members have previously worked with G. Elias & Co on a number of transactions, and the Nigerian firm has participated in training sessions run by the alliance.

The expansion of the network follows the recent appointment of Cheick Modibo Diarra as its board chair. Diarra, currently a UNESCO goodwill ambassador, was the chair of Microsoft Africa between 2006 and 2011 before moving into politics. He served as the prime minister of Mali for nine months in 2012, being appointed as interim prime minister following a coup d’état in March of that year.

Diarra replaces John Miles, who was appointed as ALN chair in 2006. Chief executive Michael Gera said Miles had been key in the network’s expansion since its foundation in 2004.

Commenting on the expansion to Nigeria, Diarra said in a statement: “Nigeria is currently Africa’s number one investment destination and will soon become Africa’s largest economy so it’s a crucial country for ALN’s expansion. Our expansion into West Africa – including Francophone Africa – is a key part of our strategy and we look forward to working with our newest partners on ALN’s latest regional drive.”

ALN was founded by Kenyan firm Anjarwalla & Khanna, alongside Tanzanian firm Adept Chambers and Uganda’s MMAKS Advocates. Its most recent expansion prior to the addition of G. Elias & Co was the addition of K-Solutions & Partners in Rwanda and Omer Ali Law Firm in Sudan, both in 2013.

South African member Webber Wentzel became an associate member last year following its alliance with Linklaters (3 December 2012).

ALN now has members in Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.