Africa 2015 – GC Powerlist
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Africa 2015

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Achadu Attah

Head of legal and company secretary | Taleveras Group of Companies

During a relatively finite in-house legal career, Achadu Attah has already proven his ability to successfully implement comprehensive legal systems in diverse industries. As ‘the pioneer legal head’ for leading...

Adebayo Azeez

General counsel | Phase3 telecom

‘A guru in telecoms law’, Adebayo Azeez has rare insight into the regional market, having previously worked at Globacom and Mobitel. In just two years as general counsel, he has...

Adewonuola Adeniran

Legal & compliance counsel West Africa | Baker Hughes

‘A consummate professional’ and ‘creative personality’, Adewonuola Adeniran has covered legal operations across Western and Sub-Saharan Africa during her time at Baker Hughes. Formerly at Honeywell, Adeniran has won the...

Akinfela Akoni

Group legal counsel | Airtel Africa

Akinfela Akoni was already a respected telecommunications lawyer when he took up his first in-house role at Airtel Africa in 2006. Since then he has supported the Indian telecommunications giant’s...

Amal Moussa

Legal director | Barclays


Heading a ten-lawyer team, supporting Barclays’ award-winning Egyptian business, Amal Moussa has been acclaimed for her handling of major transactions during Egypt’s political upheavals. She is also credited with transforming...

Annemarie Mecca

Cheif Legal counsel, private sector operations | African Development Bank


Annemarie Mecca’s deep public finance experience spans energy, infrastructure, financial services and trade. She is particularly known for her work on significant international transactions involving multi-jurisdictional governments and state parties....

Antoinette Absaloms

Operations counsel | Coca-Cola Central East and West Africa

Food, beverages and tobacco

Supporting Coca-Cola’s African business across 20 geographies, Antoinette Absaloms handled the launch of “Coke Studio” across five African countries, including all media and digital marketing components. During her previous role...

Awuraa Abena Asafo-Boakye

Company secretary and head of legal | Ecobank Ghana


Awuraa Abena Asafo-Boakye is widely respected for her role in Ecobank Ghana’s high profile merger with The Trust Bank, which included chairing the branding and communication committee. Heading in a...

Ayman Essam

Legal director | Mobinil

As legal director of Orange subsidiary Mobinil, one of Egypt’s three mobile phone operators, Ayman has supported some of the business’s most significant transactions of recent times. Having previously spent...

Beatrice Njeru

Regional legal manager, investment banking | CfC Stanbic Bank


‘It is always refreshing to be associated with award-winning transactions’, Beatrice Njeru says. An influential figure in Kenya’s banking industry with wide-reaching specialisms, Njeru is among East Africa’s most technically...

Bonaventure Mbewe

Head of legal | Barclays Zambia


Barclay’s national legal head for 11 years, Bonaventure Mbewe’s full tenure with the leading global institution spans almost 20. Leading a 17-strong team split across legal and compliance, he has...

Brenda Akinyi Aluoch

Head of legal transactional banking Africa | Standard Chartered Bank


Throughout her legal career, one of Brenda Akinyi Aluoch’s driving motivations has been playing a role in the region’s development. ‘I was very clear in my mind I wanted to...

Bruce Campbell

General counsel | GE Africa

One of South Africa’s most respected and high profile corporate counsel, Bruce Campbell is increasingly looked to as a thought leader across the Sub-Saharan region. Campbell heads a 15-strong team...

Celeste Appollis

Head of legal, group company secretary and BBBEE/EE officer | Omnia Group

During her five years as Omnia’s legal head, Celeste Appollis has driven forward its transformation from a non-compliant level to reaching at the third-highest achievable. The company was ranked fifth...

Christopher Akiwumi

Legal director | Microsoft

With diverse sector experience, Christopher Akiwumi has ‘exceptional leadership skills’ and ‘out-of-the-box thinking’, according to sources. He has handled game-changing transactions for the companies he works for, and taken a...

Crispin Mwebesa

Head of legal department and secretary to the commission | The Fair Competition Commission

Heading all legal and company secretarial functions at Tanzania’s Competition Commission, Crispin Bebwa Mwebesa has focused on revamping processes and procedures to optimise risk management and strategic direction. ‘In a...

Dapo Otunla

Group general counsel | Notore Chemical Industries

‘A very smart switch-on guy’, Dapo Otunla heads a lean three-strong team, supporting Notore Chemical Industries’ entire business operations. Otunla has made considerable changes to the company’s legal function since...

David Baggs

General counsel | Exxon Mobil Corporation

Doing business in Angola is never easy, but David Baggs navigates the legal, commercial and regulatory landscapes ‘with aplomb’, according to one local source. One of the world’s largest companies,...

David Janks

Head of group legal counsel | Clicks Group

Managing the legal division of health and beauty specialist Clicks Group, David Janks is praised for his ability to navigate both industries’ complex regulatory landscapes. Negotiating with the relevant authorities...

Dayo Okusami

Group general counsel | Atlantic Energy

Formerly Templars’ youngest partner, Dayo Okusami was not only Atlantic Energy’s first group general counsel but its first employee. As such, he was tasked with building the entire legal function...

Defolu Olufon

General counsel and comliance officer | First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company

Defolu Olufon has led First Exploration and Petroleum in some of the largest recent upstream acquisitions happening in the region. Managing a small team of legal, compliance and commercial staff,...

Doris Tembwe

Head of legal and company secretary | Stanbic Bank Zambia


Stanbic Bank invested more than $350m in developing Zambia’s energy infrastructure in 2014, following a series of ground-breaking transactions in the sector. These included its financing of ZESCO’s project to...

Doxa Mbapila

Country general counsel | Citibank Tanzania


As the Tanzania Bankers’ Association legal committee chairperson, Citibank’s Tanzanian general counsel Doxa Mbapila is active in driving forward industry dialogue. She has sterling credentials in the financial services sector,...

Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu

General counsel and executive vice-chairman | Exxon Mobil

One of Nigeria’s most famous in-house lawyers, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu is an accomplished scholar and thought leader. As Exxon Mobil’s Nigerian general counsel, he is responsible for its upstream...

Edouard Pontet

Managing director and genreal counsel | Swicorp

As managing director and general counsel at leading financial services institution Swicorp, Edouard takes a guiding role in the business’s strategic direction. Leading a small team, Pontet was singled out...

Ehize Ilozavbie

Chief legal officer and corporate services head | SWAP Technologies and Telecomms

As SWAP Technologies and Telecomms’ chief legal officer, Ehize Ilozavbie supports all strategic business units across engineering, network sharing and international operations. A homegrown Nigerian business, the award-winning telecom infrastructure...

Elmarie Joynt

Group company secretary and chief legal advisor (legal executive) | Senwes Group

After 13 years at listed agricultural company Senwes, and a past career as a Department of Agriculture economist, Elmarie Joynt has exceptional industry experience. She has received many accolades for...

Enoch Larbi-Aboagye

General counsel | Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas)

Ghana National Gas’ takeover by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was approved in 2014, with the aim of building a more integrated approach to financing national oil and gas...

Fiona Gumede

General manager corporate legal and company secretary | Engen Petroleum

With prestigious in-house experience spanning multiple industries, Fiona Gumede served on Coca-Cola’s 2010 World Cup project team and established current employer Engen’s group-level legal function. Gumede also sits on Engen’s...

Fola Akande

Company secretary/chief counsel West Africa | Cadbury

Cadbury’s West African legal head and company secretary since 2012, Fola Akande has strong credentials, having previously worked at Standard Chartered Bank, since its inception in Nigeria. Akande is well...

George Klopper

Legal Manager | Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa

George Klopper project managed the world’s largest thermal power systems merger, between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Hitachi of Japan. ‘The amounts of money involved are staggering and any mistakes (legally...

Gerald Chihota

Manager, legal services | African Export-Import Bank


Throughout his five years at African Export-Import Bank, Gerald Chihota has supported the institution through periods of extreme political unrest. As well as handling of the myriad regulatory challenges this...

Helen Anatogu

Legal manager West Africa and Angola | Microsoft

‘In Africa we’re still in a position to grow – five to ten years ago, we didn’t even have mobile phones – we’ve leapfrogged from nothing’, Helen Anatogu says. ‘Unfortunately...

Henk Crouse

Head of legal and compliance | HSBC

With over 20 years’ in-house banking experience, Henk Crouse first joined HSBC to establish its South African presence; a significant development in the jurisdiction’s financial services sector. ‘It was a...

Herve Ntege

Legal officer | nited Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)

In the two years since it was established, MINUSMA’s efforts to stabilise relations in Mali have focused on maximising security, monitoring human rights and humanitarian assistance. Hervé Ntege wins respect...

Hesham Fayez

Country legal counsel | Citibank


A defining moment in Hesham Fayez’s in-house career was his role in crisis management during Egypt’s 2011 political uprising, when he led billion-dollar transactions with significantly reduced headcounts. He also...

Inviolata Oriwo

General counsel and company secretary | Unilever Keyna

Inviolata Oriwo has distinguished herself in a number of areas during her time as general counsel and company secretary for Unilever’s Kenyan operations. The organisation has been singled out for...

Irene Otike-Odibi

General counsel | FBN Capital

As investment banking and asset management specialist FBN Capital’s general counsel, Irene Otike-Odibi is ‘one of the best’, according to sources. She draws particular mention for her contribution to corporate...

Irene Wamakau

Head legal and compliance, retail clients, Africa | Standard Chartered Bank


Heading a team that works across ten jurisdictions, Irene Wamakau excels in multiple aspects of her role, according to sources. During her time leading the dual-function legal and compliance department,...

Isabel Mmapingure

Legal officer | Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association

Not-for-profit Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association provides free legal advice and education, and has led high-profile regional campaigns in efforts to create dialogue on women and children’s rights. Credited with ‘courage’...

Ismail Hegazy

Executive vice president/deputy general counsel | Crédit Agricole

With sterling credentials in North Africa’s financial services sector, Ismail Hegazy has built a reputation for his handling of major and diverse transactions within the region. He has also made...

Ivy Ngana

Chief legal and regulatory affairs officer | Telekom Kenya

Ivy Ngana has impressive credentials in both telecommunications and insurance, with past roles including Jubilee Holdings’ legal head and Airtel Networks Kenya’s legal manager. Currently heading all legal, regulatory and...

Janine Janse van Vuuren

Head: legal and compliance | SHA

In just five years at the leading South African underwriter, Janine Janse van Vuuren has successfully driven legal and compliance into the forefront of business decision-making. She built the entire...

John Edokpolo

Legal counsel, West, East & Southern Africa; head of corporate relations for West Africa | Nokia

As well as supporting Nokia’s Sub-Saharan African sales and marketing team, John Edokpolo heads all engagement with government and corporate social investment across West and Central Africa. Sitting on the...

John Njenga

Head of legal services | Equity Bank


John Njenga, a former Njenga Mbugua & Nyanjua founding partner, was praised for his role in Equity Bank’s incorporation of subsidiary Equity Bank Kenya in 2014. Njenga was previously Institute...

JP Meintjes

Vice president legal: energy | Sasol

JP Meintjes, Sasol’s acclaimed legal vice president, is recognised for his superior industry knowledge and leadership during a defining period for the company. He is particularly praised for his role...

Karin Sinniger

Assistant general counsel | BP Africa

Heading ‘the best in-house legal team in Angola’, Karin Sinniger has been nominated for her outstanding contribution to the jurisdiction. Sinniger has made it a focus to train local lawyers,...

Kevin Lester

Head of legal: South Africa | Anglo American

One of South Africa’s most visible corporate counsel, Kevin Lester received among the largest numbers of endorsements during the course of our research. He is praised widely for his innovative...

Lara Coker

General counsel/general manager external communications | Shoreline Natural Resources

Managing legal and external communications for the Nigerian exploration company, Lara Coker is praised for her strong business acumen. For some, one of her greatest achievements at Shoreline has been...

Lilian Komwihangiro

Company secretary and head of legal | National Microfinance Bank (NMB)


NMB, Tanzania’s largest financial institution, continues its rapid growth in the region. Supporting over 140 branches, efficiency is key for Lilian Komwihangiro’s lean, ten-strong team. Among other measures, she has...

Lynda Ait Kaci

Senior counsel - North Africa | General Electric International

‘Being a female makes my job more challenging’, Lynda Ait Kaci says of her role supporting General Electric’s North African business. ‘Most of our customers are from the energy and...

Lynelle Bagwandeen

Group company secretary and general counsel | Netcare

An increasingly respected voice in the industry, the ‘very dynamic’ Lynelle Bagwandeen is particularly praised for her approach to corporate governance, and her effective integration of its needs into the...

Madeleine Truter

Head legal department and general counsel | Growthpoint Properties

Award-winning legal head and general counsel Madeleine Truter is a well-known figure in South Africa’s in-house legal community. She has played a pivotal role in Growthpoint’s ambitious expansion plans, most...

Mahmoud Shaarawy

Group head of legal | Elsewedy Electric

‘One of the most professional lawyers in Egypt’, Mahmoud Shaarawy built Elsewedy Electric’s legal function from scratch. Now heading a 14-lawyer team supporting operations across 74 national and international companies,...

Mahomed Ebrahim Essof

Head: legal affairs | Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa

Since his arrival eight years ago, Mahomed Ebrahim Essof has played a pivotal role Ericsson’s rapid growth across the region. ‘There’s always a diverse range of matters we deal with...

Mark Stafford

General counsel | Life Healthcare Group

One of South Africa’s largest listed companies, Life Healthcare Group owns and manages more than 60 hospitals across South Africa, and has extensive international investments. Mark Stafford’s five-strong team supports...

Mataboho Rantofi

Head of group legal | Woolworths

‘The excitement lives on day in-day out and the people you work with are so passionate about what they do that you immediately fall in love with the job’, Mateboho...

Matembo Lisimba

Head legal/company secretary | Ecobank Zambia


Present across 36 African countries, Ecobank invested $60m into expanding its Zambian presence in 2014. Joining as legal head and company secretary in 2012, Matembo Lisimba has been with Ecobank...

Matthew Burchell

Head of legal | Investec Asset Management

Following a successful international private practice career in project finance, Matthew Burchell has made it a core focus at Investec to achieve closer integration with the business. ‘We’ve tried to...

Michael Agamah

General counsel & company secretary | Keystone Bank


Balancing legal and company secretarial functions at one of Nigeria’s leading commercial banks, Michael Agamah has a sterling reputation in the nation’s financial services industry. Previously general counsel at Bank...

Michael Akafia

Head, legal and company secretary | Gold Fields West Africa

When Michael Akafia joined Gold Fields four years ago, he built up its entire West African legal function from scratch. As Ghana’s biggest taxpayer and one of its largest employers,...

Michael Spivey

Group general counsel, regulatory and ethics executive | Massmart Holdings

‘An enthusiastic leader with excellent creative, strategic thinking’, the ‘charismatic’ Michael Spivey is commended by sources for his handling of the integration process, following the Massmart/Walmart merger, two years ago....

Mirian Kene Kachikwu

General counsel and company secretary | Seplat

Mirian Kene Kachikwu is a veteran within the oil and gas industry and one of Nigeria’s most respected in-house lawyers. She is consistently praised by her contemporaries for her rounded...

Mohamed Afir

North Africa head of legal | Novartis

In 2014, Novartis established a group-wide task force in response to the Ebola virus, bringing together expertise and resources from across the business. A ‘dedicated’, ‘mature’ and ‘motivated’ professional, Mohamed...

Musa Bello

Company secretary, legal adviser, chief compliance officer | Africa Prudential Registrars

Heading legal, company secretarial and compliance issues at one of Nigeria’s leading share registration providers, Musa Bello is pivotal to strategic decision-making at board level, and negotiations with regulators. He...

Najette Kheiri

Head of Legal | Total Maroc

A mainstay of Total’s downstream Africa business, Total Maroc’s business model was revolutionised in 2014, when Zahid Group’s 30% share acquisition meant Total was no longer the sole shareholder. Legal...

Ned Mojuetan

General Counsel | Chevron

Award-winning in-house counsel Ned Mojuetan’s landmark moments at the world-leading oil and gas company have included negotiating Chevron’s first deepwater block, the West African Gas Pipeline and the Gorgon Project....

Neema Kewka

Legal co-ordinator and company secretary | Petrobas Tanzania (PETAN)

A longstanding Tanzanian resident, Brazilian oil company Petrobras farmed out offshore blocks to Shell Deepwater Tanzanian and Norwegian multinational Stateoil in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Formerly responsible for MOGAS International’s...

Nezha Lazrak

Head of legal, real estateaffairs and compliance | Holcim

Nezrha Lazrak was praised highly for her ‘faultless’ legal and strategic support to Holcim’s planned merger with Lafarge, which was formally approved in 2014. Since becoming the world-leading cement provider’s...

Ngozi Okonkwo

Chief legal officer | Oanda PLC

Ngozi Okonkwo led the ConocoPhillips purchase – Nigeria’s biggest upstream acquisition of 2014. Managing a 15-strong team, Okonkwo overseas all upstream, midstream and downstream operations. Her wide-reaching changes to the...

Nidal El Hassani

Regional legal manager | Nestlé Maghreb

Supporting Nestlé’s North African food production business, Nidal El Hassani has taken wide-reaching initiatives to educate the business on legal risk, and to raise the function’s profile. Among her greatest...

Niel Haupt

Head of legal: contracting South and Sub-Saharan Africa | Accenture

During his time at Accenture, Niel Haupt has, according to sources, played a pivotal role in establishing processes and ‘transforming’ legal into a frontline function. The global management consultancy, now...

Nthanbisend Ntsele

Head of legal service | National Empowerment Fund

‘I think I’m a lot more relaxed than when I started two years ago’, Nthabiseng Ntsele says of her role at the National Empowerment Fund. ‘Now it’s just keeping the...

Olaf Mumburi

Head of department: legal affairs | Vodacom

‘The dynamism of the telecommunication sector and the need to be constantly alert to new regulatory changes is something not to be taken lightly’, Olaf Mumburi says. During his time...

Olatowun Candide-Johnson

General counsel & GM management services; chief compliance officer | Total E&P Nigeria

Olatowun Candide-Johnson is praised highly by colleagues and external counsel for her ability to balance an exceptionally broad remit of responsibility. In addition to legal and compliance, her role covers...

Patricia Mbugua

Senior Legal Counsel, International Corporates, Financial Institutions and commercial Banking, Africa and Middle East | Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited


‘Efficient’ and ‘dedicated’, Patricia Mbugua built the credit division of Bank of Africa Kenya’s well-regarded legal function from scratch and remained their legal head until her move to East Africa...

Paul Ndungi

Company secretary and senior legal counsel | Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited


‘An excellent team player’, Paul Ndungi has over a decade’s financial experience, joining Barclays Bank of Kenya in July 2015. In his previous role as Ecobank Kenya’s legal head, Ndungi...

Peter Balfour

Executive manager (legal and compliance) | Transnet SOC

‘One of the things I’ve always felt is it shouldn’t just be a reactive backroom role’, Peter Balfour says. ‘My view – supported by the General Manager – is that...

Pieter Badenhorst

Director of legal, risk and compliance | AFGRI

Heading a multi-award-winning team, ‘truly gifted lawyer’ Pieter Badenhorst is one of South Africa’s most respected in-house counsel, known for his innovative approach. One of the best examples of this...

Priyan Pillay

Head of legal: Southern Africa markets | British American Tobacco

‘As part of the leadership team of the Southern African markets, I am a South African-qualified lawyer, but what I’m bringing is strategic value to the team’, Priyan Pillay says....

Professor William Kosar

Senior legal advisor - trade facilitation, USAID contractor | Southern Africa Trade Hub

‘Resourceful’, ‘caring’ and ‘giving’, William Kosar has built a reputation as a world-leading advisor and academic in public law and international relations. He has wide-reaching experience supporting governments and private...

Rafik Mzah

Chief legal counsel | Africinvest

Operating across Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, Africinvest is one of the most experienced private equity investors in the region. As chief legal officer, Rafik Mzah has drawn notice for his...

Rebotile Bopape

GM legal: Southern Africa Region | Multichoice Africa

‘No one day is the same’, Rebotile Bopape says of her corporate counsel role. ‘We get involved in every single element of the business, so we have a helicopter view...

Reena Shah

Legal Manager | Nestlé Equatorial African Region

‘I enjoy the challenges of working in a multinational that operates across many countries and cultures in Africa’. Reena Shah is praised widely for her outstanding commercial acumen and lateral...

Regina Anyika

Company secretary and head of legal | Housing Finance Kenya

As head of legal and company secretarial functions at one of East Africa’s leading mortgage providers, Regina Anyika has faced a range of legal, commercial and strategic challenges. She has...

Samuel Kibugi

Head of legal services department and head of compliance | Co-operative Bank of Kenya


Co-operative Bank of Kenya commenced a program of wide scale redundancies in preparation for a full restructuring to promote customer focus and profitability in 2014. A ‘diligent intelligent team player’,...

Senibo Bara-Hart

Legal advisor | Samsung West Africa

Supporting a global brand in Nigeria’s complex and evolving telecommunications industry, ‘deep thinker’ Senibo Bara-Hart faces a range of tactical and legal challenges. For some sources, Bara-Hart’s real added value...

Shawn Barnett

Head of legal, risk and compliance | Bravura Group

A ‘national derivatives expert’, Shawn Barnett has built up two in-house legal departments from scratch, and been involved in some of the jurisdiction’s most significant transactions. ‘I helped launch probably...

Sheilla Mugugu

General counsel | Econet Wireless Zimbabwe

During her decade-plus service at Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, Sheilla Mugugu has been praised for her handling of significant high profile transactions and major disputes. Mugugu previously led ExxonMobil’s Southern African...

Sibangilizwe Ndlovu

Legal officer | United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (“UNECA”)

With over a decade of United Nations experience spanning Kosovo, Sudan, South Africa and now Ethiopia, Sibangilizwe Ndlovu has an intricate understanding of international law. During his time at Darfur’s...

Simon Bugingo

Head of legal – corporate finance, Africa/ senior legal counsel – corporate and institutional client coverage, Africa | Standard Chartered Bank


Starting his in-house career at Deutsche Bank in London 15 years ago, Simon Bugingo has covered financial services markets across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Tasked with establishing Standard...

Stephanie Brown

Head of legal | Shell South Africa

A Shell veteran, Stephanie Brown is praised for her ‘flawless’ management of the challenges faced by a global brand doing business in an emerging, and sometimes turbulent, market. ‘I had...

Thomas Eshun

Legal Manager (Ghana) | Millicom International Cellular (Tigo)

A highly experienced telecommunications lawyer, Thomas Eshun is a respected voice within the industry. During his five years as Millicom’s Ghanaian legal head, he has supported some of its most...

Tony Djokoto

General counsel | Tullow Oil

Africa’s leading independent oil and gas exploration company, Tullow Oil has led some of the most significant and high profile projects across the continent and beyond. As general counsel, Tony...

Uzoma Uja

Company secretary/legal counsel | Lafarge Africa

Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria rebranded to Lafarge Africa in 2014, following a series of strategic transactions across Nigeria and South Africa. Previously Nigerian legal head, Uzoma Uja remains company secretary...

Victoria Chelangat Sabula

General counsel and board secretary | Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

Previously chaired by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, AGRA works towards a vision of self-sufficiency in Africa. Helping millions of small-scale farmers stave off poverty across the continent,...

Waweru Mathenge

Head of legal and secretarial services | Barclays Bank of Kenya


Barclays Bank of Kenya had an 11% net profit raise during 2014 and sought approval to establish an insurance business in the jurisdiction. The Bank announced a deal with Samsung...

Zukiswa Sithole

Senior legal advisor (projects) | Development Bank of Southern Africa


Zukiswa Sithole has been praised highly for her role in South Africa’s Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme (REIPPP), one of 2012’s leading developments in the region. ‘The biggest challenge has...

Zwide Mhlongo

Senior legal counsel | Liberty Financial

Zwide Mhlongo has led some of Liberty Financial’s biggest South African transactions of recent times, and is praised by sources for his methodical approach. ‘Part of the in-house legal function...

Africa is frequently mentioned as a key market for companies looking to expand, but there is more to the region than simply natural resources, projects and infrastructure. The Legal 500 takes a look at some of the issues facing the continent.

Algeria’s wealth derives from its deep oil and gas reserves, which make it the largest economy in North Africa. State-owned energy companies Sonatrach, which is easily the continent’s biggest company, and Sonelgaz are vital to its economy. Hydrocarbons account for over 95% of Algeria’s export revenues.

The country maintains strict controls on foreign investment, ensuring that any company is at least 51% controlled by a domestic entity. Only the energy sector is relatively open to outsiders, drawing in global oil and gas companies, but in other sectors inbound investment is limited. Expectations of changes to the 49/51 rule on foreign ownership and on exchange controls have ebbed following the re-election of incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April 2014 with 82% of the vote.

Oil production is Angola’s key economic driver, although the construction and agriculture sectors are also booming. As the economy begins to diversify, there has been rising demand for experienced lawyers in a variety of areas including foreign direct investments, capital markets, telecoms and technology. Due to the government’s policy of insisting that 70% of a company’s employees have to be Angolan nationals, foreign corporations often enter via joint venture agreements, which generates a large share of law firms’ work. Since the implementation of the new Angolan constitution in 2010, numerous laws have been passed, such as the large taxpayers’ statute and new legislation regarding the setup and future operation of the Angola Stock Exchange in 2013.

After the turmoil of recent years the business environment in Egypt is showing signs of improvement. Increased political stability is encouraging foreign investment, much of which is coming from the Gulf states. The healthier economic climate is producing a steady pipeline of transactional work for domestic law firms. Major government-backed projects such as the extension of the Suez Canal will also have a significant impact on the country’s economic development.

Ghana is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with an average annual growth rate of 7.2% over the past 13 years. Relatively transparent and stable governance, as well as an abundance of natural resources – including the recent discovery of oil – has made the country a target for investment. As well as local private equity firms, there is also increased appetite for investment from larger sponsors as part of their pan-African strategy. Private equity interest, the country’s energy reserves, and the government’s active encouragement of PPP projects have all served as strong incentives for foreign law firms to look with greater interest at Ghana.

Ivory Coast is an increasingly pivotal legal market in Africa. It has a comparatively well developed and sophisticated legal profession, buoyed by a range of substantial international projects and cross-border transactions. The African Development Bank recently returned its headquarters to the country’s capital Abidjan, having relocated to Tunisia during the Ivorian civil war. With a thriving commercial and financial sector, the jurisdiction is becoming a hub for the surrounding region.

Following the 2013 election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya seems to be on a clear, positive road to economic, social and political improvement as the new government enacts policies to make Kenya more attractive as a business opportunity, particularly for foreign investors. This has resulted in a number of multinationals showing serious interest in the market.

For lawyers, an increase in M&A and infrastructure projects – particularly in the energy market – has generated significant mandates. The discovery of new oil reserves off the Kenyan coast in early 2014 holds the promise of more legal work.
In the wake of Muammar Gaddafi’s downfall in 2011, two rival governments and parliaments are vying for power and control of Libya’s oil wealth, upon which the country’s economy is highly dependent – oil provides practically all of the country’s export income and over half of Libya’s GDP.

Despite the difficult environment, many international companies and investors have interests tied up in Libya and require legal advice, which is available from local law firms and a number of international firms.

A politically and economically stable country at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the Kingdom of Morocco is an attractive proposition for international companies looking for a platform for their investments on the continent. The creation of Casablanca Finance City (CFC) was a significant step in positioning the country as a financial and economic hub for Francophone Africa; CFC status provides numerous advantages including favourable tax incentives aimed at attracting financial and professional services providers and multinational companies’ headquarters.

Morocco has invested heavily in renewable energy, in part to reduce its reliance on imported energy. The Ouarzazate Solar Plant is the first of five power stations to be built under the Moroccan Solar Plan. The Agadir desalination plant is another major project, which is intended to alleviate water supply issues.

Abundant natural resources give Mozambique vast economic potential to a country that has become familiar with rapid economic growth; resources include some of the largest undeveloped coal reserves in the world. Major infrastructure projects, such as the redevelopment of the 670km Sena railway line – ravaged by mines as a result of the 15-year civil war and sporadic, ongoing hostilities – from the port town of Beira to the interior are currently underway to support economic exploitation, attracting substantial investment from energy and natural resources companies.

Nigeria is one of the world’s main producers of crude oil and natural gas, with high-end potential for offshore petroleum activity. Consequently, Nigeria’s legal market is especially active in energy-related deals and it has seen an increase in mandates concerning downstream processes; the country’s energy lawyers are keen to have Nigeria’s long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) come into force. The PIB is intended to establish a new legal framework and effective regulatory agencies, and develop new guidelines to govern operations in the upstream and downstream sectors.However, the recent drop in global crude oil prices has led to fears for the country’s economy, as the country relies on crude oil export for 80% of its earnings. Consequently, the country has recognised the need to stimulate non-oil revenue; meanwhile, the financial services, power and telecoms sectors are growing, giving rise to a flow of regulatory and project finance instructions for law firms.

The interest from international firms illustrates the pivotal nature of South Africa as a major legal market and also as a hub for Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa. One of the more sophisticated legal markets on the continent, companies are increasingly being drawn to South Africa as they look to capitalise on the in-house talent to push forward with their strategic plans.

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.

Three years after the ousting of President Ben Ali in 2011, the stance of foreign investors towards the Tunisian market remains cautious. However, the country appears to be on a steady road to recovery: the adoption of a new Constitution in January 2014, as well as parliamentary and presidential elections in October and November, respectively, suggested a return to political stability and an accompanying economic recovery.

These developments – notably the new constitution – are intended not only to improve the political scenario, but also to make the Tunisian market increasingly attractive to international investors. In addition to inviting foreign investment, the new government and its new regulations are also expected to stimulate the market for public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Tunisia.


DLA Piper Africa

DLA Piper Africa logo

DLA Piper Africa is delighted to be the inaugural sponsor of the GC Powerlist Africa. Doing business in Africa offers unique opportunities and challenges and we are happy to be part of something that recognizes those Corporate Counsel who are driving the African legal profession forward.

We fully recognise the need to understand the cultural, economic and political nuances that exist across this vast continent. DLA Piper is one of the most active law firms on the continent. DLA Piper Africa brings together leading law firms and has created the ability to operate on a pan African basis with very strong national and regional expertise supported by the global resource and knowhow of DLA Piper’s 4,200 lawyers based in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.

Sharing best practice and knowledge enables us to service clients on a global, international and local level with the best legal advice. Our knowledge of the key sectors Energy, Infrastructure, Banking and Finance, Private Equity, Oil and Gas, Mining and Minerals, Hospitality and Leisure, Telecommunications and Insurance is built up by our teams working globally including in the rapidly developing markets in Africa.

DLA Piper Africa is together building the leading integrated business law service in Africa. This involves not only great lawyers but also the wider infrastructure to support and develop the people and offices across the continent. Our co-ordinated programmes are designed to share and develop knowhow through technical training and sector knowledge. We have created comprehensive file management and practice management systems as well as compliance, insurance, risk strategy and coordinated HR and career development processes all based on global best practice.

We look forward to continue working with leading Counsel across Africa in the future.

GC Powerlist: Central America 2024