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    • Gilbert Chama - Musa Dudhia & Company

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Zambia’s relative political stability continues to distinguish it from many of its neighbours, marking it out as an important investment destination in the region. Following a 2.9% shrink in GDP in 2015, following the crash in commodities prices, Zambia’s economic recovery continues apace. According to official projections, growth is expected to hit 3.8% in 2017 on the back of increased copper prices and recent generous rainfall, which has supported agricultural output.

In another encouraging development, the government launched the ‘7th National Development Plan, 2017–2021’ during 2017; the program aims to diversify Zambia’s economy away from its traditional dependence on the copper mining sector, to lean more broadly on mining, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.

The country’s small legal market is served by a band of local, well-established practices, which operate with relatively flat structures to handle a diverse mix of transactional and contentious matters. Although largely centred in the country’s capital Lusaka, some firms are headquartered in Kitwe, which is the base for several mining operations.

Referral favourites Chibesakunda & Co, Corpus Legal Practitioners and Musa Dudhia & Company remain the most high-profile players and enjoy strong links with international law firms.

Chibesakunda & Co’s membership of the DLA Piper Africa alliance ensures a significant volume of multijurisdictional instructions, while the firm also acts on a steady stream of high-end domestic work. Mwelwa Chibesakunda is the key contact for a broad practice that also benefits from the expertise of prominent litigator Chikosola Chuula. Banking and finance, energy and natural resources and project and infrastructure matters are all strong areas of experience.

The ‘top-notch group’ at Corpus Legal Practitioners is comprised of ‘very responsive and precise lawyers’: senior partner Charles Mkokweza ‘combines deep knowledge of Zambian law with excellent commercial ability’, banking and corporate head Sharon Sakuwaha is ‘exceptionally dedicated’ and managing partner Mabvuto Sakala is ‘very strong in dispute resolution’. Recent highlights include advising Copperbelt Energy Corporation on the demerger of its Pan African Mauritian subsidiary CEC Africa Investments, and assisting Nutreco Africa with the development of a major aquaculture project.

Musa Dudhia & Company impresses with its ‘strong commitment to client needs’ and ‘broad regional experience’ – the firm’s membership of the Africa Legal Network is a significant asset in this regard. Managing partner Arshad Dudhia is highly sought-after for complex transactions and recently advised Zambeef Products on its $65m sale of a 17.5% equity stake to UK government-backed CDC Group and in another headline deal, Abigail Chimuka advised Enel Green Power on the development of a 50MW solar power plant. Gilbert Chama is recommended for corporate finance advice, while firm founder Abdulla Dudhia is a ‘reference in the market’.

Highly respected firmChristopher, Russell Cook & Company is well known for its close links with major global law firms and sources highlight its ‘solid international experience’. Kanti Patel is widely revered for transactional matters, particularly in the banking, mining and project finance spheres, while Solly Patel has a strong record in real estate.

Eric Silwamba, Jalasi and Linyama Legal Practitioners is regarded by some as ‘the best in the country for dispute resolution’, with Eric Silwamba singled out as a ‘very experienced litigator’. The firm also houses robust corporate and commercial expertise and is routinely involved in banking and finance, project development and mining matters. Other key names include Joseph Jalasi, who is recommended for tax issues, and Lubinda Linyama.

Mulenga Mundashi Kasonde (MMK) Legal Practitioners maintains a broad practice that is well versed in corporate finance, M&A, mining, tax and dispute resolution. Managing partner Michael Mundashi enjoys a strong profile in the market, particularly for contentious work. Senior partner Mutila Mulenga is valued for his transactional expertise.

From its Kitwe headquarters, ECB Legal Practitioners specialises in servicing its strong base of mining clients, with commercial work and litigation standing out as key pillars of the practice. Managing partner Elijah Banda is noted for his strong dispute resolution expertise.

At Mwenye & Mwitwa - Advocates, ‘top-class litigator’ Eddie Mwitwa is a well-known name in the market and his dispute resolution prowess encompasses commercial litigation, employment matters, IP, insurance and arbitration. Musa Mwenye is also active in contentious work.

Nchito & Nchito Advocates acts for an impressive roster of major domestic and multinational clients, with Aon, Bank of Zambia and Puma Energy all on the firm’s books. Senior partner Nchima Nchito, who previously served as legal counsel to Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines, is a respected litigator with strong experience in the mining sector.

Simeza, Sangwa & Associates has a capable litigation practice, which spans both civil and criminal matters, and it is also regularly involved in transactions. Robert Simeza heads the corporate and commercial group, while John Sangwa is the key contact for dispute resolution.

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