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Clifford Chance

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

Directory listings and client comments

  • Clifford Chance stands out for its expertise in solar power projects, and also has a solid track record in a range of other energy and infrastructure projects. The firm is also renowned for its banking and finance practice, and counts local and international banks and financial services companies among its clients. Pieter Van Welzen in Amsterdam and senior associate André de Sousa Vieira in London are the key contacts.
    Angola (Foreign firms) - Legal 500 2020
  • 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
  • “The 'proactive' Lusophone team at Clifford Chance LLP 'has significant experience in international transactions'. The team is particularly renowned in energy and power projects.”
    Mozambique (Foreign firms) - Legal 500 2020
  • 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
  • “The respected team has established itself in the local market with its significant capabilities advising international companies on high-level project finance, oil and gas and energy matters.”
    General Business Law- Mozambique (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2020
  • 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 – Mozambique (Expertise Based Abroad) – Chambers Global 2019
  • This London-headquartered firm is noted for assisting multinational companies with sophisticated project financing matters. Clients are pleased with the team, describing the firm's main strengths as "the high level of the lawyers, and their strategic vision oriented to results and practicality.“
    General Business Law - Angola (Expertise Based Abroad) - Chambers Global 2020
  • 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 - Angola (Expertise Based Abroad) - Chambers Global 2019