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Tanzania

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Tanzania’s economic, political and social environment has suffered over the last year and beyond, which has led to considerable challenges for the legal community, not just in responding to a difficult economic climate. The Dar es Salaam office of IMMMA Advocates, a member of the DLA Piper Africa group, suffered a severe explosion in August 2017, with reports indicating that several armed men had specifically targeted the building; the motive for the attack has not been identified at the time of writing. In another sign of Tanzania’s volatility and its effect on the legal profession, Tundu Lissu, an opposition member of parliament and president of the Tanganyika Law Society, was shot and seriously wounded in September 2017.

These recent events have created inevitable tension within the legal community, although not to the extent that it is discouraging firms from expansion there. South Africa’s Bowmans launched a Dar es Salaam office in January 2017 with the hire of Wilbert Kapinga and Audax Kameja from Mkono & Co and the relocation of corporate partner Chris Green from its Johannesburg office; the firm had previously cut ties with Tanzanian firm East African Law Chambers (EALC). Norton Rose Fulbright expanded its senior ranks with the relocation of Dubai banking and finance associate Martin Botik to join the partnership in Dar es Salaam and in March 2017 it hired construction lawyer Lilian Githunguri as a partner from Dentons’ London office.

ATZ Law Chambers is widely noted for its expertise in banking and finance, M&A, competition, telecoms and projects and energy. It is a member of the Africa Legal Network and has especially close links to network founding firm Anjarwalla & Khanna in Kenya; banking and finance specialist Sonal Sejpal is a director in both firms, though she spends the majority of her time in Nairobi. The group demonstrates an especially strong standing in the telecoms and IT sector, having advised Six South Investments on the sale of Raha Tanzania to Liquid Telecom, which is part of the Econet Wireless Group, and assisted Millicom with its acquisition of an 85% stake in Zanzibar Telecom from Etisalat Group. The team has also worked on a series of headline oil and gas and energy deals, and an increasing number of mining transactions. Additionally, the firm has illustrated its market presence in private equity transactions for sizeable private equity houses and development finance institutions (DFIs) and continues to be a leader in capital markets issuances and banking and finance transactions. ‘Outstanding’ managing partner Shamiza Ratansiis extremely well spoken, proactive and someone who presents very well to clients and inspires their confidence’, ‘has a deep knowledge of local laws and practice, is well connected within the Tanzanian regulatory environment’ as well as ‘willing to go the extra mile’.

CRB Africa Legal is noted for capital markets transactions, including initial public offerings (IPOs) and debt issuances for Tanzanian issuers. The firm is especially active in the banking and financial services sector, advising a number of key banks in the jurisdiction. M&A, antitrust, mining and project work is also key to the group’s practice. Founder and managing partner Charles Rwechungura is a prominent practitioner, who continues to earn accolades for capital markets, finance and M&A work. Cyril Pesha is recommended for banking and litigation and Pendo Shamte is noted for mining work.

Clyde & Co LLP has committed significant attention and resources to its Dar es Salaam office, where the ‘exceptional’ team has a fine record in projects, energy, infrastructure and construction, is a growing force in corporate and M&A, and is becoming a big name in dispute resolution. Clients include Citibank, Catalyst Principal Partners, Premfin Capital, Swala Oil and Gas (Tanzania), Hyflux Singapore, Actis, African Development Bank and Econet Wireless Group. Considered ‘top of the table’, the firm is active in natural resources sector disputes and now has a number of arbitration specialist lawyers from its Paris office regularly present in Dar es Salaam in connection with East Africa disputes. It is increasingly active in cross-border M&A, notably in the agribusiness sector, and remains a market leader in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in East Africa. The group is also increasing its standing in the infrastructure sector and advised African Development Bank on a $120m unsecured financing to CRDB Bank to help support the development of infrastructure in Tanzania. In addition, it is advising a number of Chinese clients on infrastructure investments and projects in Tanzania and across East Africa. In M&A, the firm assisted Catalyst Principal Partners with its acquisition of Zenufa Laboratories. Projects and project finance specialist Peter Kasanda ‘knows what he is doing’ and impresses with ‘business acumen’, especially in the energy, power and infrastructure sectors. Dispute resolution partner and managing director of the Tanzania office Kibuta Ongwamuhana is a ‘very capable’ and ‘experienced’ leader in tax litigation and is tremendously well connected. Legal director Michael Strain has impressed in cross-border M&A.

ENSafrica has an established Dar es Salaam office, headed by prominent practitioners Mwanaidi Maajar and the ‘experiencedAlex Nguluma who is also ‘responsive’, ‘precise’ and ‘to the point’; Maajar is noted for banking and finance, natural resources and energy transactions, while Nguluma is recognised for tax, litigation, corporate and insolvency issues. The overall team is praised for its ‘industry knowledge’, which particularly applies to the mining, oil and gas, as well as telecoms sectors in which the team has advised on some of the biggest and most noteworthy deals in the market. Clients include Vodacom Tanzania, Ashanti Goldfields, Millicom International Cellular, National Bank of Commerce, Tanga Cement and Resolute Mining. The office recently advised development banks DEG and FMO on a $21m financing of Prime Fuels Tanzania to fund several projects that require equipment to be imported from other jurisdictions. It also assisted Responsibility Investments with its $15m loan financing of Hawte Investments to support the Tanzania government’s initiative to boost domestic agriculture. In M&A, the firm advised Vodacom Tanzania on its strategic acquisition of Shared Networks Tanzania. Other key partners include dispute resolution expert Sinare Zaharan and Tabitha Maro, who specialises in mining, competition, corporate and employment law.

FB Attorneys continues to handle many of the larger transactions and disputes in the market, while experiencing a significant increase in compliance work, particularly for foreign clients. The firm has a significant share of the oil and gas market in Tanzania, advising a range of oil majors on their interests there, for example assisting Total with the construction of a pipeline from Uganda to Tanzania. Moreover, it is at the forefront of the mining industry, acting for ‘some of the biggest mining players in Tanzania’ according to a rival lawyer: in a recent highlight, the team advised Cannes Africa Resources on the acquisition of various mining rights in Tanzania. Agriculture and financial services are also key sectors for the firm. Dispute resolution continues to account for roughly half of the group’s practice, with a number of cases relating to tax, antitrust, shareholder disputes and asset recoveries. The firm is also active in disputes with regulatory authorities, including regulators for the energy, electricity, water and transport sectors, and also has a growing international arbitration practice. FAyaz Bhojani heads the corporate department and has an especially strong record in high-value oil and gas transactions and mining industry deals; he is recognised for both advisory and contentious work. Gaudiosus Ishengoma is a leader in litigation and senior figure Mustafa Chandoo is prominent in appellate court work.

IMMMA Advocates has prominence domestically and internationally, in part through its membership of the DLA Piper Africa group, which encompasses a high level of collaboration with the international firm and other firms within the network; it has elevated the Tanzania firm to become an especially dominant force in projects and energy, though it maintains a genuinely broad-based practice. The group, which is praised for its ‘diligent work’ and ‘great turnaround times’, is also widely noted for its advice to major mining companies, including acting for them in significant disputes. It has further demonstrated a genuine aptitude for energy and infrastructure projects, including PPP programmes, and is a recognised leader in oil and gas and natural resources transactions. Clients include National Bank of Commerce, Commercial Bank of Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of Africa, Stanbic Bank, Vodacom Tanzania and Puma Energy Tanzania. Sadock Magai has a formidable record in mining, oil and gas, and telecoms transactions. Protase Ishengoma is another prominent figure in energy and infrastructure projects, while Fatma Karume, ‘a really important person in the firm’, is recognised for banking litigation and insolvency cases. Banking, corporate and energy partner Madina Chenge is noted for ‘very good research’, ‘excellent work’ and ‘in-depth analysis’.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Dar es Salaam office has a high profile in Tanzania, East Africa and southern Africa. The firm is at the forefront of project-related work, especially in the energy and mining sectors, and remains active in banking and finance, notably in project finance, real estate finance and equity investments by DFIs. The group is also recognised for its corporate and regulatory work in the telecoms sector, in higher-value investments and M&A transactions, and consistently operates at the forefront of landmark power sector project financings. In noteworthy work highlights, the London and Dar es Salaam offices advised the Tanzania Geothermal Development Corporation on its strategy, policy, institutional framework and legislation for Tanzania’s geothermal sector and the team also assisted Kilwa Energy Company with the development of a 348MW combined cycle gas power plant in Tanzania, which is being developed as an independent power project with the government owning a 20% share in it. Clients range from major multinationals to government agencies such as International Finance Corporation (IFC), Tanzania Geothermal Development Corporation, Standard Chartered Bank, Kibo Mining and Alten Renewable Energy. Former Dubai banking and finance associate Martin Botik recently joined the Dar es Salaam office as consultant director; Botik is English and French qualified, covering East Africa, southern Africa and the Organisation pour l'harmonisation en Afrique du droit des affaires (OHADA) countries. Moreover, in March 2017 the office hired construction lawyer Lilian Githunguri as a partner from Dentons’ London office. Adam Lovett is an established figure in Tanzania with an impressive record in banking, capital markets, M&A and regulatory advice; he is praised for his ‘experience, knowledge and business acumen’. Angela Mndolwa is recommended for oil and gas, mining and energy transactions and projects, while recently promoted partner Laura Kiwelu is a key figure in energy and financing deals.

South Africa-headquartered firm Bowmans established a Dar es Salaam office in January 2017, adding to its already impressive network of offices in Africa. It hired the widely respected corporate and finance specialist Wilbert Kapinga and dispute resolution leader Audax Kameja from Mkono & Co and now offers a range of corporate, banking and dispute resolution services. The senior echelon was further augmented by the relocation of corporate partner Chris Green from the firm’s Johannesburg office. The new office has a strong focus on cross-border M&A, notably for foreign investors coming into the region, and handles a high volume of competition and antitrust work for major multinationals. Dispute resolution, including high-stakes litigation in the telecoms and oil and gas sectors, is another key feature of the practice. The team is also active in telecoms sector IPOs and regulatory work in the industry. Moreover, it is recognised for projects and infrastructure work and is heavily engaged in regulatory issues and renegotiation of contracts in the mining sector. The office benefits from the support of the firm’s sizeable Nairobi and South Africa offices, most notably the mining regulatory and competition law expertise of the firm in South Africa.

East African Law Chambers (EALC) is ‘growing very fast in terms of services and capacity’ and impresses with its ‘quality of service’ linked to ‘different experts’ that ‘deliver on various aspects of the law’. As ‘one of the best teams in Tanzania’ thanks to its ‘knowledge of industry issues’, ‘in-depth legal understanding and ability to render concise opinions’, the group has a breadth of practice that encompasses a notably strong profile in banking and finance, tax, natural resources, telecoms, dispute resolution, competition and employment law. In corporate, the firm has an especially strong standing in compliance and regulatory disciplines. Additionally, the team has shown particular adeptness in restructurings and debt recovery matters and provides an especially broad offering in the tax field, covering disputes, advisory and compliance issues. Banking and finance specialist Stella Ndikimi is ‘extremely competent’, ‘has a good knowledge of the area and a good understanding of the regulator’. George Fernandes is at the forefront of the telecoms industry and provides ‘good and short opinions’ and is ‘precise and to the point’. Juvenalis Ngowi leads on the disputes side, with a fine record in banking and finance cases and employment disputes, while Brian Kangetta is building the firm’s standing in tax structuring in corporate and banking transactions.

FK Law Chambers continues to impress in the tax field, but is also prominent in corporate, finance and dispute resolution matters. Angelo Mapunda is a senior name with decades of experience in corporate transactions and disputes and Mkombozi Vincent Mhina is recommended for employment and dispute resolution. Associate partner Erasmo Nyika is regarded as a ‘very good up-and-coming tax attorney’.

Law Associates (Advocates) is recommended for big-ticket disputes. In this regard, the firm’s chairman RW Tenga is noted for his local and regional connections and his contentious and advocacy skills.

Velma Law is recommended for infrastructure project development and project finance with the immensely experienced founding partner Nicholas Zervos having a fine reputation and leading international expertise stemming from a background in London and Hong Kong. The firm is noted for both Tanzania and East Africa matters.

Yakubu & Associates Chamber has made its mark in finance, insolvencies and regulatory issues in the financial services industry. It continues to receive numerous intellectual property engagements from foreign clients looking to protect their rights in Tanzania. It has recently advised on several real estate developments and advises a number of local real estate companies on investments, acquisitions, licensing and disputes. Tax remains a key sector for the firm. Saidi Yakubu Othman has outstanding regulatory credentials, having lengthy experience in dealing with government entities and regulators. Timothy Kyepa is also recommended.

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