Kenya and East Africa
Our East Africa practice provides legal advice across Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, The Seychelles and Uganda.
Our team has genuine on the ground experience in advising international and regional-based businesses on market leading transactions across the East Africa region.
Through our work across a range of sectors for corporates, financial institutions, private equity houses and Governments we have the legal expertise, industry knowledge and local know-how to advise on your mandates across East Africa.
Integrated East Africa Team
Our international team of Clifford Chance lawyers regularly work on market leading 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.
Working with African Counsel
We work with and have excellent and long standing relationships with the leading law firms in each East African jurisdiction. We have delivered eight 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 East Africa team have specialist knowledge across a variety of industries including financial services, energy and infrastructure, telecoms, real estate and transportation. The integrated team advise across a range of legal services (from project finance to capital markets, bank and other 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 projects across the region. Our East Africa team are also working with Governments and national organisations to develop regulations and training programmes which are intended to attract further investment into the region.
Risk and Raising Capital in East Africa
In February 2017, our East Africa practice held a successful conference on "Risk and Raising Capital in East Africa" in Nairobi.
The future for international trade (including the UK's relationship with East Africa post-Brexit), the challenges that East African banks and corporates face in trying to successfully raise capital and the impact that developing business/compliance risks are having were just some of the engaging topics that were covered during the conference.
The publication Risk and Raising Capital in East Africa explores some of the key themes discussed during the conference.
- 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
Awards and milestones
- 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 – Trade Finance
- Debt Deal of the Year 2015 – Ethiopian Railways Corporation Financing – African Banker
- African ECA Deal of the Year 2015 – Ethiopian Railways Corporation Financing – TXF
- Africa Power Deal of the Year 2011 – Lake Kivu methane gas extraction, Rwanda – Project Finance Magazine
- Sub-Saharan African Bond of the Year 2011 – PTA Bank EMTN, Kenya – The Banker's Awards
- Kenya - 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 Seychelles - The launch of the world's first sovereign blue bond by the Republic of Seychelles, which raised US$15 million from international investors and is partially guaranteed by the World Bank.
- Uganda / East Africa - The Carlyle Group's acquisition of a majority stake in AK Life Sciences (Abacus), a leading distributor of pharmaceutical products in East Africa and the largest manufacturer of parenterals in Uganda
- Kenya - CDC’s primary equity subscription of US$140m in ARM Cement. This was the largest announced equity investment transaction in East Africa in 2016
- Kenya - The USD$200 million loan to be provided by OPIC to Kipeto Energy to finance the development and construction of a 100MW wind power generation project in Kajiado
- Kenya -The USD$310 million loan from OPIC to OrPower IV Inc to finance a 129 MW geothermal power generation facility located in Hell’s Gate National Park in the Rift Valley Province
- Kenya - TDB (formerly PTA Bank)’s establishment and update of its USD$1 billion EMTN programme, including a USD$300 million combined new issuance and liability management exercise
- Kenya - Financing of nine Boeing 787s, one Boeing 777 and one Spare Engine for Kenya Airways
- Kenya - The establishment of a sub-Saharan schools joint venture platform between GEMS Education Group and CDC Group
- Kenya - The formation of a new joint venture relating to a large scale, mixed-use real estate development project on Nairobi's Thika Highway
- Kenya - Representing an international private equity fund in a shareholder dispute concerning an investment in East Africa
- Uganda / Kenya - The sale in multiple tranches for an international private equity house of their stake in Umeme, the national electricity utility in Uganda listed on the Ugandan and Nairobi stock exchanges. We previously advised Umeme on their USD$190 million financing
- Uganda – The acquisition of a 42% stake in Orient Bank in Uganda alongside a consortium principally comprised of a founder of the bank
- Ethiopia – The USD$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. Debt Deal of the Year, African Banker Awards 2015 and African ECA Deal of the Year, TXF Awards 2015
- Ethiopia – The first stage of a 500MW geothermal IPP in the Caldera of Corbetti for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
- Ethiopia – The investment in Ethiopia based Afriflora, a leading large-scale rose grower and distributor
- Tanzania – The USD$1.25 billion acquisition from Ophir Energy of a 20% stake in three gas blocks offshore Tanzania
- Tanzania – The USD$70 million rights issue by CRDB Bank, a commercial bank in Tanzania
- Rwanda – The developers (Hakan, Quantum Power and Themis Energy) on the development and financing of an 80-120MW (gross) peat fired power plant in Rwanda
We are the only international law firm ranked in Chambers Global 2019 and 2020 for three East African jurisdictions: Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
- High-profile multinational law firm with considerable activity in Kenya and East Africa. Provides high-end advice to Kenyan and international companies, as well as private equity firms and financial institutions, on their operations and activities in Kenya. Distinguished track record for its handling of major M&A transactions and investments, as well as financing and other corporate mandates, in a wide variety of industry sectors such as energy and infrastructure. Key figures in the practice are spread across the firm's global network of offices, with the London and Paris offices being particularly noteworthy.” One source commented: "They understand the market very well, know the big companies and understand what the requirements are. That's why we work well with them."
Only international law firm ranked in Kenya – Corporate/M&A (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2020
- Distinguished East Africa group with a strong foothold in Kenya. Draws on a team of experienced locally and internationally qualified lawyers to advise leading players in the energy and infrastructure sectors, as well as acting for private equity houses and international investors. Handles big-ticket M&A, the full array of financing mandates and corporate strategy.
Only international law firm ranked in Kenya – Corporate/M&A (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2019
- 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 as well as foreign investments into the region. The markets considers it "an excellent global law firm that is very specialised."
Only international law firm ranked in Rwanda – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2020
- The firm has extensive experience acting on behalf of international players across the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. It is particularly noted for its expertise in relation to cross-border transactions and international investments into Rwanda. London-based Jeremy Connick is a key contact for the firm's practice in this region.
Only international law firm ranked in Rwanda – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2019
- Clifford Chance continues to possess considerable expertise in the Ethiopian market, particularly regarding private equity, project finance and asset finance. The firm is best recognised in the market for acting for government entities and international financial institutions through its prolific banking and finance practice.
Only international law firm ranked in Ethiopia – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2020
- This international giant possesses significant Ethiopian expertise, with key lawyers based in several of its European offices. The team provides advice to international clients on project financing, particularly in the energy and power sectors. It also regularly assists with private equity investments. Work highlights include advising the Government of Ethiopia and Ethiopian Electric Power on two geothermal power plant projects. According to one source, the team consists of “top lawyers who are always creative” and who also “try to make sure that the client is served in the best possible way.” Nicholas Hughes and Jennifer Mbaluto, based in London, are key contacts for the practice.
Only international law firm ranked in Ethiopia – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2019
- Widely endorsed by market commentators as experts. Recognised for its impressive handling of project-related mandates, notably acting for lenders in the financing of projects in the energy and power sectors.
Uganda – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2020
- Impressive East Africa practice, highly regarded for its on-the-ground expertise in the region. Experienced actor in significant cross-border transactions, with particular expertise in advising lenders on major energy projects. Interviewees appreciate the commercial acumen of the team: "They have a good understanding of our business requirements and purposes, so they've been very practical and flexible." Sources value the depth of support that the firm provides from its offices in Amsterdam, London and Milan, adding: "They have a way about them, of knowing how to; they're quite practical and are able to come in and leave the sponsors happy. They speak the language."
Uganda – General Business Law (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2019
- Formidable East Africa practice group with a strong team comprising regional experts and locally qualified lawyers. Routinely acts for leading multinationals on significant corporate mandates, as well as representing banks and institutional investors in their Kenyan operations. Further noted for its projects, banking and finance and private equity expertise. Market commentators regard Clifford Chance as "the most active of all international firms doing M&A deals in East Africa." Interviewees acknowledge the team's impressive local knowledge, adding: "They're particularly good on the private equity side and do a lot of deals in the region." London-based Nicholas Hughes is co-head of Clifford Chance's East Africa practice and a key client contact.
Kenya – Corporate/Commercial (Expertise based abroad) – Chambers Global 2018
- This firm's globally recognised brand helps facilitate a range of complex cross-border transactions. It offers clients in Rwanda exceptional expertise across a range of sectors key to the region, including energy, infrastructure and mining, and frequently acts on behalf of international organisations seeking to invest in the country. Based in London, Jeremy Connick is the primary contact for this practice.
Rwanda (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2018
- This global law firm has significant experience in the Kenyan market and maintains close contact with local firms. It is instructed on a range of matters in the corporate sector and beyond, including investments, project financing, joint ventures and arbitration. Clients benefit from the diverse team of lawyers, including several London-based lawyers qualified in both Kenya and England and Wales. London-based Nicholas Hughes is head of Clifford Chance's East Africa practice and key client contact.
Kenya – Corporate/Commercial (Expertise based abroad) – Chambers Global 2017
- Well-recognised global firm that continues to demonstrate strength in Rwanda. The core practice of this magic circle firm focuses on representing international conglomerates and funds on inward investments into the country. It has experience operating on energy, mining, TMT and infrastructure projects. London-based Jeremy Connick remains a key contact for clients.
Rwanda (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2017