By Anton Balazh; Shutterstock
Afriwise has received new financial backing from a pair of Belgian financiers as it seeks to expand its Africa-focused legal information business across the continent and further develop its technology.
Afriwise is an online platform that allows users to access legal information such as domestic legislation, as well as providing legal alerts, guidance and legal-sourcing support. It launched at the end of 2018, recognising a need for up-to-date and quality legal information in Africa. The Belgian financiers – Jacques Emsens and Christophe de Limburg Stirum – will join the company’s board of directors alongside earlier backers Bart Sobry and Mathias Vandaele.
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.”
He added: “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.”
Global companies that have already adopted Afriwise’s service in Africa include Deloitte, Vodafone, Roche and DHL. It says it is working with more than 100 law firms across the continent to maintain the legal guidance that is available on its platform.
Afriwise currently provides coverage across 11 different African countries, including Angola, DR Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania. The new investment will help the company expand into further countries, including Botswana, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia, as well as provide more in-depth content.
Before founding Afriwise’s legaltech business, De Backer ran a consultancy under the same brand name, Afriwise Consult. He also spent more than four years at South African law firm Webber Wentzel as co-head of its Africa group and a partner in its Africa mining and energy projects practice. Before moving to Africa in 2004 with Mkono & Co Advocates in Tanzania and Burundi, De Backer was a senior associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Brussels.