Tanzania > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings
Legal market overview
Tanzania’s economic performance declined in 2016, in part due to disappointing results from the agriculture, construction, manufacturing and transport sectors. On a brighter note, activity in the telecoms sector has been buoyant and new legislation that requires foreign mobile phone providers to list on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange has created a wealth of advisory and transactional work for leading legal advisers. In addition, signs of life in the mining sector have become increasingly apparent since John Pombe Magufuli’s election as Tanzania’s President in October 2015.
The legal sector has remained relatively stable after a recent period of active lateral hiring and local firms becoming part of international or African brands. Notably, East African Law Chambers (EALC) severed its links with the Africa group headed by South Africa’s Bowmans in 2016. The two firms continue to work together but they are no longer formally associated. International firms Clyde & Co LLP and Norton Rose Fulbright continue to flourish in Tanzania, and ENSafrica has made a real impression since its entry into the market in May 2015.
‘The best corporate law firm in Tanzania’ according to one client, ATZ Law Chambers attracts praise for its ‘quality, responses, accuracy, and knowledge’, as well as for its ‘practical application of the law’. The firm’s lawyers act across a variety of sectors and practice areas, with particular praise reserved for their banking and finance expertise, where the firm benefits from its membership of the Africa Legal Network and close working relationship with Kenyan member firm Anjarwalla & Khanna. The firm has experienced considerable growth in M&A, competition, and projects and energy work, with telecoms, oil and gas and mining key sector strengths. Clients include Willis Towers Watson, GW Consulting Middle East, Reliance Exploration and Production DMCC, Vivo Energy, Shell Tanzania and Millicom. The firm recently teamed up with Clifford Chance LLP to advise the underwriters on Tanzania-based CRDB Bank’s $78m rights issue. In addition, it worked alongside Allen & Overy LLP to advise CDC Group and Norfund on the Tanzania aspects of their acquisition of interests in a number of power generating companies in Africa, Europe and Bermuda. Managing partner Shamiza Ratansi is ‘always nice to work with’, is ‘ready to listen and always receptive to what counsel on the other side has to say’, and is noted for her experience in finance, project finance, M&A, competition and telecoms work. Amish Shah is regarded by clients as ‘very knowledgeable in all subjects’, and is praised for ‘responding quickly and efficiently in a format that is understandable to non-legal minds’.
CRB Africa Legal is ‘making its mark’ in Tanzania. The firm has carved out a sizeable market share of headline debt and equity capital markets transactions, primarily acting for issuers, and has also experienced an uptick in M&A and competition law mandates, advising on several major cross-border transactions throughout 2016. The firm is on the panel of major banks in Tanzania including Barclays, Stanbic and Bank M, and also has a strong telecoms sector focus. Key figures include founder and managing partner Charles Rwechungura, who is a big name for capital markets transactions, leading banking lawyer and dispute resolution specialist Cyril Pesha, and Pendo Shamte, who has an impressive record in the mining sector.
Clyde & Co LLP fields two partners and 14 other fee-earners in the firm’s Dar es Salaam office, which attracts praise for its ‘proactive’, ‘responsive’ approach and for its ‘professional service’. The office is principally known for energy and infrastructure matters, and has expanded its dispute resolution department with the recruitment of senior associate Gerald Nangi and associate Brian Mambosho from FB Attorneys and FK Law Chambers respectively. Highlights included acting as local and international counsel for Swala Oil & Gas on its farm-out of two licence areas to Tata Petrodyne; and advising three European development finance institutions on the framework for the project financing of a 40MW solar photovoltaic plant. The firm also assisted Hyflux Singapore on the acquisition by its subsidiary of a 49% stake in Dominion Plantations and on the establishment of a real estate joint venture with Crystal Developers. Other clients include American Tower Corporation, Peak Resources, Actis, Bagamoyo EcoEnergy, African Financing Partnership, African Development Bank, Econet Wireless Group and Catalyst Principal Partners. Peter Kasanda is a market leader in projects and project finance, both in the energy and infrastructure segments. Kibuta Ongwamuhana is a dispute resolution specialist with an especially strong record in tax litigation, as well as competition and IP cases and commercial arbitration. Newly promoted legal director Michael Strain, who leads the corporate and M&A practice for Tanzania and East Africa, is ‘prompt and courteous’, ‘understands corporate transactions very well’ and provides a ‘good level of detail’.
Since its entry into Tanzania, the ‘excellent’ ENSafrica has seen an uptick in cross-border and domestic business, and has seen growth in competition law work. The oil and gas sector is especially active, while finance mandates – particularly corporate lending and power sector project finance – continue to be a key source of work. The telecoms and mining sectors are also key areas of strength. Clients include NBC Bank Tanzania, African Banking Corporation Tanzania, Wartsila, Symbion Power Tanzania and Statoil Tanzania. Mwanaidi Maajar is a recognised figure in banking and finance, natural resources and energy. Alex Nguluma is a ‘market leader’, with ‘years of expertise’ and is known for tax consultancy and litigation, commercial litigation and arbitration, and insolvency cases. Sinare Zaharan is another key name in dispute resolution, while Tabitha Maro has longstanding experience in the mining sector.
In addition to its strong standing in dispute resolution, in which it has experienced an uptick in cases linked to tax, oil and gas, mining and contractual matters, FB Attorneys is also handling a growing share of complex cross-border transactions, often acting alongside international law firms. The firm also has a strong profile in major international arbitrations, and advises a range of financial institutions, including many of the big banks in Tanzania. It is also strong in agriculture, construction and consumer goods. Clients include Mantra, Bakhrea Grouop, Shell, Neol Oil, Statoil, Clove Agriculture, Mara Group, PanAfrican Energy and MCC Mining. Intellectual property has been an additional area of growth, with the firm frequently working alongside South Africa-based intellectual property leader Spoor & Fisher on trade mark registration and IP disputes. Highlights included advising Mantra Tanzania on its ongoing flagship uranium project in Tanzania and assisting Shell with the East African component of its worldwide acquisition of BG, which necessitated key regulatory and tax approvals. The firm also advised Gulf-based Neol Oil on its acquisition of Tanzanian oil and gas assets. Fayaz Bhojani has an outstanding record for substantial transactions and commercial matters. Gaudiosus Ishengoma is one of the jurisdiction’s premier litigators and is ably supported by the seasoned Mustafa Chandoo, who has an especially impressive record in land disputes.
IMMMA Advocates has cultivated a sizeable and highly respected team that is especially prominent in infrastructure and energy matters. The firm is a member of DLA Piper’s Africa law group, working closely alongside the international law firm on Tanzanian and cross-border projects. In an illustration of its projects capability, the firm advised an international consortium on a $1.5bn ammonia/urea fertiliser plant in Tanzania. Partners Sadock Magai and Protase Ishengoma are established figures in energy and infrastructure projects. The firm acts for a range of lenders including National Bank of Commerce, Commercial Bank of Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of Africa and Stanbic Bank, while corporate clients include Promotion of Rural Initiatives and Development Enterprises, Puma Energy Tanzania and Vodacom Tanzania. The firm also fields strong disputes expertise, with Fatma Karume singled out for banking litigation. Gaspar Nyika provides further senior level expertise for a department that is also known for disputes relating to power purchase agreements, construction and tax.
Norton Rose Fulbright attracts praise for its industry knowledge and dedication to the African continent. It has an especially strong record in energy and infrastructure work, notably gas-fired independent power producer (IPP) projects, coal-fired power projects and renewable energy projects, and leverages the firm’s existing experience and expertise in South Africa, London and elsewhere. The firm is also building its record in capital markets transactions, particularly deals linked to regulations requiring telecoms companies to list on the local exchange. Partner and head of the Dar es Salaam office Adam Lovett has spent over eight years in Tanzania and has earned a series of significant roles in local projects. He is ‘quite superior’ in his understanding of deals, and is praised for his ‘responsiveness’ and ‘turnaround times’. Fellow partner Angela Mndolwa provides further leading regulatory expertise in oil and gas, energy and mining, and is ‘very knowledgeable about Tanzanian law’. Clients include Alten Renewable Energy, Credit Suisse, International Finance Corporation, Kilwa Energy Company, Maurel & Prom, RP Global, Rand Merchant Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Standard Bank. It recently advised Kilwa Energy Company on the development of a 348MW combined cycle gas power plant in Tanzania, developed as an IPP in which the Tanzanian government has a 20% shareholding. The firm also assisted Wilmar International with an investment into a joint venture in the edible food oils, packaged food, plastics, soap and cosmetics industries.
East African Law Chambers (EALC)’ has benefitted from several senior-level lateral hires and has achieved roles on a series of headline and high-value transactions. The firm has experienced an uptick in M&A in industries ranging from fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) to industrials, oil and gas, and financial services. It advised Zalus SRL on its $7m million sale of an 80% stake in Maisha, the owners and operators of the Essque Zalu resort in Zanzibar. The firm has been appointed to a number of bank legal panels over the last two years, including the panels of BancABC, National Bank of Commerce, Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania, Commercial Bank of Africa and National Microfinance Bank, which it advised on its TZS200bn debut bond issue on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange. It also acted for the same client on a $38m financing for Gulf Bulk Petroleum. Tax has been a considerable growth area for the firm since the arrival of Brian Kangetta from KPMG; he is frequently engaged on the tax structuring aspects of M&A and financing transactions. The firm also has a flourishing mining practice under Thomas Sipemba, both in the gold and coal segments, and George Fernandes is leading the telecoms practice, which has particular strength in advisory and compliance work. Juvenalis Ngowi heads the dispute resolution practice, which has a strong standing in banking and finance disputes and employment cases. Stella Ndikimi is a leader in M&A and banking and finance. The firm has separated from the Africa network led by South African firm Bowmans.
‘A dominant firm for many years’, Mkono & Co stands out for government relations matters, largely thanks to the presence of the well-connected Nimrod Mkono and highly reputed partner Wilbert Kapinga, who is recognised for corporate and finance transactions. Audax Kameja has a strong presence in dispute resolution and the firm is also noted for its intellectual property capabilities.
FK Law Chambers is recommended for tax advice, with Florens Luoga an established name in the market. The firm also has an impressive record in corporate and finance.
A growing force in the Tanzanian market, Yakubu & Associates Chamber acts for foreign multinationals, local companies and government agencies. The firm has experienced an uptick in inbound investments, M&A and commercial contracts, and has represented several Asian entities looking to invest in local real estate and participate in Tanzanian projects. Other highlights included advising EFC Micro Finance Bank on the recovery of various outstanding loans and the validation of securities, and representing Iris Corporation Berhad in filing objections to a tax assessment by the Tanzania Revenue Authority. In addition, it acted for the Libyan Africa Investment Company in connection with an objection to a tax assessment. Saidi Yakubu Othman is an increasingly prominent name in the market and is ably supported by senior practitioner Timothy Kyepa.