Skip to main content

Clifford Chance

People & Places

South Africa and Southern Africa


Our Southern Africa practice provides legal advice across Angola, Botswana, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Our dedicated Southern Africa group includes lawyers from across the Clifford Chance network who speak English, Portuguese and Afrikaans. They work together to:

  • provide seasoned international advice locally. Our global experience allows us to bring sophisticated advice in a local context. Current examples include:
    • gas-to-power programme in South Africa: we have brought together from across our international network a team of Clifford Chance specialists with deep sector expertise, who have been following closely the market developments and who, working alongside South African law firms, can effectively advise market participants on difficult legal issues and provide practical solutions in a cost effective manner.
    • major restructuring in South Africa: we were able to bring our international expertise in the context of the restructuring of Edcon, a highly complex capital structure, including addressing issues around five tranches of high yield notes (EUR, ZAR and USD denominated) in South Africa.
  • get the deal through. Our experts understand the local environment and put our proven methodology to use when it comes to dealing with the governments and the relevant regulatory bodies to get the deal through.
  • advice on both inbound and outbound work. We boast strong relationships with many of the leading banks and corporate institutions in the region, advising on both inbound and outbound work. For instance, we have advised South African banks (Rand Merchant Bank, Barclays/Absa, Standard Bank) on various financings and project financings in Nigeria (Azura Edo IPP), Ghana (Amandi IPP, Cenpower, Bole PV project), Central African Republic (Passendro Gold project), Mozambique, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia.

Our long experience in South Africa and the rest of the region covers a variety of industries (banking, energy and natural resources, infrastructure, private equity, telecommunications) and a full range of legal services (from project finance to capital markets, lending, private equity and corporate/M&A, dispute resolution).

Working with the top law firms in the region

We maintain close relationships with the top law firms in the region and we liaise regularly with them, both during and outside transactions. Our team spends time with them to know them and therefore are able to provide a seamless service in a cost effective way when working together on a transaction.

We have already delivered several Clifford Chance Africa Academy training sessions in the region sharing insights and discussing best practice with regional lawyers.

Recent highlights

Awards and milestones

  • African Midstream Oil & Gas Deal of the Year 2017 - Coral South FLNG - IJ Global Awards
  • Africa Power Deal of the Year 2015 – Maamba Collieries – PFI Awards
  • Africa Power Deal of the Year Award 2015: Maamba Colleries – IJ Global Awards
  • Legal Advisor of the Year for Renewables 2013: Recognizes Round 1 REIPPP deals, South Africa – Infrastructure Journal
  • Africa Renewables Award 2012: Dorper Wind Farm Project (South Africa) – Project Finance Magazine
  • African Oil & Gas Deal of the Year 2012: Bharat Petroleum (Mozambique) – PFI

Recent assignments

  • South Africa – Advising the RCF lenders in connection with the restructuring of EdCon's highly complex capital structure, including addressing issues around five tranches of high yield notes (EUR, RAND and USD denominated) in South Africa
  • South Africa – Advising the structuring banks and joint lead managers on the inaugural USD$500 million sukuk issuance by the Republic of South Africa 
  • South Africa – Advising the Commonwealth Bank of Australia on its purchase of Tyme Investments, a leading South Africa mobile payments provider, and associated intellectual property, in connection with the establishment of a global digital retail banking platform
  • South Africa – Advising Grohe Group on its acquisition of a 51% stake in the WaterTech portfolio of South Africa-based Dawn Ltd, which generates annual gross sales of around EUR€110 million
  • South Africa – Advising on Redstone CSP Project and has advised sponsors and lenders on a large number of REIPPP projects
  • Angola – Advising the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Angola on a ECICSA-backed export credit facility agreement for construction, rehabilitation and equipping costs of the Gove hydropower plant project
  • Angola – Advising the arranger on a USD$600 million buyer credit agreement with the Ministry of Finance (Angola)
  • Angola – Advising a developer in relation to an on-going major infrastructure and asset finance project
  • Botswana – Advising on the USD$825 million financing for the construction of the 4x150MW Morupule B coal-fired power plant in Botswana
  • Botswana / South Africa – Advising CIC Energy Corporation, the sponsor to the Mmamabula Energy Project. This involves a long-term power purchase agreement with Eskom. We continued to advise the borrowers on phase 1 of the 3 x 1200MW Mmamabula power station and coal-mine project in Botswana. The venture is the largest-ever energy project in the sub-Saharan region
  • Mozambique – Advising State Bank of India on the USD$800m financing of Indian state-owned oil company Bharat Petroleum’s share of exploration costs in respect of its 10% participating interest in the Rovuma Basin
  • Mozambique – Advice in relation to the financing for the development, design, construction and operation of a greenfield solar PV project in Centre-Northern Mozambique
  • Namibia – Advice in connection with the financing of the construction and operation of a cement plant in Otavi
  • Namibia – Advising on the issue of USD$500 million 5.5 per cent. Notes due in 2021, the first Eurobond issued out of Namibia.
  • Zambia – Advising the lenders on the USD$825 million financing of the construction and operation of a coal fired power plant and an adjacent coal mine owned by Maamba Collieries Limited, located in Maamba, Zambia – Africa Power Deal of the Year - PFI Awards 2015, Africa Power Deal of the Year – IJGlobal Awards 2015 
  • Zambia – Advising the managers on the 2012 issue of USD$750 million 5.375 per cent. Notes due 2022, the first Eurobond issued out of Zambia and the subsequent issue of USD1bn 8.500 per cent. Notes due 2024.
  • Zimbabwe – Advising African Export Import Bank in connection with several loans made to local banks
  • Zimbabwe – Advising on the acquisition of a mobile network operator


Directory listings and client comments

  • “The ‘engaged and proactive’ team at Clifford Chance acts for lenders, sponsors and developers on high-value inbound and outbound transactions. Pieter van Welzen is noted for his ‘good knowledge of the Angolan legal market’; André de Sousa Vieira for his ‘wide experience and knowledge of financial markets’. Emerging markets finance expert Leonard Cleland advises on commodities and trade financing, margin lending and commercial loans, and took a lead role on several of the team's recent mandates.”
    Angola (Foreign firms) - Legal 500 2019
  • “Clifford Chance is known for its ability to handle large, high-profile energy and infrastructure projects and finance deals. Its track record in Mozambique is no different, and the team of Amsterdam and London-based lawyers handle some of the most important projects in the country. Pieter van Welzen and André de Sousa Vieira co-head the firm's Lusophone practice.”
    Mozambique (Foreign firms) - Legal 500 2019
  • Pieter van Welzen is a Partner in the Banking & Finance practice of Clifford Chance Amsterdam. He specialises in securitisation, structured finance, derivatives, asset-based and real estate finance and other forms of secured lending. He is a member of the Clifford Chance Africa group.
    Recognised Practitioner – Chambers Global 2019 – General Business Law: International Firms (Expertise Based Abroad) in Mozambique
  • André Sousa Vieira of Clifford Chance LLP handles finance matters and capital market transactions concerning Mozambique from the firm's London office. He routinely advises clients coming from the energy sector. One market commentator stated that they were "very impressed with his work; he is excellent," while another appreciated his "exceptional support and dedication."
    Recognised Practitioner – Chambers Global 2019 – General Business Law: International Firms (Expertise Based Abroad) in Angola