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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Morocco and Francophone Africa

Clifford Chance's Casablanca regional office is the leading international legal advisory firm in Morocco, a gateway to Francophone Africa and a strategic hub for business across the African continent. 

We have unparalleled experience in North Africa and West Africa and are able to coordinate these efficiently and seamlessly from a single hub, ensuring that each step is taken with an eye to both the "big picture" and the nuances of individual jurisdictions. By combining international best practice and deep local knowledge, we offer a unique service in Africa.

The nerve centre connecting clients to Africa

Our Casablanca office is key to our work in Africa. It is a nerve centre that connects clients from across the world with our on the ground resources in Africa, and gives Africa-based clients access to the capabilities of our international network.

We offer the full spectrum of legal advice that clients can expect from a leading global legal advisory firm. We have very strong capabilities and unrivalled experience in both M&A/Private Equity and Finance transactions.

Our leading team of local and international associates are fluent in French, English and Arabic. We offer advice in Moroccan, French and English law and are also well versed in OHADA law. It also has a close working relationship with regulators and is frequently called upon to participate in the drafting of legislation and regulations. 

Our Casablanca office is part of a dedicated Africa practice which has been active in Africa for 40 years. Our African expertise is recognised globally by our clients, all the major legal directories, as well as the business world.

Our associates work closely together, mobilising the firm's resources in Morocco and in our other international offices to provide you with optimum client service. In addition to this, we possess a carefully selected network of the best local African legal advisory firms in jurisdictions where the firm is not directly represented.

Learn more about our Africa practice.

Recent highlights

Publications

Awards and Milestones

  • Continuously ranked Band 1 in Chambers Global, Legal 500 and IFLR for Morocco
  • Regional Law Firm of the Year: Francophone Africa 2021 - Chambers Africa 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 – Islamic Finance News Awards

Please refer to the specific key jurisdictions and regions to find out about other awards in Africa.

Recent Assignments

Finance

We advise across all aspects of finance, examples of work include:

Highlights in Morocco

Highlights across Africa

M&A / Private Equity

We advise across all aspects of M&A / Private Equity, examples of work include:

Highlights in Morocco 

Highlights across Africa


We are committed to the development of Morocco and are involved in a number of pro bono/community programmes:

  • Bourse Clifford Chance / AJAM – Attribution of a grant to Moroccan students with an outstanding academic track record who wish to become business law practitioners 
  • Africa Book Aid Program – Establishment of a long-term, cross-border program that will coordinate the donation of legal textbooks to the libraries of eligible law schools in Africa and in particular in Morocco 
  • Association Amani – Donation towards the creation of a library within their Centre of Excellence. Association Amani is a Moroccan organisation dedicated to the education of underprivileged children and to the accompaniment of their families
  • Association Atlas – Donation towards the financing of solar panels. Association Atlas is a Moroccan organisation dedicated to the development of rural, isolated mountain communities and focuses its initiatives on two key sectors: education and ecotourism     

Directory and client comments

Morocco

  • "International firm that remains a hugely respected player in the Moroccan commercial law market. Particularly well regarded in the domain of banking and finance, serving numerous international and regional banks. Also active on private equity transactions. Provides expertise in M&A in sectors as diverse as education, insurance and hospitality. Further noted for its expertise and experience in the energy and infrastructure sectors." Commentators say that: "the team as a whole is great, and the different lawyers complement each other well in terms of their skills," adding: "the key differentiator is the value-add outside the legal domain in negotiations with counterparties and proactive solution finding."
    Chambers Global: Morocco, 2021
  • Clients of Clifford Chance praise 'its availability, commitment, knowledge and understanding of the client'. The firm has the capacity to advise on Moroccan, French, English and OHADA (Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa) law from its Casablanca office, putting it in prime position to handle large cross-border M&A and to advise large local companies on commercial matters. The firm's recent highlights included assisting A.P. Møller Capital with its investment in a cereal-handling logistics platform in Africa. Practice head Mustapha Mourahib is recognised as one of the market's leading practitioners. He advised the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy on the transfer of renewable energy assets from the Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable.
    Tier 1 - Commercial, Corporate and M&A – Morocco - Legal 500 2021
  • The finance practice in Clifford Chance's Casablanca office handles banking, capital markets and finance transactions across the MENA region, including project, Islamic, acquisition and asset finance, as well as advising on debt issuance and restructuring, securitisations, sukuk, corporate lending and structured finance. It has a strong track record in innovative transactions, which recently included the first-ever non-sovereign guaranteed financing for a local municipality, which saw the firm assist the Casablanca-Settat Region with a $100m facility provided by IFC. Partner Mustapha Mourahib, who is a co-head of the firm-wide Africa practice, and counsel Ouns Lemseffer, are the main contacts
    Tier 1 - Banking, Finance, and Capital Markets – Morocco - Legal 500 2021
  • At Clifford Chance, ‘the practice benefits from strong local knowledge that makes its advice particularly valuable in the context of project documents negotiations and local law due diligence'. The firm excels in project finance transactions, where it acts for international and Moroccan sponsors and lenders on renewable energy projects (both wind and solar). Mustapha Mourahib, who is the local managing partner and co-head of the firm-wide Africa practice, and counsel Ouns Lemseffer, recently advised Enel Green Power and Nareva Holding on the financing of a 300MW wind farm in Boujdour.
    Tier 1 – Projects and Public Law – Morocco - Legal 500 2021
  • International firm that remains a hugely-respected player in the Moroccan commercial law market. Particularly well regarded in the domain of banking and finance, serving numerous international and regional banks. Active on private equity transactions. Provides expertise in M&A in sectors as diverse as education, insurance and hospitality. Also noted for its expertise and experience in the energy and infrastructure sectors.” Commentators appreciate that "the whole team is efficient, and they do everything to solve the problem.“ Sources praise the team's "attention to detail," adding: "They are technical and responsive, and can work under pressure."
    Chambers Global: Morocco, 2020
  • From its Casablanca office, Clifford Chance covers work spanning a considerable part of Africa, handling M&A, disposals, joint ventures, private equity, regulatory compliance, funds and general corporate matters. Mustapha Mourahib and co-head of the firm's Francophone North Africa sub-group Franck Coudert lead a practice that counts EBRD, Helios Investment Partners and Vantage Capital among its clients. Senior associate Nathalie Zanardo is also noted. Sources say: "They are proactive, showing expertise and responsiveness." "They are subject matter experts who are responsive and have strong communication skills."
  • Legal 500 - Commercial, Corporate and M&A – Morocco, 2020
  • Clifford Chance handles the full spectrum of banking, capital markets and finance transactions, including project finance, Islamic finance, acquisition finance, asset finance, cross-border financing, restructurings, debt issuance, corporate lending and structured finance. Mustapha Mourahib's team has been particularly active in project finance, notably for wind energy projects, as well as helping to draft new laws governing security interests over moveable assets and short-selling. Counsel Ouns Lemseffer is another key name. Sources say: "Proactive and responsive, the firm has experts with strong local knowledge."
    Legal 500 - Banking, Finance, and Capital Markets – Morocco, 2020
  • Clifford Chance's team is 'very responsive, efficient, technically excellent and very thorough'. Practice head Mustapha Mourahib handles large-scale M&A, private equity, PPP and project finance transactions. His team works on projects across Morocco and Francophone Africa, and frequently acts for international and Moroccan sponsors and lenders on market-leading projects, notably in the energy sector. Rising star associate Ouns Lemseffer specialises in acquisition and project finance. Sources say: "The firm is a pleasure to work with – always available and attentive to clients' needs." And also, "I recommend the firm for the quality of its work and its timely responses. It has strong communicators who are proactive, as well as being experts in local law."
    Legal 500 – Projects and Public Law – Morocco, 2020
  • Clifford Chance is highly regarded for its work in high-profile M&A, joint venture and private equity transactions. Leading light Mustapha Mourahib, key partner Franck Coudert and counsel Ouns Lemseffer are all recommended.
    Legal 500 - Commercial, Corporate and M&A – Morocco, 2019
  • Clifford Chance's Casablanca office is led by the co-head of the firm's Africa practice Mustapha Mourahib, who has a long track record in complex domestic and cross-border banking and capital markets matters. Mourahib advised Maghreb Titrisation on a groundbreaking structured finance transaction. Counsel Ouns Lemseffer is a rising star.
    Legal 500 – Banking, Finance and Capital Markets – Morocco, 2019
  • At Clifford Chance, co-head of the firm's Africa practice Mustapha Mourahib leads the projects and public law group, which acts for banks, international financial institutions, governments, asset-managers, insurers and multinational corporates.
    Legal 500 – Projects and Public Law – Morocco, 2019
  • This international firm remains a hugely well-respected player in the Moroccan commercial law market. It is particularly well regarded in the domain of banking and finance, serving numerous international and regional banks. Alongside this, the firm provides expertise in M&A in sectors as diverse as education, insurance and hospitality. The team is also noted by peers for its expertise and experience in the energy and infrastructure sector. One peer stated plainly: "They are very good in the financing of projects." Others emphasise the quality of the firm's global supporting network, describing it as "an Anglo-Saxon war machine" which has the support of offices across a variety of countries."
    Chambers Global: Morocco, 2019
  • Clifford Chance provides 'the high quality of work one would expect from a leading international firm'. Mustapha Mourahib is 'a brilliant finance and M&A lawyer'. He advised BMCE Bank on a €100m financing for Royal Air Maroc, and OCP on a €500m hybrid bond issuance. Associate Ouns Lemseffer is also noted.
    Legal 500 - Banking, Finance and Capital Markets– Morocco, 2018
  • Clifford Chance provides 'an excellent level of service'; clients strongly recommend Mustapha Mourahib and Franck Coudert.
    Legal 500 - Commercial, Corporate and M&A – Morocco, 2018
  • Clifford Chance is 'a central player' and has 'sharp expertise and an innovative approach'. Mustapha Mourahib is 'widely recognised as the country's best projects lawyer'. He advised Attijariwafa Bank on a €450m wind farm project. Associate Ouns Lemseffer is recommended for project finance.
    Legal 500 - Projects and Public Law – Morocco, 2018
  • This highly esteemed team is singled out for its reputation in the international and local markets. It is particularly active in corporate and M&A work, and also handles finance and regulatory matters as well as significant project finance deals. Clients note its work on joint ventures and insurance transactions. Sources report that the Casablanca team brings "the full Clifford Chance experience to their work," with another adding: "They were very good advisers, very commercially driven and aware of the business implications of everything we discussed."
    Chambers Global: Morocco, 2018

Other African Jurisdictions

  • Clifford Chance offers a wide range of expertise across M&A and private equity, projects, restructuring, dispute resolution and regulatory activities. The firm's clients include financial institutions, industrial conglomerates and public entities. Mustapha Mourahib, the managing partner of the Casablanca office, 'has a strong sense of dedication' and specialises in large-scale M&A, private equity, PPP and project finance transactions. Paris-based Delphine Siino Courtin is also noted and has expertise in projects and project finance in sectors including energy, oil and gas, infrastructure and mining, with a particular focus on Francophone Africa’
    Legal 500 – Tunisia, 2021
  • The North Africa team at Clifford Chance is led from its Casablanca office where it handles a range of cross-border M&A, private equity, projects, restructuring, dispute resolution and regulatory mandates for clients and investors across the financial services, industrial, oil, gas, power, construction, transport and public sectors. Managing partner of the Casablanca office Mustapha Mourahib handles a raft of M&A, private equity, PPP and project finance transactions. Franck Coudert is noted for M&A, infrastructure projects, joint ventures and commercial contracts work. Paris-based Delphine Siino Courtin, who focuses on projects and project finance instructions, is another key figure. 
    Legal 500 – Tunisia, 2020
  • Clifford Chance is the firm of choice when it comes to complex M&A work, restructuring and dispute resolution in North Africa. The practice, which is led out of the Casablanca office, handles significant Tunisia-based matters, including advising on regulatory activities. Managing partner Mustapha Mourahib and Franck Coudert are the key figures to note, along with Paris-based Delphine Siino Courtin.
    Legal 500 – Tunisia, 2019
  • The Casablanca-based team at Clifford Chance has a 'very good understanding of the region'. The practice advises financial institutions; industrial conglomerates; energy, construction and transportation companies; investment funds; mining companies; and public institutions and agencies on transactional and contentious matters. Mustapha Mourahib is an 'excellent lawyer with excellent legal and interpersonal skills'.
    Legal 500 – Algeria, 2019
  • Clifford Chance has an active North Africa practice, led by Casablanca based Mustapha Mourahib. Finance, infrastructure and energy deals are all strengths and contentious work is also handled. 
    Legal 500 – Algeria, 2018
  • Clifford Chance excels in corporate transactions, regulatory issues and various other matters with a nexus to Tunisia. It has a first-class reputation for acting for financial institutions, investment funds, oil and gas sector operators and service providers, and mining companies, among other clients. Mustapha Mourahib in Casablanca, Delphine Siino Courtin and David Préat in Paris, and Spencer Baylin in London are key team members.
    Legal 500 – Tunisia, 2018

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