South African business is booming across Africa as the continent entrenches its position as a prime investment and business destination. In 2016 South Africa was the fifth largest investor economy in Africa, according to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2018, with $24 billion of foreign direct investment by South Africa into the rest of the continent.
But exploring and concluding deals on the continent can be complex and challenging, as recent penalties levied against even the largest South African firms for non-compliance in African territories have shown.
As market leaders in the online legal technology space, LexisNexis South Africa has launched a resource that caters for South African corporations pursuing business in other parts of Africa, who need to understand evolving legal and regulatory landscapes covering labour laws, taxation, occupational health and safety and other standards and regulations that apply in these jurisdictions.
Getting the Deal Through is a new offering within the authoritative and comprehensive online research product, Lexis® Library. It is expertly compiled by leading legal practitioners from across the continent, specialising across more than 60 research areas. Getting the Deal Through allows users to find out how to close the deal in more than 20 African territories and to compare the differences between the applicable laws in different territories. The content is presented in a simple and concise Q&A format, which includes key topics on the law and regulations that apply in these territories.
Thabo Molefe, Divisional Director for LexisNexis’ Legal Information and Compliance division, says the new solution is of relevance across a wide range of industry verticals attracting strong cross-border business investment, such as financial services (banking and insurance), mining, engineering, petrochemical and energy, retail, manufacturing, automation, construction, civil development and telecommunications.
“By establishing a relationship with an international developer, LexisNexis has been able to procure the best content from all over the continent, as prepared by legal professionals from various African territories. We’re now providing this information in a unique way, by categorising it per territory. This means that all research areas for a specific territory are grouped together, in order to make the user’s research experience easier,” explains Molefe.
This move to offer legal information and compliance content follows work that LexisNexis has already done in a number of countries in Anglophone Africa, having partnered with governments, judiciaries and acknowledged legal experts to rehabilitate the laws in these countries. LexisNexis then provides access to these updated laws through reference works in multiple formats covering legislation, law reports, legal commentary and journals.
“The main driver of our work has been our global ethos of upholding the rule of law,” says Molefe, adding that governments in these jurisdictions often struggle to consolidate and update laws comprehensively on their own due to resource and skills limitations.
“This is where they benefit from the advantage of being supported by one of the oldest and strongest publishing brands with our mature and refined editorial and printing processes. “From that flows our work on law reports and case law which are used by the legal fraternity.
Molefe said there is now also demand beyond English speaking African countries for similar services.
“We are very excited about the Getting the Deal Through content and its potential to improve the ease of doing business, as well as compliance with local laws and regulations, while helping to ensure good governance by South African corporations exploring opportunities on the rest of the continent,” he says.
Getting the Deal Through is the latest development in the expansion of African content offered by LexisNexis, following the recent addition of African country legislation, commentary and regulatory information to a single, centralised platform within Lexis Library, alongside new African content offered by the compliance tracking and alert system Lexis® Assure.
There are presently more than 20 jurisdictions covered by Getting the Deal Through, including the following: Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.