The upcoming UK-Africa Spring Conference on April 22 will host some big names in African and UK law. Speakers at the event, which is being hosted by the UK Ministry of Justice’s Legal Services are GREAT team and Africa Legal, represent a host of sectors.
Lagos lawyer Sandra Oyewole is a partner with Olajide Oyewole LLP, a member of the DLA Piper Africa family. Her expertise is in intellectual property, technology, media, sport and entertainment and employment law. Her knowledge of Nigeria’s creative and innovative industries means she is regularly called on for legal, business and regulatory advice. In this Q&A she talks about the opportunities and challenges in Africa’s TMT (Technology Media, Telecom) sector.
Where do we currently see most interaction between the UK and African TMT services sectors and how does this impact the kind of advice you provide?
It’s impossible to talk about the work we do in the TMT sectors without mentioning the impact of Covid and the changes it has brought about. We have seen an increase in the demand for our legal services in areas such as employment, health and safety protocols and data protection vis-a-vis the regulatory and compliance issues arising in this regard. There has also been an upsurge in policy advice and the governing laws applicable to edu-tech and health-tech. We have been kept very busy.
What are the biggest opportunities for collaboration between the UK TMT sector and the markets where you work?
According to my telecoms partner, Mike Conradi, effective regulation in the telecoms sector is essential ... effective regulation can support economic development. As the TMT sectors continue to develop across the continent, knowledge, advice, applicability and the impact of regulations are critical for both the private and public sectors. A comparative analysis of TMT regulations in the UK with that of our own markets reveals a varied result and this presents learning opportunities and work in the sectors.
How can lawyers better engage and interact with their counterparts in the UK/African markets for maximum client benefit?
Collaboration between the UK and African markets has only continued to grow. One need look no further than DLA Piper Africa, DLA Piper International and DLA Piper Global. One firm with offices in the UK, Africa and the rest of the world with the same values, similar practice groups and operating in the same sectors. Clients are assured of expert legal business partners offering the same and seamless quality of services at affordable/competitive prices. Technology and a genuine wish to embrace this has played a major role in the collaborative efforts of our lawyers and law firms.
What is your favourite aspect of travel to or engagement with non-home jurisdictions (so UK/specific African jurisdiction)?
Prior to the pandemic, travel was fun. Meeting old and new colleagues from other parts of the world was something I very much enjoyed.The diversity and knowledge shared is something I particularly looked forward to. Now it's all virtual and while not the same it has its advantages.
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