A market leading Africa team Clifford Chance has been active on the ground in Africa for 30 years, helping clients to identify opportunities.
Our Africa practice is led by three co-heads: Anthony Giustini, partner based in Paris, Edmund Boyo, partner based in Frankfurt and Kem Ihenacho, partner based in London.
Our Africa practice is recognised as one of the leading teams working in Africa today by our clients, all the major directories and the business world. In October 2013, we won the International Law Firm award at the African Legal Awards.
We opened our first office on the continent in 2012. Located in Casablanca, the office is led by Mustapha Mourahib, managing partner. Our office in Casablanca serves as a gateway to North Africa and Sub Saharan Africa.
A long history of acting for all types of clients
Our dedicated Africa practice acts for all types of clients including corporates, investors, commercial lenders, export credit agencies, development agencies and governments. As a result, our lawyers are fully familiar with the underlying business issues, risks and local considerations to be taken into account. We provide our clients with the best "commercial advice" for a successful transaction.
Supporting your business in Africa
We have extensive experience advising on finance transactions, project finance, M&A, equity and debt capital markets and dispute resolution alongside market leading industry expertise spanning a range of industry sectors – power, including renewables, oil and gas, water, mining and metals, transport, leisure, financial services and telecoms.
We offer an integrated team from across our Africa group network - providing clients with a dedicated team who are committed to providing a first class service and who have the requisite skills and experience to do so.
Our lawyers have an understanding of the foundations of local legal systems such as Roman Dutch law, French civil law and English common law and how this may impact on transactions, as well as extensive understanding of Organization for Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) requirements and their application.
We have multi-lingual language capability, including English, Arabic, French, Spanish and Portuguese, and have practical knowledge and experience of selecting and working with local counsel across Africa, as well as experience of political risk mitigants (including use of bilateral investment treaties, insurance and agency support).
Recent highlights include:
- Advising Dangote Industries Limited, as borrower, on a USD 3.25 billion financing. The proceeds of the financing will be used for the planning, development and construction of a greenfield fertilizer manufacturing plant and a greenfield crude oil refinery plant. The plants are to be constructed in the Olokola Free Trade Zone in Nigeria, at a combined development cost of USD 9 billion. Once completed, it will be the largest industrial complex project in the history of Nigeria
- Advising Barclays in relation to a ECGD supported and a separate uncovered Cedi-denominated financing of seven district hospitals in Ghana. The deal was high profile in the British Government as it highlighted British investment for development in Africa - GTR Best Deal of 2012, Trade Finance Deal of the Year 2012 and The Banker, Deal of the Year 2013 - Africa.
- Financing (with Hermes backed and a commercial tranche) for an approximately 100 MW wind farm project located approximately 250km from East London (between Molteno and Sterkstroom) in South Africa, which is to be developed by the sponsors Dorper Development (Proprietary) Ltd (15%) and Sumitomo Corporation (60%) and the BEE Holdco (25%). This was one of the first few ECA-backed guarantees for a ZAR denominated loan financing to a renewables project in South Africa - Project Finance Magazine Africa Renewables Award 2012.
- Advising the lenders, AfDB, IFC and Proparco, on the financing of the conversion of the Ciprel Power Plant into combined cycle in Côte d'Ivoire which will become the largest private thermal central (in terms of power) on the African continent.
- Advising the co-lenders, International Finance Corporation and Société de Promotion et de Participation, on a loan to Azito Energie S.A., owner of the Azito Power Plant in Côte d'Ivoire - African Power Deal of the Year – PFI 2012.
- Advising State Bank of India on the USD 700 million financing of Bharat Petroleum's exploration costs of its 10% stake in the Rovuma Basin in Mozambique - African Oil & Gas Deal of the Year – PFI 2012.
- Advising Nigeria's largest bank, Zenith Bank plc in connection with its successful technical listing of global depositary receipts (GDRs) representing interests in its ordinary shares.
- Advising South African rail, port and pipeline operator Transnet SOC Ltd on its debut international capital markets offering of USD 1 billion 4% senior notes due 2020.
- Advising BNP Paribas and Citigroup Global Markets Limited as Joint Lead Managers of the issue of USD 400 million 6.625% notes due 2023 by the Republic of Rwanda.
- Advising Barclays and Deutsche Bank as Joint Lead Managers on the Republic of Zambia's issuance of USD 750 million 5.375% notes due 2022. This was the first international Eurobond issue out of Zambia.
- Advising Citibank N.A., as issuer of a USD 60 million standby letter of credit, covered by a Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG Structure) of The World Bank's International Development Association in favor of gas suppliers and at the request of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. It was a high profile transaction as the PRG Structure serves to enhance the state's credit risk with respect to payments of gas price - a key aspect in support of the development of the energy sector in the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire.
- Advising the Ministry of Finance on the creation of Casablanca Financial City.
- Advising Maghreb Titrisation on the reform of the Securitisation law in the Kingdom of Morocco.
- Advising Carlyle Group on its first investment by its Sub-Saharan Africa Fund, consisting of the acquisition of a minority stake in ETG. This deal was of strategic importance for Carlyle and was also the largest Private Equity deal in Africa in 2012.
- Advising Wendel on its investment in the IHS Group, active in the telecom tower infrastructures business in Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast).
- Advising Actis LLP on the USD 102 million acquisition of a 30% stake in Edita Food industries, an Egyptian food business and in Morocco on the acquisition of the water and energy activities of Veolia. The transaction amounted to MAD1.3 billion (EUR 370 million).
- Advising Sumitomo on the acquisition of Apollo Tyres South Africa, a manufacturing base in South Africa and rights to the "Dunlop" brand name in 32 African countries.
- Advising Wilmar International Limited (Asia’s leading agribusiness group) in the acquisition of a strategic stake (27.5%) of Cosumar SA, a company listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange.
- Advising Carrefour on the setting up of a joint venture with CFAO (to be 55%-owned by CFAO and 45%-owned by Carrefour) for the development and operation of retail activities in Africa via franchise agreements with the Carrefour group.
- Advising QNB Group, the largest financial institution in the State of Qatar and the MENA region, on the acquisition of Société Générale’s 77.17% stake in National Société Générale Bank – Egypt (NSGB).
Building strong relationships with legal counsel throughout Africa is one of the cornerstones of our Africa strategy
We have excellent relationships with legal counsel throughout Africa forged through working together on numerous transactions. Our relationships with African legal counsel are essential to our success. In this way, we provide our clients with the best team of Clifford Chance experts and African counsel. We work with African counsel regularly and exchange about how we can deliver the best service to clients.
A commitment to excellence in Africa
We launched our Clifford Chance Africa Academy in September 2013 which provides a structured training programme for associates and senior associates of our relationship African legal counsel. Providing world class training to talented African associates of African law firms with whom we have deep relationships is another way we guarantee the best possible service and advice for our clients.
Our firm is also involved in a number of pro bono and community programmes in Africa including advising on legal reform, and the establishment of local charities.