Our Francophone Africa practice provides legal advice across Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.
Our multi-disciplinary Francophone Africa practice brings together lawyers from various offices across the Clifford Chance network (including lawyers from our Casablanca regional office, our Paris office, and our London, China and Middle East offices).
Our lawyers are fluent in both English and French, and well-versed in OHADA law, working on high-profile and market-first transactions throughout the region. In 2021, Clifford Chance was awarded the distinction of "Regional Law Firm of the Year: Francophone Africa" at the Chambers Africa Awards 2021.
First-class OHADA law practice
We have been at the forefront of developing and implementing OHADA law in major secured financings in several OHADA Member countries. For instance, in recognition of our OHADA law expertise, we were asked by the World Bank and the OHADA Authorities to help prepare an analytical report with proposals for the reform of the OHADA Uniform Act on Security (the revised act came into effect in May 2011).
Our lawyers have specialist knowledge across a variety of industries including financial services, energy, natural resources (including mining), infrastructure, construction, commodities, and telecoms. The integrated team advises across a range of legal services: project development, project finance, financial regulatory, capital markets, lending, structured finance, Islamic finance, private equity, tech, corporate/M&A and dispute resolution, including international arbitration.
Our international team is familiar with the local legal and business environments, quickly identifying issues and designing effective solutions for clients. As part of our African Counsel Initiative, we work with and have excellent and long-standing relationships with the leading law firms in the region.
Our core areas of focus across Francophone Africa
- Regional / Cross-border – Gimi floating LNG vessel project (Senegal/Mauritania), Niger-Benin export pipeline, Chad-Cameroon pipeline
- Algeria – Hamma Water Desalination Project
- Benin – Maria Gleta power plant IPP, Dogo Bis hydroelectric power plant, Green Yellow Solar Projects
- Burkina Faso – Pâ Solar Project, Kodéni Solar Project, Negreongo Solar Project, Zano and Dedougou Solar Projects, Ouaga III and a power to mine LNG project
- Cameroon – award-winning Nachtigal Project, Kribi I and II, Memve’ele hydropower, Dibamba, KPEP hydropower, ENEO financing, Olembé stadium and sports complex, Douala stadium, ECC Water Treatment Development Project, Hospital Construction Financing, Limbe Power Plant, Rural Solar Power Project III
- Chad – Djermaya Solar PV plant
- Central African Republic – Passendro Gold Project
- Congo – Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project, Nkossa Offshore Oil Field Project
- Côte d'Ivoire – Abidjan Toll Road project, Atinkou Power Plant, Azito Phase III Power Project, Azito Phase IV Power Project, Biovéa Biomass Project, Bandama River Project, Ciprel IV, Korhogo PV Project
- DRC – Nyumba Ya Akiba (US$300 million project), Kansuki project, Muanda Gas-Power Project
- Gabon – Gabon refinery, Rabi and Kaunda Oil field projects, silico-manganese plant, new Owendo International Port
- Guinea – Red Clay bauxite project, Garafiri bauxite project, Norsk Boffa Bauxite, Guinea Alumina, Simandou iron ore project, Kamsar Port
- Madagascar – Volobe Hydropower plant
- Mali – Segou Solar IPP
- Morocco – 850 MW Wind Independent Power Project (wind farms located in Midelt, Tiskrad, Tanger II, Jbel Lahdid and Boujdour) and on the development, financing and operation of a 150 MW wind farm in Taza, the 100 MW CSP tower project forming part of the second phase of the Ouarzazate 500 MW Solar Power Complex, the repowering of the Koudia Al Baïda Wind Farm
- Niger – Keita cement plant
- Senegal – Malicounda Power Project, Grande Côte Mineral Sands Project, Dakar Toll Road Project, Cap des Biches Power Project, Leopold Sedar Senghor Airport, Taïba N'Diaye wind farm, Niakhar solar and battery storage project, financing of Sambangalou Dam
- Togo – Lomé container port terminal, thermal power plant
- Tunisia – TAV Airports development and financing, Kairouan solar project
Corporate / M&A / Private Equity
Our experience includes advising:
- Banque Centrale Populaire on the financing of Atlantic Financial Group's acquisition of three BNP Paribas' subsidiaries
- AIIM on its private equity investment in African airports in Gabon, Congo and Côte d'Ivoire
- Honoris on its strategic partnership with the higher education group ESPRIT in Tunisia
- Clifford Chance advises Medical Credit Fund on the establishment of MCF II, its second fund fully dedicated to the African health sector
- Actis on the acquisition of a controlling equity interest in Medis, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Tunisia and with operations in Algeria
- A.P. Moller Capital on the acquisition of a controlling stake in ports and logistics assets in Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire and Mauritania.
- A.P. Møller Capital on its strategic investment in grain logistics infrastructure
- Marsh group, a worldwide leading insurance broker and risk adviser, on the purchase of a stake in Beassur, a major insurance broker in Morocco
- Mitsubishi on its US$50 million investment in BBOXX Limited, a next generation energy company providing off-grid electricity in 12 African countries
- CDC Group plc in relation to its investment in the pan-African hotel group Onomo operating in Dakar, Abidjan, Lomé, Bamako, Libreville, Cape Town and Sandton
- Adenia Partners, African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) and IFC, on a US$130 million joint investment to support Eastcastle Infrastructure, a company specializing in Africa’s telecoms tower sector on its build-to-suit strategy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire
Banking & Capital Markets
Our experience includes advising:
- Ecobank Transnational Limited ("ETI"), the Lomé based parent of the Ecobank Group on its inaugural issue of an additional tier 1 instrument. It is the first AT1 instrument issued by ETI and a landmark transaction in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
- Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund's investment in a local currency capital market bond issue by Senegal's Port Autonome de Dakar
- OCP on the first synthetic securitization transaction in Morocco
- the Republic of Senegal on its inaugural CFA100 billion (c. US$200 million) sukuk issuance, the first major sukuk issuance by a sovereign in Africa
- Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank on the debut US$750m Reg S/144A Eurobond issue by the Republic of Cameroon
- Banque Centrale Populaire on the first international Green Bonds issuance (total amount of EUR135 million with a 10 year maturity) in the banking sector in Africa
- on the debt restructuring of TAV Tunisia
- a consortium of four international development finance institutions on a US$125 million Islamic financing facility to private healthcare company Humania (Bait Al Batterjee Group) to develop greenfield general hospitals in Morocco and Egypt
- Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan and Standard Chartered Bank in connection with the Gabonese Republic's tender offer and new issue of bonds
The majority of our representations are confidential and not in the public domain. Of those which concern Francophone Africa and can be published, the following are notable:
- Congo Brazzaville – Avima Iron Ore Limited dispute – US$27 billion claim
- Democratic Republic of Congo – Pascal Beveraggi dispute - US$220 million claim
- Congo Brazzaville – Sundance dispute – US$8.76 billion claim
- Renewable energy sector in Morocco – how will it impact the market?
21 April 2023
- Clifford Chance advises the sponsors on the design, construction, development, operation and financing of a 120 MW thermal power plant developed by Malicounda Power in Senegal
24 January 2023
- The development of Islamic finance in Morocco and the wider African continent
31 January 2022
- Algeria's move towards relaxing certain foreign investments restrictions
17 June 2020
- Reform of the CFA Franc in West Africa – Introducing the Eco
14 February 2020
- Renewable energy in Morocco: A reform called for by operators
7 February 2020
- Opportunities and Challenges in "Game Changing" Tunisian Solar and Wind Tenders
18 October 2019
- OHADA Law – Impacts of the Dematerialisation of Securities
29 June 2018
Directory and client comments
- Mustapha Mourahib is managing partner of the firm's growing Casablanca office and also co-heads the Africa practice. He is particularly active in the oil and gas space and is increasingly involved in cross-borer matters across the continent. "Mustapha does a brilliant job on the francophone side of things. He is a great M&A lawyer who is involved in a number of matters across Africa."
Chambers Global – Africa-Wide – Corporate/M&A & Private Equity, 2023
- Co-head of the firm's francophone OHADA practice, Paris-based Delphine Siino Courtin is well regarded for her handling of project finance mandates. She is prominent within the renewables sector, with her recent work covering hydropower and solar photovoltaic projects, where she is frequently instructed by international and domestic lenders and sponsors. "She has a lot of knowledge, is very efficient and has good negotiation skills."
Chambers Global – Africa-wide – Project Finance, 2022 - 2023
- Delphine Siino Courtin focuses on project development and finance transactions across North and francophone West Africa, particularly in the power sector. Based in Paris, her recent work includes projects and transactions in Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Senegal. "Delphine is a very competent lawyer. I take comfort from her involvement in my cross-border financing matters."
Chambers Global – Africa-wide - OHADA Specialists, 2022 - 2023
- Clifford Chance has a well-established presence in Morocco and is a popular choice of representation among financial institutions. The firm regularly advises on credit facilities, as well as assisting with the financing of large-scale projects in the renewable energy sector. In addition, it also has extensive experience advising on banking M&A and regularly acts as issuer's counsel on high-value bond issuances and securitization transactions. Sources say that Clifford Chance "are seen as a leader in the Moroccan market for banking and finance.“ Mustapha Mourahib is " a very capable lawyer and everyone that works with him gives him great feedback. He is especially strong on big financing projects". Ouns Lemseffer"has accumulated significant experience over the years working on project finance deals". She "was excellent, very efficient and on time".
Chambers Global – Banking & Finance - Morocco, 2022 - 2023 – only law firm in Band 1
- International law firm Clifford Chance is a hugely respected player in the Moroccan market. Its Casablanca group is regularly involved in very high-value private equity matters, and is also extremely well versed in M&A transactions arising in sectors as diverse as education and telecoms. The team also offers considerable know-how in the establishment of joint ventures and strategic partnerships, and is further noted for its experience acting for clients in the energy and infrastructure sectors on project developments. One client noted: "I particularly appreciate their know-how and their ability to bring the transaction to a close in good conditions". Mustapha Mourahib "has great knowledge of the environment and has real expertise in the subtleties of business law", "I was quite impressed by his skills"
Chambers Global – Corporate/Commercial - Morocco, 2022 - 2023
- Clifford Chance is well versed in advising on corporate matters and projects in Cameroon and throughout the region, with valued contributions from its Paris, London and Washington, DC offices.
Chambers Global – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) - Cameroon, 2022 - 2023
- Mustapha Mourahib, Delphine Siino Courtin, Ouns Lemseffer and Corinne Duvnjak are recognised in Jeune Afrique’s 2021 Top 100 lawyers in Francophone Africa.
- National Law Firm of the Year: Morocco 2022 – IFLR Africa Awards
- Morocco Law Firm of the Year 2022 – Chambers Africa Awards
- National Law Firm of the Year: Morocco 2021 – IFLR Africa Awards
- Restructuring Deal of the Year 2021 – TAV Airports Restructuring, Tunisia – IFLR Africa Awards
- Regional Law Firm of the Year: Francophone Africa 2021 – Chambers Africa Awards
- Local Currency Sovereign, Supra & Agency Bond Deal of the Year 2021 – Port Autonome de Dakar (PAD) XOF 60bn Senior Unsecured Bond, Senegal – Bonds & Loans Africa Awards
- Editor’s Choice Africa Award 2020 – Atinkou CCGT, Côte d'Ivoire - IJ Global Awards
- African Power Deal of the Year 2020 – Azito Phase IV Project, Côte d'Ivoire - IJ Global Awards
- African Transport Deal of the Year 2019 – New Owendo International Port PPP, Gabon - IJ Global Awards
- African Oil & Gas Deal of the Year 2019 – Gimi floating LNG vessel project, Senegal and Mauritania – IJ Global Awards
- African LNG Deal of the Year for 2019 – Gimi floating LNG vessel project – Senegal and Mauritania - PFI Awards
- Global Multilateral Deal of the Year 2018 – Nachtigal Hydro Project, Cameroon – PFI Awards
- African Power Deal of the Year 2018 – Nachtigal Hydro Project, Cameroon – IJ Global Awards
- African Wind Deal of the Year 2018 – Taiba N'Diaye, Senegal – IJ Global Awards
- African M&A Deal of the Year 2018 – AIIM acquisition of SEGAP stake - IJ Global Awards
- Africa Deal of the Year 2018 – Government of Morocco's debut sovereign Sukuk Ijarah of MAD1 billion, Morocco – Islamic Finance News Awards
- Africa Deal of the Year 2014 – Republic of Senegal CFA100 billion sukuk, Senegal – Islamic Finance News Awards