Welcome to the 28th

East Africa Law Society Annual Conference & General Meeting 2023

We are pleased to welcome you to the 28th edition of the largest gathering of legal professionals in East and Central Africa. Bujumbura, the commercial and economic capital of Burundi will play host to this auspicious event only for the 2nd time in the 28 - year history of the Society. Nestled on the north-eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, the resort city is a perfect destination for any lawyers eager to network with colleagues from across the region and to take time off to recharge after a busy year.

This year’s Annual Conference and General Meeting is expected to bring together over 600 lawyers from across East Africa to discuss business, create networks, and get updated on the latest trends and developments in the profession. With Bujumbura just within a 20 minutes’ drive to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, we expect to host a large contingent of Congolese lawyers keen on opportunities available from the expanded East African Community.

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With diversity in the profession hitting an all-time high and new practice frontiers emerging ever so often, we have tailor made this year’s conference to suit the needs of all our members while recognizing the evolving needs of the profession. From the stand point of our largest cohort, the young lawyers, we have in this conference made sure to optimize the opportunities available to the rising stars in the profession to acquire international perspectives to legal practice, made sure to create the best networking environment with peers and experienced thought leaders and availed the latest legal practice technology, innovations and strategies.


The theme for this year’s conference, “ONE REGION, ONE PEOPLE: THE ROLE OF THE LAW AND THE LEGAL PROFESSION IN DEFINING THE FUTURE OF THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY” has been carefully selected to provide a platform for legal professionals across the region to discuss the role of the law and the profession in accelerating development in the East African Community.
Trade and Investment in the East African Community

This subtheme will analyse the role of the law and the legal profession as vehicles for driving trade and investment in the East African Community. What do lawyers need to do in the creation of an enabling environment of cross-border trade and investment? How can the region be made more attractive for both local and international investors?

ESG and other Emerging Trends in Corporate and Commercial Law

This sub-theme will analyse the rising importance of ESG in corporate and legal departments across the region and the role of lawyers and the legal profession in enabling businesses comply and streamline their short and long term strategies to meet ESG requirements. The sub-theme shall also analyse impact of climate change to economic development in East Africa and the role of lawyers and the law in enabling efforts to control climate change.

AI and the Law: Are we Ready for the Future?

When OpenAI released the highly capable chatbot ChatGPT, the world was awed and shocked at the same time. The AI chatbot has already impacted the legal industry with automation of legal tasks now a common norm. We will explore the growth of this technology and what lawyers need to do to be future ready. This thematic area shall also analyse developments in cybersecurity and data privacy as well as evolving client needs and expectations in a rapidly changing and technology driven world.

Good Governance and Accountability in East Africa

This sub-theme shall explore regional leadership and accountability mechanisms. What do lawyers need to do to bolster good governance and accountability mechanisms in the region? What about fragile economies, how can they be supported to keep abreast with developments in the region? Discussions shall also feature debates on shrinking civic space and repression on fundamental freedoms, corruption and transparency, illicit financial flows/money laundering and recent geopolitical developments in the region.

The Role of the Law and Legal Profession in the Regional Integration Process

This subtheme shall review the role of lawyers in the growth of the EAC as a regional economic community from enacting the Treaty that led to the reestablishment of the Community to guiding the community in its quest to fully integrate into one federal administrative unit with a single currency with seamless movement of people, goods, services and capital. What are the emerging opportunities for the legal profession?

Dispute Resolution under the African Free Continental Trade Area and other Regional Trade Agreements

This session shall look at options for conflict resolution under the AfCFTA including arbitration mandate created under the agreement.


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