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Kenya and East Africa

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Our East Africa practice provides legal advice across Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania 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.

Recent highlights

Awards and milestones

  • 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

Recent assignments

  • 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 US$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 US$310m 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 US$1bn EMTN programme, including a US$300m 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 US$190m 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 US$865m 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 US$1.25bn acquisition from Ophir Energy of a 20% stake in three gas blocks offshore Tanzania 
  • Tanzania – The US$70m 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

Directory listings and client comments

  • "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 (Desks Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2017