Law firm Bowmans has expanded its services to Malawi and Zambia despite the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic that is crippling the world economy.
The announcement comes less than a year after it announced it was opening a new office in Mauritius and entering into an alliance with Assefa & Associates Law Office in Ethiopia.
Bowmans is now present in eight African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Bowmans explained that trade and investment were increasing on the African continent before Covid-19 and it expects it to pick up again following the pandemic.
Bowmans chairperson and senior partner Robert Legh has described the move as "a bold step in uncertain times".
“Now, more than ever before, we are focusing on our vision of being the pre-eminent African law firm serving our clients wherever they are on the continent. Despite the Covid-19 uncertainty, the tie-ups with Malawi and Zambia are timely. Both countries are in the World Bank’s top 10 sub-Saharan Africa countries in terms of ease of doing business for 2020 after having been ranked, in 2018, among the world’s 10 most improved economies when it comes to regulatory reforms that make it easier to do business,” said Legh.
The firm says its clients will lead the way in trade and investment opportunities, as the move will allow Bowmans to prepare with experienced, local lawyers in key market.
As part of the move, Bowmans took into account Malawi and Zambia’s involvement in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) – the regional free-trade area comprising 21 member States.
Malawi hosts the Comesa Competition Commission, which is responsible for enforcement of Comesa competition law. Zambia hosts the Comesa Secretariat which is responsible for economic and trade policies for the bloc.
In Malawi, Bowmans is teaming up with barrister and chartered accountant Elton Jangale, who has more than 18 years of experience in transaction advisory services.
“I’ve been working with Bowmans for some time and I am familiar with the way they operate. This is a great opportunity for my firm and for Malawi to join a truly pan-African business whose focus is on improving access to high-quality legal services for its clients,” he said.
In Zambia, Bowmans has brought on board senior practitioner Mabvuto Sakala, who has 18 years of experience in corporate, commercial, banking and public policy advisory work, and dispute resolution, and will serve as the firm’s managing partner.
Seasoned lawyer Bwalya Chilufya-Musonda, who specialises in mergers and acquisitions, competition, banking and finance, capital markets, and tax law, will also come on as partner.
They will be initially supported by two senior associates in the Zambian office.
“We are very excited about these developments. We believe in Africa’s potential and are committed to supporting our clients and our people, as they seek to unlock opportunity, overcome challenges and realise the hopes that will shape the future of the continent,” said Legh.