WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Witney Schneidman, a former senior State Department official with more than 30 years of experience in Africa, is joining Covington & Burling, strengthening the firm’s ability to advise corporate clients on entering and expanding their presence in the African market.
Dr. Schneidman joins the firm’s Washington office as a senior international advisor for Africa. In that position, he will use his deep experience with African issues to launch a significant firm initiative to help companies capture the opportunities and navigate the risks of Africa in order to achieve their business objectives.
The Africa initiative will include a team of noted international and foreign officials such as Ambassador Jean De Ruyt, who recently joined the firm’s Brussels office after having served as the Permanent Representative of Belgium to the European Union. During his career, Ambassador De Ruyt had close dealings in central Africa, including living in the Congo and helping re-establish peace there.
The move is part of Covington’s overall strategy to provide corporate clients with expertise across the globe. Over the few past years, the firm has launched initiatives in Latin America, India and Asia, including an announcement that it plans to open new offices in Seoul and Shanghai.
“Witney’s vast expertise in Africa fills a gap in our ability to serve clients around the world,” said Timothy Hester, chair of the firm’s management committee.
A former deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Dr. Schneidman focuses his work on U.S.-African relations, trade and investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and issues related to economic growth and regional integration on the continent.
“I am very excited by this unique and significant opportunity to help one of the leading law firms in the United States establish a practice focused on Africa,” Dr. Schneidman said.
While at the State Department, Dr. Schneidman played a key role in ensuring the passage and implementation of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, and the establishment of the U.S.-SADC Forum, the U.S.-Angola Bilateral Consultative Commission, and the U.S. Nigeria Joint Economic Partnership Committee. After he left the State Department, he founded a consulting firm that has assisted a range of U.S. and international companies in a variety of sectors, such as health, energy, mining, and financial services, to build market share and position in Africa.