Legal market overview
Tanzania has become a new focal point for the international legal profession, thanks in part to the development of the oil and gas sector and the fast growth of the domestic economy. Mining and natural resources is a traditionally strong industry, but with the development of the consumer environment and growth in areas such as telecoms, there is a broadening scope of work for domestic and international law firms to contend with. Of the international law firms, Clyde & Co LLP and Norton Rose Fulbright have established offices in the jurisdiction, but leading international names such as Allen & Overy LLP, Clifford Chance and Herbert Smith Freehills LLP are also frequently engaged in Tanzanian matters.
ATZ Law Chambers primarily focuses on M&A, oil and gas, and large syndicated loans to private and government entities in Tanzania. The firm emerged in March 2014 after the closure of Adept Chambers, which came shortly after Fred Ringo, the former managing partner of Adept, resigned to become head of the Fair Competition Commission in Tanzania. The new firm is a member of the Africa Legal Network and works especially closely with the Kenyan member Anjarwalla & Khanna. It represents an impressive number of oil and gas majors, with Amish Shah very much at the fore. The telecoms, mining and aviation sectors are also key to the practice. Shamiza Ratansi is recommended for banking and equity finance work, and represents local and international lenders, including commercial banks and development banks.
CRB Africa Legal is one of the key names in the corporate and commercial arena in Tanzania, with credibility in a number of areas including banking, capital markets and project finance. The firm is known for its connections to major mining houses, financial institutions and insurance companies. Managing partner and founder Charles Rwechungura has an outstanding reputation.
Clyde & Co LLP established an office in Tanzania in 2013, although it retains an association with local firm AKO Law, which is well known for its tax expertise. The team’s ‘blend of overseas and local experience’ makes it ‘probably the best corporate and M&A firm in Tanzania’; it is ‘proactive’ and exhibits ‘good turnaround times’, ‘good local knowledge’ and ‘practical advice’. The firm also has bench strength and expertise in the wider region, recently enhanced through office openings in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Head of the Dar es Salaam office Peter Kasanda is well regarded for his work as international counsel on high-value cross-border M&A and marquee financings. Legal director and ‘very strong finance lawyer’ Teresa Parkes has ‘in-depth knowledge of Tanzanian and English law’, and is recommended for project finance as well as more mainstream banking and finance. Senior associate Michael Strain is ‘a strong adviser’ and has ‘a high level of expertise’. The team has worked on a range of significant projects in Tanzania and in nearby jurisdictions such as Zimbabwe. These include energy, telecoms, mining and infrastructure projects. Parkes recently advised Econet Wireless on its $260m second round of financing from Ericsson, China Development Bank and other development finance institutions.
Clients of FB Attorneys highlight the ‘efficient and knowledgeable’ advice given, with one suggesting the firm is ‘head and shoulders above the rest’. It has evolved from being mostly associated with high-value litigation, where it has a leading practice, to one where the busy corporate department is now the largest in the firm. It has been especially active in the oil and gas sector, while mining and financial services matters have also featured strongly in recent years. The team recently worked on the restructuring of Freight Forwarders Tanzania as well as the restructuring of the East Africa assets of Ami Tanzania. The firm is praised for its regulatory know-how and connections and also handles tax matters. Fayaz Bhojani is ‘well informed’, ‘practical’, ‘responsive’ and ‘leverages effectively off his broader team’. He and Gaudiosus Ishengoma are renowned litigators but are also highly experienced corporate lawyers that have worked on some of the country’s largest deals. Mustafa Chandoo is another formidable litigator.
Ishengoma, Karume, Masha & Magai Advocates is a comparatively large firm by Tanzanian standards, fielding six partners; it is part of the DLA Piper Group, an international network of firms. Areas of focus include corporate, commercial and banking matters, and it is also ‘very strong’ in dispute resolution. The firm has had considerable success in Tanzania’s oil and gas, natural resources and financial services sectors. Protase Ishengoma is well known for corporate matters, especially involving energy or natural resources. Managing partner Lawrence Masha is equally well regarded for natural resources matters, as well as financing transactions. Fatma Karume is a standout name for dispute resolution.
Mkono & Co has an exceptional record in corporate, commercial and energy work. Recently it acted as Tanzanian counsel to Ophir Energy during the $1.25bn sale of a 20% interest in three deep-water exploration blocks to Singapore-based Pavilion Energy. Managing partner Nimrod Mkono has a wealth of connections, both nationally and internationally, and is a member of parliament. Wilbert Kapinga has a formidable reputation in M&A and energy matters. The firm has a branch office in Burundi and associations with firms in Rwanda and Uganda.
Norton Rose Fulbright’s Tanzania practice centres on M&A and banking and finance, and is also known for handling matters relating to investments into the country’s agricultural, mining and technology sectors; the firm recently represented Pavilion Energy during its $1.25bn purchase of a 20% stake in three deep-water exploration blocks run by Ophir Energy. Chinese investment into Tanzania is another key strength. On the banking and finance side, the firm has leading global credentials in trade finance, where it acts for multinational lenders. It also has an impressive track record in project finance, especially involving infrastructure and energy, where it represents large commercial banks such as Standard Bank and Standard Chartered as well as various development banks. The team recently advised Rand Merchant Bank and First National Bank on a $220m syndicated term loan for TANESCO. In addition to its oil and gas experience, the firm is also renowned for its renewable energy expertise in major hydro, wind and biogas projects. Adam Lovett is one of the jurisdiction’s premier international lawyers, with experience in London and other key legal centres; he has been on the ground in Tanzania for over six years, and handles banking, finance and M&A mandates. Angela Mndolwa mainly focuses on M&A, particularly in the mining and energy sectors.
East Africa Law Chambers is commended for its fast responses and ‘well-researched’ advice. As the Tanzanian branch of Bowman Gilfillan’s Africa group, the firm is well positioned to advise on cross-border matters and has a strong record in dispute resolution and financing transactions, where it acts for lenders on a broad mix of mandates, including project finance, term loans and short-term facilities. It has M&A experience in various key sectors such as telecoms, manufacturing, hospitality and agriculture. Stella Ndikimi is a prominent player in corporate, commercial, banking and finance matters. George Fernandes is also recommended for corporate and commercial work, especially in the telecoms sector, and also handles dispute resolution.
FK Law Chambers’ six-partner practice is noted for its expertise in corporate matters, dispute resolution and tax issues. It acted for a minority shareholder in Vodacom Group’s $242m sale of an equity stake. Florens Luoga is a highly regarded tax expert.
Rex Attorneys is strong in oil, gas and mining matters, and is also recommended for litigation. The four-partner firm includes managing partner Alex Nguluma, who is a recognised mining sector expert and litigator.