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Afriwise secures significant strategic investment

Africa Global Funds
March 23, 2021, 9:17 p.m.
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Belgian financiers Jacques Emsens and Christophe de Limburg Stirum have invested in Afriwise, an online legal-information solution across Africa, joining the company’s board of directors.

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Belgian financiers Jacques Emsens and Christophe de Limburg Stirum have invested in Afriwise, an online legal-information solution across Africa, joining the company’s board of directors.

The fresh round of funding and the expertise and network of the new investors are expected to be a major boost to the company, which is already taking Africa’s legal sector by storm.

With the additional funding, Afriwise targets accelerated country expansion, deeper content and further tech development.

Steven De Backer, Afriwise’s founder, said: “We are still at the beginning of our journey, however, this announcement of a significant capital injection by European investors is a sign that people are seeing possibilities for Afriwise to become a very big company. We have already done the impossible; today our platform is significantly improving the business operations of large multinationals in 11 countries on the continent.”

Afriwise was launched at the end of 2018 to address the poor availability of up-to-date and quality legal information across Africa.

Existing solutions were failing to meet needs and expectations, with providers not focused on Africa and information often patchy, inconsistent and not properly maintained.

While even basic legislation can be difficult to find, there are other specific legal challenges such as unusual concepts, incomplete and incoherent legal frameworks, lack of transparency, form-over-substance issues and, more importantly, established practices that may differ from written laws.

Legal counsel and compliance officers at companies active in Africa, experiencing the fear and panic of advising their internal stakeholders from a position of total ignorance, are often faced with only one option – directly instructing in-country counsel.

This has fostered an environment where organisations in Africa are confronted with high and unpredictable legal costs.

Today, if legal counsel or compliance officers want to know what merger thresholds apply in the DRC, or what data protection requirements apply in Nigeria, they can simply log on to the Afriwise platform and instantly find the answer and all information pertinent to the topic.

Crucially, the legal content is  constantly being reviewed and updated on a purpose-built online user interface.

The platform also features legal-monitoring tools, an underlying service for clarification requests and direct access to top in-country legal experts.

“With regulators and legislators expressing a growing appetite for levying fines for companies not complying with local legislation and regulations – for example in the fields of data protection and corporate house-keeping – accessing quality legal information and counsel has never been more important for businesses. We will continue to adapt our platform to meet the needs of our subscribers. Over the coming months and years, I am confident that Afriwise is set to become the undisputed leader of legal information and tools in Africa,” said De Backer.

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