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IFC’s legal manager talks to law students

Strathmore Law School played host to Ms. Zurina Saban, the Legal Manager for Africa at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) a member of the World Bank Group. She was in the company of Mr. Matthews Mofokeng (Senior Counsel) and Ms. Maureen Andeyo from the Nairobi legal office. International Finance Corporation is the largest Development Financial Institution in the world that provides financial services to the private sector in the developing world. It has heavily invested in Africa.


She started off by talking about the operations of the International Finance Corporation in Africa. The corporation has categorized its investments into three groups, the Financial Markets which is the investments it makes in the Banking institutions; Manufacturing, Agriculture & Services, and the Advisory Services. It has invested and continue to invest in the various sectors ranging from Banking institutions, health sectors, infrastructure, and manufacturing. It also builds capacity amongst its various investee companies and other Development Partners.


In all its investments, IFC strives to achieve its twin objectives of alleviating poverty and promoting shared prosperity in the world. It would therefore assess the impacts of the projects not only on the profitability scales but on the lives of the locals and the environment as well. For a project or an investment to get funding from IFC, it must satisfy the minimum requirements set by International Finance Corporation. The project must be a viable one with a high likelihood of success and one that contributes to the general wellbeing of the society.


Ms. Saban encouraged the students to work hard and dare to dream. She emphasized the need to have mentors and persons who are ready to help us navigate our career path to the top. Having grown up in South Africa during the apartheid regime, where higher education was only a privilege of the white, she took upon herself the challenge to get enrolled at the university. She is the first female African Legal Manager at the IFC and she was also the first South African to be employed by the first foreign law firm that set shop in South Africa.


Her visit to the law school was as a result of the recently launched internship programme in which a Strathmore Law Student was afforded the opportunity to intern at the organization. This was the first time that the Sub-Saharan offices were rolling out the internship programme. She was very pleased with the level of knowledge and confidence exuded by the Strathmore Law Students who applied and attended the interview for the internship position. She thanked the Law School for inviting her to speak and share her experience with the students.


“It is only through affording such opportunities to the students from the local universities that we can build capacity and promote growth and development in Africa,” she said. She thanked the students for their attention and for asking well thought and tough questions, which was a sign of their competence and readiness to learn.


Article by Jacob Wanjala Situma,

Fourth Year law Student.