Our East Africa practice provides legal advice across Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, The Seychelles and Uganda.
Led by two Kenyan qualified lawyers (Jennifer Mbaluto and Daniel Mutisya) with several years of experience at leading Kenyan and international law firms, our East Africa team has genuine on-the-ground experience in advising international and regional-based businesses on market leading transactions across the region.
Integrated East Africa Team
Our international team of Clifford Chance lawyers regularly work on high-profile and complex matters in the region, are familiar with the local legal and business environment and are able to use that experience to quickly identify issues and design effective solutions for clients. The team includes lawyers who are qualified or have worked in the region. They jointly work with other Clifford Chance lawyers, who are specialists in their areas.
Working with the best East African practitioners
Our team works with and has excellent and long-standing relationships with the leading law firms in each East African jurisdiction. We have delivered numerous Clifford Chance Africa Academy training sessions in the region since 2013, sharing insights and discussing best practice with over 100 regional lawyers.
Offering full-service capability
Our practice stands out from that of other firms by its breadth across types of clients and diversity of practice and sectors. Over the years, we have developed close relationships with some of the region's leading corporates, financial institutions, private equity houses as well as with local regulators and governments.
Our East Africa team has specialist knowledge across a variety of industries including banks and financial services, energy and infrastructure, telecommunications, TECH, healthcare. The integrated team advises across a broad spectrum of legal services ranging from project finance to capital markets, bank lending, private equity and corporate/M&A, and dispute resolution.
Committed to the region
We are providing funding and legal assistance to a number of pro-bono organisations across the region. Our flagship Cornerstone Initiative, launched in 2019 with the aim of improving the lives of those in some of the poorest communities in Kigali, is already creating lasting, sustainable change in Rwanda. Our East Africa team is also working with governments and national organisations to develop regulations and training programmes which are intended to attract further investment into the region.
Our core areas of focus across East Africa
Our experience includes advising:
- the lenders on all financing aspects in relation to lots 15 and 18 of the Kenya Annuity Road Programme
- the 500 MW Corbetti geothermal IPP and the 500 MW Tulu Moye geothermal IPP (Ethiopia)
- the sponsor in relation to the development of a 105MW peat-fired power station in the Akanyaru valley (Rwanda)
- 'a consortium of investors strategically on their bidding process for the landmark Kampala Jinga Expressway Project'
Our experience includes advising:
- Actis' exit from Creditinfo Group, an emerging markets credit referencing business with operations in 4 continents including Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Mali and others).
- The Carlyle Group in acquiring majority stake in East African pharmaceutical leader
- Medical Credit Fund on the establishment of MCF II, its second fund fully dedicated to the African health sector
- AIIM on their investment in BBOXX, an off-grid solar solutions specialist company with operations in Kenya, Rwanda and the DRC
- Mitsubishi on a US$50 million investment into next generation utility company BBOXX
- On the formation of Zoscales Partners' second fund which is targeting US$175 million for investment in East Africa
- On the US$1.25 billion acquisition by Ophir Energy of a 20% stake in three gas blocks offshore Tanzania
- On the acquisition of a 42% stake in Orient Bank in Uganda alongside a consortium principally comprised of a founder of the bank
Our experience includes advising on:
- the issuance of Kenya's US$2 billion Eurobond to be listed on both the Irish and London stock exchanges and to be sold in two tranches of 12 and 31 years.
- the EUR334 million MIGA-backed financing to support the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank's (TDB) trade finance business in its member states
- the launch of the world's first sovereign blue bond by the Republic of Seychelles
- the mandated lead arrangers in relation to a US$800m syndicated medium-term loan facility for the government of the Republic of Kenya
- the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank's (TDB) establishment and update of its US$1bn EMTN programme, including a US$300m combined new issuance and liability management exercise
- the lenders in connection with the US$400m refinancing of the 250MW Bujagali hydro project (Uganda)
- the US$865 million financing for Ethiopian Railways Corporation for the purpose of funding the construction of the first section of the Awash-Weldia/Hara Gebeya Railway Project.
Our experience includes:
- Representing an international private equity fund in a shareholder dispute concerning an investment in East Africa
- Representing Pacific Wildcat Resources Corp and its subsidiaries Cortec Mining Kenya Limited, Cortec (Pty) Limited and Stirling Capital Limited in an ICSID investment treaty arbitration against the Republic of Kenya.
- Ethiopia's New Investment Framework – The Regulation
15 January 2021
- Ethiopia's new investment law – what does it mean for foreign investors?
29 April 2020
- Rwanda – Where minority shareholders have a major right
19 January 2018
We are recognised every year as international experts in the Chambers rankings for Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda.
- Jennifer Mbaluto co-heads the firm's East Africa practice, providing guidance and advice on inbound investments and M&A transactions. A dual-qualified lawyer in Kenya and in England and Wales, one source described her as "the leading East Africa expert in London."
Chambers Global – Corporate/M&A (Expertise Based Abroad) – Recognised Practitioner in Kenya, 2021 & 2022
- Clifford Chance is an acclaimed international firm distinguished for its involvement in business law matters in Rwanda and throughout Central and East Africa. Its experience features both cross-border transactions and foreign investments into the region as well as international arbitration proceedings involving Rwandan entities. Sources note its "significant work in the market," with one stating: "We appreciate their detailed approach. They are a pleasure to work with."
Chambers Global – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) – Only international law firm ranked in Rwanda, 2021 & 2022
- Clifford Chance is a highly regarded player in the Ethiopian legal market, and routinely acts on a variety of corporate and commercial concerns. The firm houses experts in M&A, private equity and project finance, with particular expertise in energy and agribusiness-related projects. "They're very experienced, they are proactive, they are very professional."
Chambers Global – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) – Only international law firm ranked in Ethiopia, 2021 & 2022
- High-profile multinational law firm with widely recognised expertise in Uganda. Regularly sought out for its handling of projects-related mandates, notably acting for lenders and sponsors on the financing and development of projects in the traditional and renewable power sectors, as well as infrastructure. Additionally acts for international companies on acquisitions, investments and divestitures in the jurisdiction. "The lawyers stand out for being very solution-driven in their approach to matters and for having a strong command of commercial issues in transactions."
Chambers Global – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) – Only international law firm ranked in Uganda, 2021 & 2022
- Loans Deal of the Year 2021 – Trade and Development Bank Pandemic Relief Loan – IFLR Africa Awards
- African Refinancing Deal of the Year 2018 – Bujagali Hydropower Project, Uganda – IJ Global Awards
- African Power Deal of the Year 2017 – Hakan Peat-Fired, Rwanda – IJ Global Awards
- EMEA Deal of the Year 2015 – Kenya Airways ECA-backed aircraft financing, Kenya – Trade Finance
- Debt Deal of the Year 2015 – Ethiopian Railways Corp Financing, Ethiopia – African Banker