African Legal Support Facility welcomes new Director

Abidjan, October 18th 2021

Olivier Pognon, from Benin, has this week taken over the leadership of the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) following the retirement earlier this month of Stephen Karangizi as Director and Chief Executive Officer.

Welcoming Olivier to his new role, Eva Jhala, Chairperson of the ALSF Management Board said: “We look forward to working with Olivier for further advancement and broadening the ALSF’s services within Africa and globally.”

Stephen has been at the helm of the ALSF for the last 10 years and the Management Board said he had transformed the organization. Eva Jhala said: “On behalf of the Board, we thank Stephen for the extraordinary work, strong commitment and visionary leadership in building a strong and sustainable organization. As its first substantive Director and CEO, Stephen’s leadership has been exemplary. He has transformed the ALSF into a mature and independent international organization. Over the past decade, under Stephen’s stewardship, the ALSF has experienced tremendous growth, increased visibility and credibility in Africa and globally.”

Olivier thanked the Management Board for entrusting him with the leadership of the ALSF for the next five years and assured board members, “we will stick to the priorities of the Regional Member Countries including tackling issues such as taking steps to recover from the setbacks of COVID-19, debt issues, climate change, good governance in the context of illicit financial flows and other emerging issues both in the short and long perspective. And building on the ALSF platform, partnerships and expertise to deliver the ALSF’s mission in a smart way.”

Stephen thanked the ALSF Governing Council and Management Board members both past and current, the African Development Bank vice presidents, directors and colleagues for supporting the ALSF and said: “I enjoyed working with the ALSF team and I hope I made them better. I pledge to support and help where necessary and Olivier to continue with where we have reached to greater heights.”

Olivier joins the ALSF after spending 7 years at the Airtel Africa Plc, a telecommunications company listed on the London Stock Exchange, as the Chief Legal Officer, where he was responsible for merger and acquisition transactions, litigation management, legal compliance and corporate governance.

Prior to joining Airtel Africa Plc, he worked as senior legal counsel for MTN Group in Johannesburg, South Africa (2009 to 2014); legal counsel at Agence Française de Développement (2008-2009) and an associate specializing in corporate law and project finance, respectively at CMS Bureau Francis Leefebvre and Mayer Brown in Paris, France.


About the African Legal Support Facility.

The African Legal Support Facility (the “ALSF” or “Facility”) is international organization hosted by the African Development Bank;  established to provide legal advice and technical assistance in the negotiation of complex commercial transactions and creditor litigation; to develop and maintain related knowledge resources and publications; to encourage countries and investors to conclude equitable, bankable and sustainable agreements that deliver value to African countries while protecting their sovereign rights.