Being well-connected and nourishing great networks over four decades has proven vital in helping local and international clients navigate the challenges and embrace the great opportunities now available in Zimbabwe, say Theophilus Gambe and Taka Gambe of Gambe Law Group (GLG).
“The government’s motto has been that Zimbabwe is open for business, and those who are willing to come in and invest their monies right now are, for lack of a better word, milking it because they’re brave enough to not listen to the naysayers,” explained Taka Gambe, a partner at the highly regarded Harare-based commercial law firm, a member of the TerraLex global network.
As an example, the Gambes say revenue in Zimbabwe’s mining industry has quadrupled in recent years.
The business situation on the ground is quite different to what’s sometimes portrayed in the media, they say, and the firm has seen very large projects they’ve consulted on get off the ground, including lithium and gold mining, renewable energy and infrastructure projects.
“Due to the networks and connections our firm has, we can provide faster and more efficient legal service at lower costs for clients,” noted Taka. “We streamline the process. We can advise and say, ‘Okay, what you’re trying to do won’t work; what you want to do is this’, and outline how it can work with regard to any sanctions, licences or bureaucracy.”
Theophilus Gambe, who established the firm in the early days of Zimbabwean independence when there were very few qualified black lawyers in the country, let alone black law firms, says the experiences gained during those times made for strong foundations and their lasting success.
“Our clients were not just building businesses, but were also forming the foundations of the Zimbabwe we know today,” he explained. “This allowed our firm to establish a unique network across industries as a tried and tested advisor. Our clients have the comfort of knowing the decision makers available through our network are willing to meet with those we’d recommend.”
Gambe Law Group’s deep and fruitful networks are twofold.
The Zimbabwean firm is part of the TerraLex global network, which spans 119 countries, 200 jurisdictions and more than 120 000 lawyers, shared Taka. International clients have come to GLG via the network’s law firms in other countries, and, in turn, they’ve referred clients to the network for advice and expertise in other jurisdictions. “It’s been nothing but good things for clients.”
Locally, GLG is in a unique position due to its extensive networks across industries and government ministries developed over the last four decades. Taka noted that these connections and their understanding of the country’s culture make a big difference. “For some things here it does require a bit of lobbying in order to reach a conclusion because even though Zimbabwe is a commercial business country, there are still traditions and cultural norms that are followed,” he said.
Navigating such issues and bringing about key discussions requires unique expertise. “Because of our vast breadth of clients and how we’ve dealt with issues over the years, when people come to consult with us, we can immediately tell them what may or may not work,” Taka explained. “That’s the unique position we have, and it’s fantastic for us that most decision makers are just a phone call away.”
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