We have been active in Africa for over 30 years. Long-established relationships with local counsel, long-term exposure to legal issues, and a constant flow of complex and outstanding deals on the continent: this makes us the go-to firm in Africa.
A market-leading Africa team
We have been accompanying our clients in Africa for over three decades and our African business continues to grow at a great pace.
Our office in Casablanca, Morocco is a hub for clients across the wider North Africa and Sub-Saharan Francophone region and the nerve centre of our Africa initiative.
We act for all types of clients including African and international corporations, investors, commercial lenders, export credit agencies, development agencies and governments, domestic and international private equity funds on Africa related matters.
We work on high-profile, groundbreaking and market first transactions across Africa.
In 2016 we won International Law Firm of the Year at the African Legal Awards for the second time. We have been ranked Tier One in Africa by Chambers Global for Corporate & Commercial and Projects & Energy for each consecutive year since 2009, and we have won several awards for individual deals.
Strong relationships with African counsel is a cornerstone of our strategy
We have built strong working relationships with local law firms across Africa. These relationships are essential to our success; because we know these firms well we can pick the right one for each assignment, and because we work with them regularly they know how we work and understand our focus on excellent client service.
A commitment to excellence in Africa
We launched our Clifford Chance Africa Academy in September 2013. It provides world-class training for the associates and senior associates of the African law firms we work with regularly. This programme helps talented African lawyers develop their careers and helps guarantee our clients the highest standard of service and advice.
A commitment to Africa
We are actively involved in many community programmes across Africa including advising on legal reform and the establishment of local charities.
We also engage in pro bono efforts to support the legal profession and legal services in Africa and have an extensive record in providing pro bono advice and legal representation here.
A constructive approach to doing business in Africa
We have a reputation for being practical, for getting deals done and for being good to deal with.
We know the issues and we pride ourselves on finding pragmatic solutions that are acceptable to all parties.
After years of experience, we are also fully familiar with the underlying business issues, local considerations and political risk mitigants (including use of bilateral investment treaties, insurance and agency support).
We have multi-lingual capabilities, including in English, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Afrikaans.
Comments and rankings in independent legal directories show that clients recognise that our approach delivers results:
- "Very good experience, both locally and internationally, and they were proactive, commercially minded and extremely resourceful."
- "Clifford Chance continues to be a lead player in this vast developing market, and its involvement in Africa is going from strength to strength."
- "This firm is undoubtedly one of the leading Africa practices, with a clear commitment to a wide variety of projects and energy work."
- "Clifford Chance is great in Africa."
- African Legal Counsel Retreat (2016): Clifford Chance brought together members of African law firms and representatives of African and international corporations and financial institutions to discuss various aspects of business on the continent. It focused on the continued importance of the power and financial M&A sectors in Africa, as well as the best ways to manage risks and comply with sanctions, the rise of platform deals and the constantly developing nature of clients' needs. This is the third event of its kind, following two others in 2014 and 2013.
Examples of work in banking, finance and regulatory include advising:
- Dangote Industries Limited, as borrower, on a USD 3.3 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
- Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Banque Audi, Banque Misr, and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD on a lqndmark Islamic Shari'a compliant financial package of around EGP1.8 billion extended to Al Sharkeya Sugar Manufacturing S.A.E. (ASSM) for the construction of a sugar production facility in Al Sharkeya Governorate in Egypt.
- Umeme, the largest electricity distribution company in Uganda, on a dual-tranche, DFI and commercial bank, long term capex financing of up to USD 190 million. This is one of the largest loans to a Ugandan company to date.
- the Ministry of Finance on the creation of Casablanca Financial City
- Maghreb Titrisation on the reform of the Securitisation law in the Kingdom of Morocco.
Examples of work in project finance include advising:
- fifteen lenders on the USD 1 billion financing of Nigeria's first fully privately financed independent power plant (IPP), Azura-Edo.
- OPIC and IFC on all aspects of the financing of the renovation of the 52.9MW combined cycle power plant running on heavy fuel with the option of conversion to natural gas located at the site of Cap des Biches in Senegal.
- the lenders on the USD 825 million financing of the construction and operation of a coal fired power plant and an adjacent coal mine owned by Maamba Collieries Limited, located in Maamba, Zambia.
- Italian company Enel Green Power SpA and its South African subsidiary on the financing of the Gibson Bay wind farm in South Africa by KfW IPEX-Bank in a total volume of 2.1 billion South African Rand (around EUR 160 million).
- on a USD 300 million project financing arranged by Habib Bank Limited for the design, construction, development, operation and maintenance of a greenfield cement manufacturing plant (and associated facilities) and the exploitation of limestone and clay quarry mines by Nyumba Ya Akiba SA in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- the lenders, a South Africa bank consortium led by Rand Merchant Bank, and a group of development finance institutions led by FMO on the USD 650 million debt financing of the Kpone IPP project. African Power Deal of the Year: PFI, 2014
- GDF Suez, Nareva and Mitsui on the USD 2.6 billion, 18 year financing of a 1,386 MW ultra-supercritical coal-fired independent power project near the port of Safi, Morocco. North African Power Deal of the Year: PFI, 2014
- Barclays in relation to an 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, 2012, Trade Finance Deal of the Year, 2012 and Deal of the Year The Banker, Africa, 2013
- on the financing (with Hermes backed and a commercial tranche) for an approximately 100 MW wind farm project located around 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Examples of work in capital markets include advising:
- Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank on the $750 million inaugural offering of 9.50% amortising notes due 2025 by the Republic of Cameroon
- Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered Bank in connection with the Reg S/144A issue of US$500m 6.950% notes due 2025 by the Gabonese Republic
- BNP Paribas, Standard Bank Plc and Kuwait Finance House Investment Co. K.S.S.C. as structuring banks and joint lead managers, and Citibank N.A., London Branch as representative of sukuk holders, on the inaugural USD 500 million sukuk issuance by the Republic of South Africa
- The Republic of Senegal on its inaugural CFA 100 billion (approximately USD 200 million) sukuk issuance, the first major sukuk issuance by a sovereign in Africa
- Nigeria's largest bank, Zenith Bank plc, in connection with its successful technical listing of global depositary receipts (GDRs) representing interests in its ordinary shares
- South African rail, port and pipeline operator Transnet SOC Ltd on its debut international capital markets offering of USD 1 billion 4% senior notes due 2020
- BNP Paribas and Citigroup Global Markets Limited as Joint Lead Managers of the issue of USD 400 million 6.625% notes due 2023 by the Republic of Rwanda
- Barclays and Deutsche Bank as Joint Lead Managers on the Republic of Zambia's issuance of USD 750 million 5.375% notes due 2022. This was the first international Eurobond issue out of Zambia
- Citibank N.A., as issuer of a USD 60 million standby letter of credit, covered by a Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG Structure) of The World Bank's International Development Association in favor of gas suppliers and at the request of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. It was a high profile transaction as the PRG Structure serves to enhance the state's credit risk with respect to payments of gas price - a key aspect in support of the development of the energy sector in the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire
Examples of private equity work include advising:
- CDC on a primary equity subscription of US$ 140 million in ARM Cement Limited. This is the largest announced equity investment transaction in East Africa this year
- Actis LLP on its sale of Emerging Markets Payments (EMP)
- Actis LLP on its majority investment in Sigma Pensions, a leading Pension Fund Administration business in Nigeria
- Carlyle Group on its USD 147 million investment in Diamond Bank plc via its recent rights issue
- KKR on the investment in Ethiopia-based Afriflora, a leading large-scale rose grower and distributor- KKR's first direct investment in Africa.
- Wendel on its investment in the IHS Group, active in the telecom tower infrastructures business in Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast)
- 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 (€370 million). North Africa Consumer Deal of the Year, Private Equity Africa Awards, 2014
Examples of M&A work include advising:
- SAHAM Finances on its acquisition of a 53.6% stake in the Nigerian reinsurance company, Continental Reinsurance PLC.
- Citi on the sale of its consumer banking business in Egypt.
- Actis LLP on a joint venture with Mainstream Renewable Power, the global wind and solar developer, to establish a US$1.9 billion pan-African renewable energy generation platform, Lekela Power. It is envisaged that Lekela Power will develop between 700 and 900MW of wind and solar projects across Africa in the coming years.
- Glencore on its USD 1.35 billion acquisition of Chad-focused oil and gas Caracal Energy Inc, a Canadian company listed on the London Stock Exchange for an all cash consideration of £5.50 per common share, valuing Caracal's shares at approximately USD 1.35 billion. Clifford Chance also advised Glencore in relation to the impact of the acquisition on Caracal's USD 173,600,000 Convertible Bonds due 2017.
- Grohe Group S.à r.l. on its acquisition of a 51% stake in the WaterTech portfolio of South Africa-based Dawn Ltd, which generates annual gross sales of around EUR 110 million. The new company will be named Grohe Dawn WaterTech Holdings Pty Ltd.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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).
Awards and milestones
- Africa - Multi-sourced Financing Award - Azura-Edo IPP, Nigeria: IJGlobal Awards 2015
- African Power Deal of the Year - Maamba Collieries Coal-fired Plant and Mine, Zambia: IJGlobal Awards 2015
- African Power Deal of the Year - Maamba Collieries Coal-fired Plant and Mine, Zambia: PFI Awards 2015
- EMEA Deal of the Year - Safi Coal-fired power plant, Morocco: Trade Finance Awards 2015
- EMEA Deal of the Year - Kenya Airways - ECA-backed aircraft financing: Trade Finance Awards 2015
- EMEA Deal of the Year - Kosmos Financing and Refinancing, Ghana: Trade Finance Awards 2015
- African ECA Deal of the Year - Ethiopian Railways: TXF Awards 2015
- Debt Deal of the Year - Ethiopian Railways: African Banker Awards 2015
- Overall Legal Advisor of the Year: Private Equity Africa Awards, 2013, 2014, 2015
- Deals Legal Advisor of the Year: Private Equity Africa Awards, 2015
- Africa Deal of the Year - Republic of Senegal CFA100 billion sukuk: Islamic Finance News Awards 2015
- Infrastructure & Project Finance Deal of the Year - Al Sharkiya Sugar Manufacturing Company financing, Egypt: Islamic Finance News Awards 2015
- Best Power Deal in EMEA - Cenpower Kpone IPP, Ghana: EMEA Finance Project Finance Awards 2014
- Best Project Finance Deal in Africa - Cenpower Kpone IPP, Ghana: EMEA Finance Project Finance Awards 2014
- African Power Deal of the Year - Safi coal-fired power plant, Morocco: IJ Global Awards 2014
- North African Power Deal of the Year - Safi coal-fired plant, Morocco: PFI Awards 2014
- African Power Deal of the Year - Cenpower Kpone IPP, Ghana: PFI Awards 2014
- North Africa Consumer Deal of the Year- Actis’ investment in Edita Food Industries: Private Equity Africa Awards, 2014
- International Law Firm of the Year: The African Legal Awards, 2013
- Deal of the Year-Power- Azito Gas-fired Power Plant expansion, Côte d'Ivoire: Infrastructure Journal, 2013
- Infrastructure & Project Finance Deal of the Year- Barclays financing of district hospitals in Ghana: The Banker, 2013
Directory listings and client comments
- "Regarded as a dominant presence in project finance, this team is well reputed for its role in some of the largest projects throughout Africa. Also assists lenders and sponsors with transactions in the space, and increasingly active on power projects in the region."
"They're top-notch in project finance and their knowledge of Africa is one of the best in the market."
Chambers Global, 2016: Africa wide - Projects & Energy
- "Top international firm well regarded for its experience in handling complex M&A, project finance and private equity transactions in Africa. Offers particular expertise across sectors such as TMT, energy and finance"
"Clifford Chance really understand the African continent. They have the experience needed to actually have a feel for it - I would rate them top for sure."
Chambers Global, 2016: Africa wide - Corporate/M&A
- "Leading practice advising financial institutions, public entities and development agencies across the continent on top-tier finance transactions. Maintains an established presence in North and West Africa through its Casablanca office while teams in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Dubai co-ordinate operations in all key jurisdictions."
"They have unparalleled expertise in the industry and are my first-choice firm."
Chambers Global, 2016: Africa wide - Banking & Finance
- "One of the most prominent corporate practices, regularly sought after for big-ticket and high-profile M&A deals, project financings and capital markets work. Highlighted for its strength in private equity transactions in Africa. Attracts an enviable clientele including leading domestic and international corporates, financial institutions and private equity funds."
"They genuinely have experience and expertise across the board."
Chambers Global, 2015: Africa wide - Corporate and Commercial
- "One of the most well-respected project finance practices, drawing on deep expertise from its teams in London and Paris, as well as Casablanca. Handles some of the largest mandates on the continent, including oil and gas, power and infrastructure projects across the continent."
"They have a good reputation and their work has been fantastic." "They have excellent credentials."
Chambers Global, 2015: Africa wide - Projects & Energy
- "An impressive pan-African deal sheet that includes significant work in capital markets, private equity, M&A and the full spectrum of financing mandates. Commentators note the firm's particular expertise in the Nigerian market, and its wider geographical spread of work extends to all regions from South Africa to Morocco, where the firm also has a local office."
"They're approachable, straightforward, able to dissect difficult legal issues in a pragmatic way and have a lot of patience." "We've worked with them successfully on some fairly big-ticket transactions."
Chambers Global, 2014: Africa wide - Corporate and Commercial
- A team that is sought out for some of the largest financings in the market. Groups from London, Paris and the Middle East frequently appear on instructions from Nigeria to South Africa, and an office in Casablanca aids the firm's work in North Africa. The firm's expertise extends across the full range of projects and energy sector work."
"Good in the negotiation of direct agreements with governments in Africa." "Very prominent on the lending side."
Chambers Global, 2014: Africa wide – Projects & Energy
- The firm's Africa desk handles mandates on behalf of major financial institutions and well-known large multinationals. The desk offers an impressive geographical spread and advice on M&A, investments, projects and associated finance, energy and natural resources and infrastructure. Anthony Giustini is a key contact.
Chambers Global, 2014: Africa-wide - Corporate/M&A: France - Foreign Desks
- Antitrust/competition, EU & Trade
- Capital Markets
- Employee Incentives & Share Schemes
- Funds & Investment Management
- Intellectual Property
- Litigation & Dispute Resolution
- Project Finance
- Public Policy
- Real Estate
- Regulatory Investigations, Enforcement & White Collar
- Restructuring & Insolvency
- Tax, Pensions, Employment & Incentives