Having relocated from London to Tanzania a decade ago, dual-qualified M&A and private equity expert Michael Strain says it made strategic sense to now align his own East African practice with the leading African firm that shares similar values and ambitions.
“Two things really attracted me to Bowmans, number one being their fantastic commitment and investment to the African continent,” said Strain, who joined the Bowmans partnership in late February after several years as a Dar es Salaam-based partner of a global law firm.
“I’ve spent the past ten years advising people on the best way to invest in Africa, and the only way to succeed in this continent is you have to be in it for the long term, and you have to be 100% committed,” commented Strain, who’s ranked as a leading lawyer in all major directories. “I can do that, and that’s something Bowmans have demonstrated to me – that 100% mentality, strong desire for further growth, and their stated goal to be the preeminent African law firm.”
The other thing that drew Strain to Bowmans was the firm’s culture, with shared ideas around the value and importance of collaboration, respect for each other, and creating a genuine, friendly and collaborative working environment – something that isn’t always easy at large law firms.
“It’s been really marvellous,” he said. “We’re just really excited about the future.”
Bowmans chairman Ezra Davids says Strain joining the firm’s partnership will expand Bowmans’ capacity in the growing African marketplace, with his experience in corporate law and his track record in East Africa enhancing their local team at a time when Tanzania and the wider East African region are becoming more and more attractive to foreign investors.
“It’s such an exciting time for Tanzania at the moment,” shared Strain. “We’ve seen a significant uptick in the ease of doing business, then corresponding interest in investment from foreign corporates. For me, it’s really about being at the forefront of that while growing and building, and leading, alongside my Bowmans partners here, a market-leading team.”
Strain credits new Tanzanian president Samia Suluhu Hassan with introducing key measures to improve the business environment and local attitudes to foreign investors. Along with rising confidence in the capital city, growing investment, and new restaurants and businesses “opening up every day”, Strain notes “huge opportunities” in Tanzania and East Africa in a range of industries including tourism, and a mining sector aligned to the global energy transition.
“It’s almost like you think of something we need to change the world, like the way the energy market works, and literally Tanzania has got it all,” he said. “Then, looking across the region, it’s also generally a positive story. Uganda has very exciting stuff going on in the oil and gas and mining space. Kenya has incredible opportunities across every sector. There’s an incredibly vibrant economy in Ethiopia now, after some difficult years.”
Strain is excited for East Africa’s future and his own, and looks forward to partnering his rare blend of international and local perspective with Bowmans’ “genuinely integrated offering” and broader platform that’s “unrivalled” on the continent.
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