Lawyers come together to empower the power sector

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Tadesse Kiros Law Office (TK) in collaboration with the Baker McKenzie Law Firm, one of the top law firms in the world, organized a roundtable dialogue last week on the topic of Ethiopian and African power sectors. The discussion, which brought the Private and Public sector together, aimed to create a common ground between the stakeholders and building their capacity on the evolving power sector in the country.
The nation which is in the process of creating the Policy, Legal and Operational surfaces for partnerships between the Private and Public sector has become the center of attention for giant global companies. Last month the Public-Private Partnership Board approved 16 projects and 13 of them are in the renewable power sector.
Issues of potential opportunities and challenges were researched and presented by both sides, comparing the local reality with the global experiences. Participants also raised various issues and held conversations.
Jen Stolp, Partner at Baker McKenzie, presented the financial aspects of the sector compared with global experiences. Titled Funding-trends and challenges, she stressed the transition from the traditional project financing to the modern modalities of financing public projects. She also listed out the major issues in the project financing both from the lender’s side and the projects.
Focusing on the African Energy Projects: trends and lessons learned, Kieran Whyte presented various achievements and challenges faced by projects in Africa.
The Ethiopian Energy Sector: Legal and Regulatory Framework were researched and discussed by Shimeles Hailu, associate at Tadesse Kiros’. In session that went over the government structures and legal frameworks Shimeles elaborated about what the legislation and administration in Ethiopia would look like for the power sector, including the new PPP scheme.
Tadesse Kiros, founder of the office, indicated that the main aim of this roundtable discussion is to establish a close relationship between the stakeholders to establish power projects. He also stated that the sector is very young and needs to develop with expertise an active participation.
The Law office is also operating with limited powers.
“Our office has expertise in different legal specialties but as the law firm arrangement is not allowed here we were not able to perform up to our potential,” Tadesse told Capital. “We are working with law firms which are among the top five on the globe aiming to work with our common clients coming here in Ethiopia. But as the government still doesn’t allow us to be organized as a law firm we can’t specialize in one area or grow competently in the skyrocketing demand of the economy.”
He also stressed that as the economy is opening up and giant international companies are surfacing the need for more professional lawyers is necessary.
The Law office organized similar dialogues on the issues of the commercial laws, last October.
Participants from various government institutions including the Ministry of Finance, Ethiopian Electric Power, Ethiopian Electric Utility and Development Bank of Ethiopia were present.
The office which has been operational since 1996 has 20 experts.