Andrew Skipper MBE, Hogan Lovells’ Chair of Africa Practice, was recently awarded a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for Services to British Trade and Investment in Africa. He spoke to Africa Legal about the award and his future plans.
In a LinkedIn post after receiving the award, Skipper wrote: “I am delighted beyond measure to have received an MBE on the occasion of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. I am especially happy that this recognition relates to the work I have been doing in Africa, a continent I admire greatly, where I have so many friends, and which I know will be the focus of exciting global growth in coming years. I am looking forward to continuing to promote the relationship between the UK and the many countries of Africa in trade, culture, and art across my various roles. Obviously this would not have been possible without the love and tolerance of my amazing and talented wife and daughters, my team and all the friends with whom I work. But most of all this is, for me, a tribute to my mother and father who spent their lives in faith and in the service to others, and who are deserving of this recognition so much more than I. They would be very proud today.”
Alistair Long, UK Trade Commissioner for Africa, had this to say on LinkedIn about Skipper’s work: “For many years Andrew has been a strong advocate and partner of the Department for International Trade (DIT)’s Africa network. Andrew is a member of the working group on legal services for the UK-Nigeria Economic Development Forum, and together we co-chair the UK Government’s Africa Investors Group. Andrew has been instrumental in connecting British business to the wide range of commercial opportunities across the continent, and advancing our UK-Africa trade and investment ambitions.”
When it comes to the future of UK-Africa trade relations, Skipper maintains that Africa is and will increasingly maintain an important global focus for many reasons, including the continent’s rapidly growing working age population. “In addition, there are potential trade and supply chain benefits from AfCFTA and the global supply chain issues experienced during Covid,” he said.
Skipper has been with Hogan Lovells for 37 years, but recently stepped back from his role as partner to take on a new role as Chair of Africa Practice. “I have developed many practices and client relationships over the years, including as global head of corporate, and have been really happy with what I have been able to achieve with the A team and my colleagues in Africa,” Skipper commented. “I continue to support the practice and develop my own interests, whilst my successors, Arun Velusami and Olivier Fille-Lambie, take on the management of the practice, building on their personal experience on the continent.”
In addition to his work at Hogan Lovells, Skipper is a regular speaker and writer on African affairs, promoting the influence and importance of African business and culture, including hosting “The A Perspective” podcast series. He also sits on the Advisory Board for Africa Legal.
After his decades of work in Africa, one of the most important lessons Skipper has learnt is that “in engaging with Africa, it is important to accept how little you know and how important respect and building relationships are. A favourite saying is that you were given two ears and one mouth for a reason and this is something that many engaged on the continent would do well to remember.”
When it comes to his future plans, Skipper says he’s proud of the steps that Hogan Lovells have taken in building a fantastic Africa practice with deep relationships based on trust and genuine engagement. “I expect that to continue, but I am committed to supporting my own relationships across the continent in business, art and culture, to promote understanding and mutual benefit. For me it’s all about listening, understanding and then connecting. And having some fun. This is both a bookend and a launchpad for my career and I’m really looking forward to it.”
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