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The Transition from Fossil Fuel-Based Transport to Electric Cars in Africa



By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021.*

The need to reduce emissions in the transportation sector will almost certainly necessitate a move to low-emission vehicles and fuels, with governments taking steps to minimize emissions in the transportation sector through law. Energy is regarded as Africa’s key to development and the foundation for industrialization, with the expansion of renewables going beyond providing reliable energy and climate protection to promoting economic development, which will benefit and create new jobs and opportunities for entire industries, and reliable, sustainable energy will promote the provision of important basic socioeconomic services. It has been argued that while a 100 percent renewable economy would provide a long-term answer to climate change, energy security, sustainability, and pollution, converting the current transportation infrastructure appears to be one of the more difficult components of such a sustainable transition.

While developed countries are working on adopting use of electric cars, importing countries, on the other hand, require regional coordination on age limits, fiscal measures, pollution rules, and fuel quality. They also need emissions, roadworthiness, and safety inspections, as well as a standardized methodology for vehicle registration and verification. To avoid dieselization, fuel efficiency efforts must be matched with increased emissions restrictions. Several countries that are building their own manufacturing and assembly capacities and enacting restrictive import restrictions must set pollution and safety regulations, as well as quality control for domestic production. The following are proposals and measures in enhancing the adoption of electric cars in Africa.

Government’s Tax Incentives on Electric Cars

The competition between used and new vehicles is primarily driven by price, and African countries’ strategies to close the price gap have included banning the importation of used vehicles and encouraging the establishment of vehicle assembly plants by providing tax breaks and rebates to original equipment manufacturers, resulting in lower new vehicle costs. If Kenya and Africa in general is to ensure that their citizens embrace zero emissions vehicles, then they must work towards creating tax incentives on the cost of the vehicles.

Rwanda’s efforts are commendable, as the government approved an electric mobility adaptation strategy in April 2021, with the goal of increasing electric vehicles and motorcycles. The strategy includes a number of incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and hybrid electric vehicles. In order to lower the cost of ownership and maintenance of electric vehicles, the Rwandan cabinet approved a strategy that exempted electric vehicles, spare parts, batteries, and charging station equipment from import and excise duties, as well as a zero-rated Value Added Tax on electric vehicles, spare parts, batteries, and charging station equipment from the ordinary vehicle import taxes of 25% import duty, 18% VAT, and 5% to 15% excise duty.

While Kenya has made some similar efforts, the rate is so slow and the impact so small that it was previously reported that the Kenyan government aims to increase the uptake of electric vehicles in the country over the next five years, with a goal of having 5% of all registered vehicles in Kenya be electric by 2025, and all new public buildings must have charging stations. This is a very low rate of progress considering that it was estimated that as at 2019 the electric vehicle industry in Kenya was still young with only 300 electric vehicles in the country. African countries thus need to invest more in encouraging production and uptake of electric vehicles to enable them eventually get rid of internal combustion engine vehicles.

Adopting and Implementing Vehicles Standards in Africa

It has been observed that the different enforcement and testing regimes of world vehicle standards have made it difficult for Africa to adopt a unified vehicle standard, despite the fact that a unified vehicle standard has become even more necessary with the introduction of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which should facilitate free vehicle trade across the continent. At the moment, African countries are at various stages of adopting vehicle standards, with the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) kicking off the development of a regulatory framework for the continent’s automotive sector, with the only roadblocks being poor fuel quality, low consumer purchasing power, and a lack of data on used vehicle import. There is also hope as Kenya banned used automobile imports older than eight years old in 2015, Tanzania charges an extra excise duty on used vehicles eight years old or older (counted from the year of production), and the entire East African Community began to apply standardised depreciation rates to these imports. There is a continuous need for African countries to explore frameworks such as AfCFTA to move the continent towards achieving verifiable vehicle standards.

Public-Private Partnerships for Funding, Research and Development and Operation of Electric Vehicles Infrastructure

Notably, worldwide vehicle legislation depends entirely on technology to reduce harmful emissions. It has been correctly stated that the public and private sectors must collaborate openly, and state transportation agencies must remember their true purpose, which is to efficiently and effectively connect a region in a way that is inclusive of all parties who will be reliant on transportation infrastructure. In other countries, such as the United States, the Department of Energy (DOE) collaborates with public and private sector partners to study, develop, and deploy technologies that improve the performance of electric vehicles.

The construction and operation of a suitable electric vehicle charging infrastructure are prerequisites for the development and sustained operation of electric vehicles, as well as being important strategic measures for promoting a revolution in energy consumption and green development and as such, in order to promote the development of electric vehicles, it may be useful to offer these services to mobilize initiatives by the government and market, where the government may play a leading role in infrastructure construction according to the public–private partnership (PPP) model, to share risks and achieve a win– win situation if the public and private sectors engage in clear communication and reach agreements about how social capital can be guided to participate actively in the provision of public goods and services. Such collaborations are important if the continent is to achieve its dream of transitioning to electric vehicles.

*This article is an extract from the Article “Transitioning from Fossil Fuel-Based Transport to Clean Energy Vehicles in Africa: Challenges and Prospects” by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya). Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert in Kenya. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized among the top 5 leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts in Kenya by the Chambers Global Guide 2022.


Muigua, K., “Transitioning from Fossil Fuel-Based Transport to Clean Energy Vehicles in Africa: Challenges and Prospects,” Available at: g-from-Fossil-Fuel-Based-Transport-to-Clean-Energy-Vehicles-in-Africa-Challenges-and-Prospects-Kariuki-muigua.pdf (accessed 5 May 2022).

News & Analysis

Why is THE LAWYER AFRICA Listing Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers?




The Litigation Hall of Fame | Kenya in 2023 (The Most Distinguished 50 Litigation Lawyers in Kenya).

We live in the age of information overload where too much information (TMI) is increasingly making it difficult to find actionable legal data about a good law firm or lawyer. At the same time, legal services are increasingly going digital and finding your next lawyer is a now a matter of a few clicks. Many existing, new and potential clients are interested to know more about the lawyer handling or likely to handle their next case or transaction as every HR Manager seeks to know how their In-house Lawyer or next hire compares to peers.

The biggest dilemma especially for commercial consumers of legal services  is where to begin the journey in finding the law firm or the lawyer to meet their immediate legal need created by their new venture,  business, transaction or dispute. In-house counsel are also called upon to justify opting for one lawyer or law firm or over the other.  Hence, the rise in the popularity of international law directories rankings as an attempt to fill the yawning gap by listing a few dozen lawyers and law firms in esoteric categories that often don’t align with the legal needs of the domestic legal market.

But ranking two dozen elite lawyers or big law firms in a big jurisdiction like Kenya there are over 20,000 lawyers is merely a drop in the ocean. The result is the same candidates are listed year after year and an In-house Legal Team looking to infuse new blood in their external counsel panel is left very little discretion. At best, International legal ranking only succeed to tilt the scales in favour of few big firms and their lawyers and to aid the choice of International Legal buyers who are constrained for time in picking their External Counsel in jurisdictions where they cannot find referrals.

The questions that beg are: What about the other top law firms and lawyers who are equally good if not better but don’t have the time to fill the technical paperwork that comes with International Legal Directories rankings? What about Domestic Legal Buyers who simply want to justify why they prefer a lawyer or law firm not listed in the International Directory? Can increasing the number of listed lawyers or law firms from less 0.1% of the profession (as captured by International Law Directories) to at least 1% of the profession or higher for those specializing in the practice area help in enhancing access to justice in Africa? Can ranking law firms by number of fee earners help in the quest for a more accurate bird’s eye view of a country’s legal landscape?

At THE LAWYER AFRICA, we have set out to list Top Law Firms and Top Lawyers in the various practice areas in a way that democratizes law rankings and listings and brings this essential value add within reach of most lawyers and every law firms doing top legal work. We don’t promise to list all the top lawyers or law firms, but we commit to make sure every lawyer or law firm we list is at the top of the game in the listed practice area. We aim to help both little known and already known law firms and lawyers doing top legal work in their area of specialization get discovered by discerning clients and possibly get more opportunities to do great work.

THE LAWYER AFRICA is looking to list up to Top 200 Law Firms in every African Jurisdiction based on their reputation and number of fee earners headcount with a goal of listing at least Africa’s Top 1,000 Law Firms which are leaders in their respective countries. We also seek to list up to Top 1,000 Lawyers in every country in Africa in at least five main practice areas, namely, Litigation, Commercial Law, Property law, In-house and Private Sector or more.

THE LAWYER AFRICA categorizes law firms in large jurisdictions as Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, Top 50 and Top 100 (and allow tying where number of counsel is equal). The Top Lawyers are listed in three categories, namely, Hall of Fame (the Distinguished Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area), Top 100 (the Leading Top 100 Practitioners in a Practice Area) and Up-and-Coming (the promising Top 50 or 75 Practitioners in a Practice Area).  The placing of a listings depends on a number of key factors including the number of key matters or transactions handled, years in practice and experience, size of team working under a counsel, reputation and opinion of peers (where available) as established by THE LAWYER AFRICA.

THE LAWYER AFRICA prefers to list a counsel in only one listing, as far as possible. The Team tries (as far as possible) not to contact listed law firms or lawyers before the listing is finalized in the first. However, a listed law firm or lawyer may be contacted at the pre-launch stage of a list for purposes of selling merchandise relating to the launch but such engagement will not affect the listing. In case of future listings, it is expected that interested lawyers or law firms who feel they were previously left out of the list may to provide information for consideration to determine if they qualify for the next listing but that will not guarantee any listing.

THE LAWYER AFRICA undertakes not to charge for listing any lawyer or law firm. However, upon publication of a listing, as part of recovering the sunk costs we incur in the research and publication of the listings, we shall charge a token for printing and shipping of Quality A3 Certificate for listed Law Firms and/or A4 Certificate for listed Lawyers who wish to have or display the branded souvenirs or to use our proprietary digital materials in their business  branding. We may also charge listed and unlisted law firms and lawyers an affordable fee for limited banner advertising or publishing of enhanced profiles next to the listings.

For any question or feedback on any list or listing, feel free to contact THE LAWYER AFRICA PUBLISHER at info[at]thelawyer[dot]africa.

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News & Analysis

The Roles of the Three Parts of the Permanent Court of Arbitration




H.E. Amb. Marcin Czepelak, the Fourteenth Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

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News & Analysis

Brief History of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)




By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, C.Arb, Current Member of Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Representing the Republic of Kenya.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is a 124 Years Old Intergovernmental Organization currently with 122 contracting states. It was established at the turn of 20th Century during the first Hague Peace Conference held between 18th May and 29th July 1899. The conference was an initiative of then Russian Czar Nicholas II to discuss peace and disarmament and specifically with the object of “seeking the most effective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and, above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments.” The culmination of the conference was the adoption of a Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which dealt not only with arbitration but also with other methods of pacific settlement, such as good offices and mediation.

The aim of the conference was to “strengthen systems of international dispute resolution” especially international arbitration which in the last century had proven effective for the purpose with number of successful international arbitrations being concluded among Nations. The Alabama arbitration of 1871-1872 between the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) under the Treaty of Washington of 1871 culminating in the arbitral tribunal’s award that the UK pay the US compensation for breach of neutrality during American Civil War which it did had demonstrated the effectiveness of arbitration in settling of international disputes and piqued interest of many practitioners in it as a mode of dispute resolution during the latter years of the nineteenth century.

The Institut de Droit International adopted a code of procedure for arbitration in 1875 to answer the need for a general law of arbitration governing for countries and parties wishing to have recourse to international arbitration. The growth of arbitration as a mode of international dispute resolution formed the background of the 1899 conference and informed its most enduring achievement, namely, the establishment of the PCA as the first global mechanism for the settlement of disputes between states. Article 16 of the 1899 Convention recognized that “in questions of a legal nature, and especially in the interpretation or application of International Conventions” arbitration is the “most effective, and at the same time the most equitable, means of settling disputes which diplomacy has failed to settle.”

In turn, the 1899 Convention provided for the creation of permanent machinery to enable the setting up of arbitral tribunals as necessary and to facilitate their work under the auspices of the institution it named as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). In particular, Article 20 of the 1899 Convention stated that “[w]ith the object of facilitating an immediate recourse to arbitration for international differences which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy, the signatory Powers undertake to organize a Permanent Court of Arbitration, accessible at all times and operating, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, in accordance with the rules of procedure inserted in the present Convention.” In effect, the Convention set up a permanent system of international arbitration and institutionalized the law and practice of arbitration in a definite and acceptable way.

As a result, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was established in 1900 and began operating in 1902. The PCA as established consisted of a panel of jurists designated by each country acceding to the Convention with each country being entitled to designate up to four from among whom the members of each arbitral tribunal might be chosen. In addition, the Convention created a permanent Bureau, located in The Hague, with functions similar to those of a court registry or secretariat. The 1899 Convention also laid down a set of rules of procedure to govern the conduct of arbitrations under the PCA framework.

The second Hague Peace Conference in 1907 saw a revision of the 1899 Convention and improvement of the rules governing arbitral proceedings. Today, the PCA has developed into a modern, multi-faceted arbitral institution perfectly situated to meet the evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community. The Permanent Court of Arbitration has also diversified its service offering alongside those contemplated by the Conventions. For instance, today the International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration serves as a registry in important international arbitrations. In 1993, the Permanent Court of Arbitration adopted new “Optional Rules for Arbitrating Disputes between Two Parties of Which Only One Is a State” and, in 2001, “Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment”.


PCA Website: (accessed on 25th May 2023).

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