The next two to four decades are “going to be very lucrative” for those who get involved in the development of the oil and gas sector in Uganda and across East Africa, says legal expert Asmahaney Saad.
Now a partner at leading firm KTA Advocates, Asmahaney, is highly experienced in advising on legal and regulatory matters as an in-house counsel for an international oil and gas and telecom company.
“I think as we go forward, we will see a lot of current challenges are going to turn into opportunities,” says Asmahaney, who joined KTA earlier this year to build and lead a projects team that will help clients navigate complex legal and commercial landscapes for key industries.
Asmahaney and her colleagues are now advising on key signature projects in a number of sectors including; mining, health, infrastructure development and oil and gas, which she says “ideally fits” the vision and regional outlook that drew her to KTA.
“It cuts across Uganda and Tanzania and is one of those landmark projects that really cement our vision that we’re able to have an overview of Uganda and the East Africa story.”
The partners at KTA Advocates believe sectors like oil and gas and agriculture are poised to boost the economies in Uganda and eastern Africa towards “middle-income status by 2040”.
For example,“There will be a need for a lot of investment in the oil and gas sector, in terms of infrastructure for the project, in terms of technical services, the drilling, the transportation, the logistics,” says Asmahaney. “With Uganda being a landlocked country, you’re talking about air, road and rail. Monitoring and building the pipeline itself, construction, engineering, there’s a lot of opportunities.”
After leaving in-house practice, Asmahaney worked as a consultant in areas including oil and gas, infrastructure development, financing, and projects. She was impressed by how KTA was future-focused and strategically building key practice areas and agreed to join the partnership.
“In terms of a business, I just felt that KTA really was very alive to what the next kind of legal practice should be like,” she says. “I saw that they really spoke so much into how best a future law firm should run, and what areas we should focus on. We realised it would be a good mix to also bring in the future of Uganda into the practice.”
KTA has set itself apart as a trailblazer in terms of technology and IP, says Asmahaney, and as the natural resource sector develops the firm is looking to harness its expertise to add further value to what Uganda produces, including; lobbying for law reform and policy direction.
“We’re coming up with proposals to see how we can enhance key areas: technology, intellectual property, data protection,” says Asmahaney, who notes that KTA are reviewing laws, thinking creatively about the sector, how to add value to the natural resources, and be more sustainable. “More importantly, as a responsible firm, we’re also thinking about the ongoing global challenges, the environment, and things like that.”
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