By Fidel Mwaki
The recently enacted Business Laws (Amendment) Act, 2020 has made a key change to Kenya’s business laws by amending the Law of Contract Act to provide a legal basis for electronic signatures to be used when executing contracts.
Although electronic signatures are not a new phenomenon and have been in use in Kenya and internationally for many years, the amendment to the Kenyan law is a welcome development as it now lawfully allows for agreements to executed without the need for the physical exchange of original contracts, which in turn will help reduce the expense and time for closing deals and increase confidence within the business community that such contracts will be valid and enforceable.
Under the new amendment, an electronic signature must be one that is linked to the signatory and capable of identifying the signatory and created by means that the signatory can maintain under their sole control.
It will therefore be interesting to see the kind of measures that parties and their lawyers will adopt to ensure proper execution of their documents in the manner required by the law.