The platform, which was born from an idea to use Africa’s greatest asset – its people and their ability to communicate, is focussed on linking the legal sectors of core economic hubs on the continent. In the year since launch it has hosted 71,500 visitors with this figure climbing every month.
Our newsroom now comprises eight journalists working from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The articles, so far 168 written and posted, focus on conversations with the people shaping law and the issues that affect them.
For the training sector we have produced four on-line courses. A partnership with the University of Cape Town has seen the production of a uniquely Africa-focussed, cross-border online course on corporate governance. Working with UCT’s Law@work programme, Africa Legal will continue to create law-centred courses, specifically focussed on meeting legal education needs through accessible and affordable content.
In Uganda the International Law Institute/African Centre for Legal Excellence (ILI-ACLE) and Africa Legal are co-operating to bring their practical course on mediation to a wider pan African online audience.
Our careers portal has been busy too. More than 4000 people have signed up for job alerts with 302 open positions, specifically in Africa’s legal sector, uploaded so far.
During this first year’s journey there have been key players who have supported our growth. These include law firms, media companies and strategic delivery partners whose leaders have understood the vision of opening channels for legal communities. To them, we say thank-you.
“We are at the beginning of our journey,” says Scott Cowan, co-founder of the platform with entrepreneur Wendy Bampton, “the support we have received from people in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Cameroon and Mauritius has been incredible.”
“Lawyers are the people who hold the keys to democracy,” he says, “Can you imagine the opportunities that will become available once Africa’s lawyers come to know and communicate with each other as a single community?”
“Lawyers are the people who become the regulators and judges of our countries. They are the people most likely to be politicians and often the presidents of a nation. Our goal is to be one of the players that work with them to build democracy through communication, high-level training and showcasing opportunity.”
For Wendy, the focus of the past year has been on using technology to build a virtual space that meets Africa’s specific needs.
“Advances in technology are shifting and changing the space we are working in all the time. Quality education and training has to be accessible and within the reach of ordinary people which is what we are working to achieve,” she says.
Wendy says that the appetite in Africa for high-level training is unquenchable and working with an internationally renowned university, like UCT, to meet this need is a privilege.
“People in Africa know the UCT brand and they want to be associated with it. For the Africa Professional Services Group, through Africa Legal, to enable this has been a wonderful journey which we are building on.”
Tom Pearson joined the Africa Professional Services Group in London as the Chief Commercial Officer in October 2018 and is working with several global companies to expand their footprint on the continent through the Africa Legal network.
“There is an appetite for doing business in Africa but organisations want to work with people who know what they are doing and who are confident in African markets. We are delighted to be able to offer both our network and technical expertise to make this quite achievable.”
With year one under the belt and Africa Legal now well established and underway, the Africa Professional Services Group will soon be expanding.
The team knows that behind them stands an international advisory board representing some of the biggest names in African law and business. These are people who share the vision and who are guiding the process towards creating a vehicle that promotes democracy and openness through changing technology and education.
We are proud to be the foremost online communication and training channel for lawyers in Africa.