Our OHADA - Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa practice provides legal advice across Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Republic of Congo, Senegal and Togo.
Our multi-disciplinary practice brings together lawyers from different practice groups and offices, particularly London and Paris. Our lawyers are fluent in both English and French.
We have been at the forefront of developing and implementing the OHADA law in major secured financings in several OHADA Member countries. 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 clients include African and international corporations, investors, commercial lenders, export credit agencies, development agencies and governments, domestic and international private equity funds.
We boast a wealth of on the ground experience, delivering international market practice in the regional business environment.
Our expertise across the region covers a variety of industries (banking, energy and natural resources, infrastructure, private equity, telecoms) and the full range of legal services (from project finance to capital markets, lending, private equity and corporate/M&A, dispute resolution):
- Project Finance: we pride ourselves on having acted on landmark projects in the region such as the Azito and Ciprel Power plants in Côte d’Ivoire, the Kribi power plant in Cameroon, the extension of the Dakar toll road in Senegal, the Chad-Cameroon petroleum and pipeline project, the Cap des Biches power plant in Senegal, the financing for the construction and operation of a container terminal in the port of Lomé
- Corporate: our recent highlights include advising Actis on the sale and transfer of Globeleq Africa to a consortium formed by Norfund and CDC (including assets in Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire), advising on the USD$1.35 billion acquisition of Caracal Energy Inc., a company focused on oil and gas exploration, development and production activities in the Republic of Chad, advising Carrefour on its joint venture arrangements with CFAO for the development and operation of retail activities in Senegal, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, DRC, Gabon, Nigeria and Ghana
- Capital Markets: recently advised on the two sovereign debt issuances by the Republic of Gabon and the Republic of Cameroon
- Lending: we advise numerous clients on loan facilities
We have excellent and long standing relationships with all of the leading law firms in the region. In September 2013, we launched the Clifford Chance Africa Academy ("CCAA"), which provides a structured training programme that is accessible for all our relationship African counsel. Regional law firms took part in the sessions we organised in Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon and Senegal.
- Reform of the CFA Franc in West Africa – Introducing the "Eco"
14 February 2020
- 'OHADA Law – Impacts of the Dematerialisation of Securities
29 June 2018
Awards and milestones
- Regional Law Firm of the Year: Francophone Africa 2021 - Chambers 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
- Burkina Faso - Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund - Advising Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) on the financing of a 30 MW solar plant in Burkina Faso
- Cameroon / Côte d'Ivoire – Globeleq Africa – Advising Actis on the transfer of its Globeleq Africa power portfolio comprising 8 power generation assets in different African countries, including Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire.
- Cameroon – Nachtigal Project – Advising 15 lenders on the financing of a 420MW hydropower project on the Sanaga river near the Nachtigal Falls for a total project cost of 1.2 billion Euros. Nachtigal is the largest hydro IPP in Africa.
- Cameroon – Sovereign Bond – Advising Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank in connection with the USD$750 million offering of 9.50% notes due 2025 by the Republic of Cameroon.
- Chad – Glencore – Advising on the USD$ 1.35 billion acquisition of Caracal Energy Inc., a company focused on oil and gas exploration, development and production activities in the Republic of Chad.
- Congo Brazzaville – Advising in connection with a Glencore pre-payment facility
- Congo Brazzaville – Avima Iron Ore Limited dispute – Advising Avima Iron Ore on its US$27 billion claim against the Republic of Congo for the revocation of its licence.
- Côte d'Ivoire – Biovéa Project - Advising on the financing of the largest biomass power plant with grid injection in West Africa
- Côte d'Ivoire – Atinkou Power Plant – Advising the Lenders (multilateral agencies and commercial banks) on the financing of a new 390MW power plant in Côte d'Ivoire, developed by a sister company of CIPREL.
- Côte d'Ivoire – Abidjan Toll Bridge Project – Advising Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF) and AFC in a transaction to purchase shares in Société Concessionaire du Pont Riviera Marcory (SOCOPRIM), owned by the Ivorian Government and its affiliates, Total and Bouygues.
- Côte d'Ivoire – Azito Phase IV – Advising the lenders on the financing of the extension of the Azito thermal power plant in the Ivory Coast for a total cost of 264 million euros.
- Côte d'Ivoire – Azito Phase III – Advising the lenders in connection with their contemplated respective loans to Azito Energie S.A. for the partial financing of the conversion of the existing Azito simple cycle gas-fired power plant to a combined-cycle power plant (Phase III).
- Côte d'Ivoire – Ciprel power plant – Advising the lenders in relation to the financing of the conversion of the Ciprel power plant into combined cycle in Côte d'Ivoire.
- Côte d'Ivoire - Leveraged Management Buyout – Advising Vantage Capital on €19 million mezzanine facility provided to Pétro Ivoire, the first-ever leveraged management buyout in Francophone West Africa.
- DRC – Nyumba Ya Akiba – Advising a group of financiers composed of development financial institutions (including AfDB and International Finance Corporation), and the Danish export credit agency (Eksport Kredit Fonden) 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.
- Gabon – New Owendo International Ports - Advising AfDB and EAIF on the project financing of the expansion and upgrade of the New Owendo International Port developed by GSEZ, the main port in Gabon dedicated to the export of processed and semi-processed products, including liquids, fishery products and the dynamic Gabonese wood industry (varnish, plywood, wooden furniture, etc.).
- Gabon – Sovereign Bond tap issue – Advising Deutsche Bank as sole lead manager and bookrunner on the tap issuance by the Gabonese Republic of its outstanding USD$500 million 6.95% bonds due 16 June 2025 for an amount of USD£200 million
- Gabon – Sovereign Bond – Advising Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered (as joint lead managers and dealer managers) in relation to the Gabonese Republic's issue of USD$1.5 billion 6.375% Amortizing Notes due 2024 (including liability management exercise and new money issuance).
- Madagascar – Volobe Hydropower plant – Advising the consortium Jovanna Madagascar and Colas Madagascar in respect of design, building, financing and operation of hydroelectric units with a total capacity of 120 MW on the site of Volobe Amont in Madagascar.
- Mali – Segou Solar IPP – Advising the lenders in connection with the financing for the greenfield 33 MW solar power plant project developed by Segou Solar S.A. and sponsored by Scatec Solar ASA
- Senegal – Cap des Biches Project – Advising OPIC and IFC in connection with 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.
- Senegal – Taïba N'Diaye Wind Farm – Advising Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, and EKF Denmark's Export Credit Agency as the lenders in connection with the development and financing of a 158 MW wind farm that will be constructed in the commune of Taïba N'Diaye, Senegal.
- Senegal – Toll Road and Extension – Advising the lenders (IFC, AfDB, BOAD, CBAO) on the USD$409 million financing of first section of the Dakar toll road concession (Diamniadio) – African Transport Deal of the Year 2010, Project Finance Magazine 2011 and on the extension towards the new International Airport of Blaise Diagne ("AIBD") awarded to SENAC (owned by Eiffage SA.)
- Senegal / Mauritania – Gimi floating LNG vessel project – Advising ABN AMRO Bank N.V., Clifford Capital Pte. Ltd., ING Bank N.V. and Natixis as mandated lead arrangers on the US$700 million financing for the conversion of the LNG carrier Gimi into an FLNG vessel, which is going to part of the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project that is based on one of the largest offshore gas discoveries in West Africa.
- Togo – Container Terminal – Advising the lenders (including IFC, AfDB, DEG, FMO, ICF DP, OFID, CDB, Proparco) in connection with the financing of one of the largest containers terminals in West Africa Region (Port of Lomé).
- Regional - Carrefour SA – Advising Carrefour SA to form a joint venture with CFAO for the development and operation of retail activities in 8 West and Central African countries via franchise agreements with the Carrefour group.Publications
- "This firm 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." Noted for its energy sector presence, sources describe the team as "very professional, reactive, and swift in response," and highlight its "experience in infrastructure project financing."
Cameroon – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2021
- Highly group revered for its expertise in OHADA law. Frequently called upon by international banks and investors to assist with project financing in the power, oil and gas and infrastructure sectors. Strong track record of experience advising on lending, high-profile corporate and securities matters. Regularly handles joint venture formations and acquisitions. Clients benefit from its bench of specialists based in Paris, London and Casablanca. Source says: "Clients appreciate the firm's commitment to and understanding of the African environment."
Corporate/Commercial: OHADA Specialists – Chambers Global 2020
- This highly rated international firm possesses strong expertise in corporate and commercial matters in Cameroon. Its Paris and London offices regularly advise on high-profile infrastructure and project finance matters. It also handles corporate transactions arising in the mining and oil and gas sectors. Sources consider the team to be "number one in terms of international firms in Cameroon."
Cameroon – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2020
- Highly rated group renowned for its expertise in OHADA law. Frequently called upon by international banks and investors to assist with project financing in the power, oil and gas and infrastructure sectors. Has standout experience in corporate and securities matters and regularly handles joint venture formations and acquisitions. Clients benefit from its strong bench of specialists based in Paris, London and Casablanca. Commentators praise the firm's "very strong project finance team" and particularly highlight its robust lender-side practice.
Corporate/Commercial: OHADA Specialists – Chambers Global 2019