Analyzing the Obstacles to Foreign Direct Investment in Two African Cities
Working with the Earth Institute at Columbia University (under the direction of Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to the U.N. Secretary General and co-founder of Millennium Promise), New Perimeter’s African Millennium Cities Project focused on the legal/regulatory and practical impediments to foreign direct investment in two African cities. The core mission of the Millennium Cities Initiative is to help underserved cities across sub-Saharan Africa complete the urban transformations essential to attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the fundamental goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015. New Perimeter's work with the Earth Institute involved identifying and analyzing the legal/regulatory and practical impediments to foreign direct investment in Blantyre, Malawi and Kumasi, Ghana. DLA Piper was one of three law firms involved (the others being Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Carter Ledyard & Milburn).
As part of the first phase of the initiative, New Perimeter's tasks included analysis of the investment regulatory framework, both de jure and de facto, including relevant provincial and municipal variations, and identification of options and recommendations for improvement. Teams of DLA Piper lawyers visited Kumasi, Ghana and Blantyre, Malawi, to conduct research and learn more about FDI opportunities in the cities. Subsequently, in-depth "white papers" were prepared for the benefit of government officials and potential investors. These reports detailed the legal framework affecting foreign direct investment in Kumasi and Blantyre, respectively, and offered practical insight into the pros and cons of investing in those cities based on the team's in-country observations and research.
New Perimeter also co-sponsored, with the accounting firm KPMG, the first Millennium Cities Investment Day in London on December 10, 2008. Hosted by the Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI), the conference focused on matching investors with investment opportunities in four African cities: Kumasi, Ghana; Akure, Nigeria; Kisumu, Kenya; and Blantyre, Malawi.
At the Investment Day symposium, Sir Nigel Knowles, co-CEO of DLA Piper, welcomed more than 170 participants and offered opening remarks. Keynote speeches followed from Lord Michael Hastings, Global Head of Citizenship and Diversity for KPMG International, and from Jeffrey Sachs. At the heart of the conference were panel presentations by representatives from each of the four featured Millennium Cities on investment opportunities and challenges in that city. These presentations were followed by direct bilateral business consulting sessions between city officials and business representatives.