Global law firm Hogan Lovells, in collaboration with Ghanaian law firm Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah hosted a two-day Power Sector focused Virtual Sessions organized as part of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre (LACIAC) & Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria (ACEN) Second Regional Training Workshop on Dispute Management in Africa Infrastructure Projects (DIMAP) 2020 with the support of Aluko & Oyebode, and Funmi Roberts & Co.
The workshop which took place virtually on the 6th and 7th of October 2020 focused on construction projects in the power sector and presented an opportunity for participants to engage on prospects and trends in the power sector, and draw lessons and best legal practices in the management of major power projects in Nigeria and beyond.
The training was delivered by a faculty of experts in the fields of construction, project management, dispute management and dispute resolution, and participants included professionals from the public and private sectors active in the power industry. The panel of speakers included Hogan Lovells London-based Partners Nathan Searle (International Arbitration) and Angus Rankin (International Arbitration, and Construction & Engineering), and International Arbitration and Construction & Engineering colleagues, Dr Ademola Bamgbose (London) and Ilham Kabbouri (Dubai). Also present: Dr Nelson Ogunshakin, OBE, Chief Executive Officer, FIDIC; George C. Okoroma, President, ACEN Babatunde Fagbohunlu, SAN, Head of Litigation, Arbitration and ADR Groups, Aluko & Oyebode and Chairman of LACIAC; Nania Owusu-Ankomah, Partner, Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah; and Funmi Iyayi, Managing Director, LACIAC.
The discussions were structured around legal risk management in all phases of the project cycle (procurement, negotiation and delivery of construction contracts in the power sector), with a particular focus on recent developments and challenges arbitration practitioners have been seeing following the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Nigerian and West African Market.
The workshop started with a keynote speech given by Dr Nelson Ogunshakin, OBE, Chief Executive Officer, FIDIC following a Welcome Address by Babatunde Fagbohunlu, SAN, Chairman, LACIAC and Engr George C. Okoroma, President, ACEN. In their Welcome Address, the Organisers spoke of the purpose of DIMAP and explained that the vision of DIMAP is to be Africa’s most informational and educational training platform that provides current knowledge and skills to practitioners who manage disputes in Africa, with a focus on engineering and construction projects.
Regarding COVID-19, speaking at the session, Angus Rankin, Partner at Hogan Lovells commented on the unprecedented scale and complexity of the pandemic’s impact in contrast to more classic force majeure events of the recent past like the Arab Spring, the unrest in Ukraine or the 2011 Japan Earthquake/Tsunami. He finally, highlighted that we are likely to see changes in the drafting of Change in Law/Force Majeure clauses in the future.
Nathan Searle, Partner at Hogan Lovells emphasised the importance of training programmes like DIMAP. He emphasized how COVID-19 has led to new challenges but also created an opportunity for forward-thinking organizations and bodies to collaborate and ensure improved performance for the industry. Mr Searle noted that training programmes such as DIMAP, which bring together legal experts and those working directly in the industry to share their experience and insights on managing risks, are the right steps towards consolidating and building on best practice in the Nigerian power sector.
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