27 – 28 July 2023 (Zanzibar, Tanzania) – The Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) participated in the premier convention for lawyers, policymakers, regulators, and compliance managers working within corporations, governments, and other organizations organized by the East African Law Society (EALS).

This first-ever East African gathering was graced with the presence of Hon. Omar Said Shaabani, Minister of Trade and Industrial Development of Zanzibar as the guest of honour for the Convention.

This convention was held under the theme “The Future of In-house Counsel in Cross-border Co-operation”. The conference brought participants from East African countries in one room to discuss and explore the key regional and continental trade agreements, the position of In-house counsel and existing opportunities in order to promote cross-border cooperation  within the region.  The participants in attendance were representatives from Ministries; Members of Parliament, Government institutions, Banks, Civil Society, Academia, private practitioners, and corporations.

The discussions in the convention focused on different areas, among the discussions was on the role of In-house counsel and their contributions towards ensuring their institutions adhere to and promote best practices in the region. One of the salient discussions was on the emerging trends of data privacy laws in East Africa and the role of the newly established Data Commissions in ensuring the institutions adhere to the set standards, that promote and protect citizens' right to privacy and to be forgotten. Equally enlightening was the discussion on the regional and continental trade agreements and how In-house counsels could advocate for the implementation of these agreements, through the harmonization of national laws and policies. Finally, the convention gave its first-ever recognition award to In-house counsels who have made a significant impact in East Africa.

This convention was linked to PALU’s activities in the aspect that it is crucial to nurture, recognize and build the capacity of corporate lawyers on the Continent. With the African theme of the year being the “Acceleration of Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement”, this year’s convention was a platform for PALU to engage with East Africa’s In- house counsels and forge an understanding on the best way forward towards the realization and implementation of regional and continental trade agreements, which would eventually foster and allow cross-border law practice for lawyers.

Photo Courtesy of East Africa Law Society

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