Doing Business in Sub-Saharan Africa: With New Opportunities Comes Risks and Pitfalls Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

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Now, more than ever, enforcement of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as they strive to prevent U.S. companies, employees, and agents from engaging in bribery of foreign government officials to obtain or retain business in overseas markets. By any measure, 2008 was a brutal year in FCPA enforcement and the trend has continued upward in 2009. This surge is especially problematic for U.S. companies seeking to expand their business and grow their target market in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where fresh and unique opportunities abound, but an endemic culture of bribery, illegal gratuities, economic extortion, and other corrupt practices continue to flourish.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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