Training sharpens lawyers’ negotiation skills in deals – Business Daily
A team of lawyers proceeding to the Public Service Commission offices in Nairobi on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG
More than 90 government lawyers have been trained through an East African Development Bank (EADB) sponsored programme to boost their capacity to negotiate better deals from investors in the extractive sector.
Kenya is among African countries that have often been disadvantaged when it comes to making the most out of its natural resources due to unfair contracts with investors. The trend has been fuelled by a lack of capacity by public sector lawyers to strike favourable deals on behalf of the country.
In the training, lawyers were taken through negotiation tips for a raft of contractual pacts among them exploration, project finance, production licence and production sharing and multi-contracting agreements.
The annual programme has trained a total of 90 lawyers. This year’s participants were 10.
Speaking at the close of the seminar, EADB director-general Vivienne Yeda said the benefits accruing from the sale of natural resources from African countries are essentially supposed to bounce back to the local population to improve their living conditions.
“It is critical that host countries are able to derive tangible benefits from the exploitation of their natural resources. The benefits should accrue to the local communities in form of appropriate royalties, taxes, dividends, business opportunities, professional jobs and employment for skilled labour,” said Ms Yeda.
Senior counsel at the Office of the Attorney General Brenda Opanga decried the bullish nature of extractive investors and development partners, expressing optimism the training would better equip lawyers to secure local interests.
“When we come to the negotiating table, it’s as though we are being forced to take up terms. It’s often a take it or leave it scenario… This training has equipped us with skills to ensure that the government’s interests are well protected when negotiating with investors, banks and development partners,” she said.