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African Legal Support Facility (ALSF)


ALSF, hosted by the African Development Bank, has been supporting African governments in the negotiation of complex commercial transactions since 2010.

ALSF provides assistance to African countries to strengthen their legal expertise and negotiating capacity in debt management and litigation, natural resources and extractive industries management and contracting, investment agreements, and related commercial and business transactions. ALSF also grants and advances funds to African countries for legal advice from top legal counsel in these areas. ALSF’s goal is to ensure fair and balanced negotiations.

Negotiation Support General

Regional focus:

Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa.

Assistance criteria:

Must be a member country of either the African Development Bank, or the ALSF.

Sector focus:

ALSF assists governments in the following areas:

  • Extractive resources (mining, oil & gas);
  • Debt agreements / negotiations;
  • Investment agreements;
  • Infrastructure / PPP (transport, water, energy/power etc.); and
  • Agriculture.
  • Commercial Creditor Litigation

Collaboration with partners:

Yes – For example, the World Bank EITAF, World Bank PPIAF, AfDB, PIDA-IPPF, ADETEF, and some private sector entities, among others.

Types of expertise:

Legal: ALSF has in-house legal capacity, but additionally contracts lawyers (generally two international lawyers from a large international law firm and one local lawyer) on a per project basis.

Negotiation Strategy: Lawyers also provide negotiation strategy support.

Economists/ financial analysis: No in-house capacity, but ALSF contracts some external consultants (3-4 in July 2013) to provide support. While ALSF has no in-house expertise on human rights, good governance and fiscal and tax management, informal advice from AfDB staff is available on an occasional basis to provide advice.

Number of in-house experts:

Eight international lawyers.

Length of involvement:

2-3 years.

Fee/non-fee based support:

ALSF primarily provides grants to IDA eligible countries and fragile States. In some cases, it provides reimbursable advances with concessional interest rates.

Speed of response:

From ALSF side 6-8 weeks, but response time can be longer depending on responsiveness of governments.

Practical constraints:

ALSF resource constraints – ALSF only provides limited legal assistance.

Types of negotiation support

Setting the Legal & Policy Framework Stage:

No – ALSF receive many requests to provide assistance, but as a policy leaves this to host governments.

Pre-Negotiation Stage:

ALSF has contracted experts to provide support with the tender process, model contracts and financial structuring.

Contract Negotiation Stage:

In-house and externally-contracted experts (lawyers from international law firms partnered with national counsel) can provide assistance with the development of a negotiation strategy and position, assembly of a negotiation team, direct contract negotiation support, and review of contractual provisions.

Implementation & Monitoring Stage:


Advancing Knowledge-Sharing and Management:

ALSF has funded the following projects:

  1. Understanding Power Purchase Agreements
  2. Africa Mining Legislation Atlas
  3. Public-Private Partnership in Infrastructure Resource Center (PPIRC):

Provider Type:

Support Providers