Sternford Moyo, new IBA President, is the first from Africa

Sternford Moyo, Chairman and Senior Partner of law firm Scanlen and Holderness, is the new President of the International Bar Association (IBA). Hailing from Zimbabwe, Mr Moyo is the first IBA President of African descent in the history of the 74-year-old organisation. He succeeds Brazil’s Horacio Bernardes Neto with a two-year tenure through to 31 December 2022.

Mr Moyo has held numerous senior IBA roles, including: Council Member, Management Board Member, Advisory Board Member and Chair of the African Regional Forum, Deputy Secretary-General for Southern Africa, Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Trustee of IBA-established entities, such as the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and eyeWitness to Atrocities, and member of the Task Force on Illicit Financial Flows, Poverty and Human Rights.

Recognising the achievements of his predecessors and committing to building on their efforts, Mr Moyo, whose firm is one of the founder members of the pan-African network LEXAfrica and also a member of Meritas, commented: “It was great and visionary leadership that conceived and implemented the idea of the International Bar Association: to create relationships and exchanges among individual lawyers, bar associations and law societies; to pursue capacity building for bar associations; to promote continuing professional development in order to enhance service to the public; to protect and promote the rule of law, human rights, effective administration of justice and core values of the legal profession; to promote harmonisation and uniformity in the resolution of difficult legal problems; and to work with international juridical organisations. The IBA, under the direction of my predecessors and its executive officers, has been highly successful in advancing these objectives. Consequently, as I take over as President of our Association, I am pleased to say that I stand on a platform of excellent work done by my predecessors and the employees of the Association. My role shall be to work towards deepening the fulfilment of the objectives of our association and increasing diversity, eliminating all forms of discrimination in the practice of law and administration of justice. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my predecessors and employees of the Association for the solid platform from which I shall be working.”

Mr Moyo recently outlined additional objectives and areas of focus for his IBA presidency, including:

  • developing effective anti-corruption strategies;
  • strengthening IBA project output from constituents to provide ‘role model’ material to improve the practical exercise of law;
  • updating guidance and recommendations regarding the extractive industries so that current strategies meet investor protection and developmental rights of the communities where the investment takes place;
  • focusing on cyber security with the aim of working towards developing best practice guidelines for a new global framework for public institutions and private companies; and
  • using digital resources to make the knowledge generated by the IBA more readily available to developing bar associations, lawyers in low-income jurisdictions and those at entry level in high-income jurisdictions.

Mr Moyo’s professional career has seen him hold a variety of leadership positions, including having been a bar leader in Zimbabwe and in Southern Africa, and corporate leader in mining, manufacturing, financial services and leadership development.

In 1990, Mr Moyo was selected by the United States Information Services to participate in a programme to familiarise young African leaders with the American legal system and its background. In 2004, he participated in a media advocacy course run by the University of Oxford.

As Senior Partner in Scanlen and Holderness, a large corporate law practice established in 1894, Mr Moyo specialises in mining, corporate and commercial law.

The IBA’s new Vice President is Almudena Arpón de Mendívil. Ms Arpón de Mendívil is a partner with the Spanish law firm Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, where she leads the Corporate Technology, Media and Telecommunications Group. A member of the IBA for more than 20 years, she joined the IBA Management Board in 2009 and has held several IBA senior leadership roles, including: IBA Secretary-General, Treasurer, Chair of the Legal Practice Division, Member of the Investments Review Committee, Member of the Special Projects Fund Committee, and Member of the Rule of Law Task Force. Her tenure is for the calendar years 2021 and 2022.

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