Access to information is critical. Especially in Africa, where each country presents different practical challenges and cultural nuances. Operating environments are sometimes tough and regulations opaque. Not doing your homework and failing to understand and comply with local laws can significantly increase the cost of doing business. Making sure that you never drop the ball can be cumbersome and costly, especially in environments where there is almost no trustworthy information available, no commoditised products exist and where it is sometimes difficult to find the right local advisor.
Having had first-hand experience of this problem, we set out to help businesses active in, or with an interest in, Africa to easily and instantly access the expertise and know-how they need about local markets in Africa, giving them trusted answers to real legal questions that arise in practice. Mid-2017, we started building Africa’s largest and most advanced legal know-how platform. With close to 100 of Africa’s leading legal counsel involved in contributing knowledge to the platform and thousands of experts in 20 countries, Afriwise is without a doubt the largest collaboration between legal experts in Africa. Combined with the technological tools offered by our own proprietary platform and delivering content in an intuitive and highly accessible way, we believe that we are solving a significant problem in Africa and that we make doing business in Africa more affordable and accessible.
Our cloud-based platform helps businesses work smarter and cost-effectively by giving them pragmatic, standardised and up-to-date legal knowledge about African markets, quickly, effectively and on demand on users’ mobiles, tablets, desktops and laptops on an affordable subscription basis. The FAQs cover a gap in the market, providing information that is not freely and reliably available (e.g. via Google), but that doesn’t necessarily justify instructing an expert specifically. And should a business need to instruct an expert for a transaction, a project or a dispute, they can browse the profiles of relevant local counsel.
We carefully defined the structure, wording and answer guidance for over 1500 FAQs per country across all key categories of law. We spent time ensuring that the categories and questions selected are the most pertinent for our target subscribers. Not only was this exercise based on our year-long experience of advising companies in Africa, but we also incorporated feedback from market research and a pool of companies. Our local expert contributors populate the FAQ answers, stand by their correctness, keep them updated and respond to requests for clarifications. Finally, all content undergoes a comprehensive editing process, which focuses on quality control and consistency to make for user-friendly comparisons across countries.
Our unique mix of experience
The platform’s founding team are:
- One of the leading lawyers on the African continent, Steven De Backer: an internationally recognised advisor with almost 20 years’ experience assisting some of the world’s largest companies with operations, transactions and projects in Africa.
- A lawyer and an engineer, Robert Nel, whose significant projects experience encompasses strategy, performance improvement, customer experience, operating model design and organisation design in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Our content guru, Kim Hawkey, a lawyer, seasoned journalist, editor and communications expert in the legal field in Africa.