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Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

  • Ivory Coast is en route to becoming a leading economy in Africa after suffering from civil conflict for many years. Agriculture remains a key component of the economy with coffee, cocoa beans and palm oil being important elements, although the jurisdiction is not dependent on oil and gas or commodity revenues in the same way as many other West African nations, with a thriving services industry.

    The jurisdiction remains at the heart of Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (OHADA), a harmonized business law environment that exists across 17 West and Central African states. Due to the sophistication of the local legal market and legal infrastructure, Abidjan, the capital, has also become a prime dispute resolution location, especially for OHADA-based arbitration. Abidjan is home to OHADA’s Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (CCJA) and is now the focal point for much of Francophone Africa.

    With a highly developed and mature legal market, Ivory Coast’s many energy and infrastructure projects have demanded advice from international law firms such as Linklaters and Clifford Chance LLP. In another key development, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP launched an affiliated Abidjan office in 2014.

    Bilé-Aka, Brizoua-Bi & Associés has a tremendous record in Ivory Coast and throughout the OHADA region. The firm is a member of the Eversheds Africa Law Institute, a network of African firms formed by Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. It is also a member of the African Business Law Firms Association (ABLFA), an alliance of firms initiated by the African Development Bank (ADB). The ‘very entrepreneurial and commercial’ Michel Brizoua-Bi is known for his track record in M&A and project financings, and has particular expertise in oil and gas, mining and telecoms. Joachim Bilé-Aka is a ‘very strong litigator and a well-known person’. The firm’s client base includes a number of international banks, development finance institutions (DFIs) and other lenders.

    A market leader in Ivory Coast, FDKA has a high market share of major projects (including PPPs) and transactions in the jurisdiction and around the OHADA region. Karim Fadika is ‘technically excellent’, provides ‘smart advice’ that is ‘effectively delivered’ and is ‘as good as you can get in the region’. Clients highlight the firm’s experience in corporate and M&A, bankruptcy proceedings and export finance, including in the oil and gas and telecoms sectors. The firm is also noted for dispute resolution.

    Cabinet Hoegah & Etté is primarily known for its tax expertise, with Theodore Hoegah noted for tax work relating to financing transactions. He also has an extensive background in the mining sector and a deep understanding of the country’s mining code. The firm’s M&A track record spans the telecoms and agriculture sectors, while Michel Etté is a prominent name for dispute resolution.

    At Cabinet Jean-François Chauveau, senior statesman Jean-François Chauveau has a prominent reputation and is ‘well positioned’ to advise on headline deals, including many large-scale projects in Ivory Coast, Francophone Africa and the OHADA states. Mining, oil and gas, and infrastructure are at the heart of the practice.

    Among the top Ivory Coast firms, KSK Société d'Avocats has an outstanding record in projects and PPP transactions, and is also noted for its work in finance, M&A and restructurings. Zinda Sawadogo attracts praise for his ‘commercial awareness and understanding of the business aspects of transactions’ and for being ‘strong on the technical side’. Also recommended are market-leading tax expert Georges Angaman Kouadio and public law practitioner Kouamé Klemet.

    SCPA Dogue – Abbé YAO & Associés is recognised for its strength in corporate and M&A mandates, financing, projects and capital markets deals, with notable expertise in the banking, mining, oil and gas, and telecoms sectors. Abbé Yao regularly acts on large-scale projects and transactions involving Ivory Coast or the OHADA region, and Seydou Zerbo is a recognised oil and gas expert with a strong record in financing and corporate transactions.

    Anyray & Partners particularly stands out for its high degree of tax expertise, and the firm is regularly called on to advise on structuring corporate and financing transactions in a tax efficient manner, often using offshore jurisdictions. While much of the practice’s workload is M&A-related, the firm has experienced an uptick in financing (including project finance) and aviation instructions. Oil, gas and telecoms are also important elements of the practice. Much of its client base is foreign multinationals and the firm receives regular referrals from international law firms. Ika Raymond Any-Gbayere is a prominent corporate, financing and tax adviser, having spent five years as a tax manager at PwC.

    IKT & Associés is noted for its track record in structured finance transactions for international banks and DFIs. Project finance, PPP, M&A, employment and dispute resolution are also key parts of the practice. Osther Henri Tella is the firm’s most prominent partner, with Annick Imboua-Niava and Hermann Kouao being other names to note.

    C.L.K.A. regularly assists clients with foreign company incorporation in Ivory Coast, including associated tax structures. Lassiney Camara is highly rated for competition law matters and Eloi Kouakou Yao is an expert in white-collar crime cases. Clients range from major foreign multinationals to local oil and gas companies and banks. Dispute resolution is another key part of the firm’s practice.

    Cadiciss is noted for corporate, finance and natural resources matters. Myriam Carius, a former Magic Circle lawyer qualified in both France and the UK, regularly advises development banks such as the IFC, African Development Bank and the West African Development Bank.

    Lex Ways has an especially strong record in dispute resolution. In 2015, partner Soualiho Lassomann Diomande represented Thierry Tanoh, the former chief executive of Ecobank Transnational, in his successful wrongful dismissal case and defamation claim against the bank. Diomande is praised for his client focus.

  • Firms in the spotlight

    GENI & KEBE
    www.gsklaw.sn

    YOUR ONE STOP DOOR FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN FRANCOPHONE AFRICA. GENI & KEBE was founded in 1912 and began acting as a legal adviser firm for foreign embassies and companies. From then to now on, it has been and remains the premier destination law services firm of national and foreign companies, institutions and individuals in Senegal and the Francophone African Region.

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