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Why Herbert Smith Freehills? 

Africa is an exciting but sometimes complex place to do business. Our vast experience throughout the continent means that we have already navigated through a multitude of different business challenges in Africa and can therefore simplify things for you without having to reinvent the wheel each time. At the same time we are constantly exploring innovative ideas and different approaches to help our clients to achieve their best results in Africa.


Depth of experience

Herbert Smith Freehills has an unrivalled understanding of the African market derived from a deep track record acting on matters in Africa for over 40 years across all practice groups and industry sectors. Our offering in Africa is serviced by more than 180 partners from across our global network of offices, including from our 40-lawyer Johannesburg office. We have Africa desks in each of our international hubs, including Asia, comprising lawyers who have experience in Africa and who work regularly with specialist Africa lawyers from elsewhere across our network. This means that you can access our global pool of Africa know-how and expertise from your own time zones, wherever you are located. We have worked on matters in all 54 countries of Africa (covering French, English, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic-speaking jurisdictions) and on over 1000 matters in 2021. Whether you consider the continent is fast-changing or not changing fast enough, our ability to harness our deep pool of experience on the continent means that we can guide you through the unique challenges and opportunities of working in Africa to provide tailored realistic solutions.

Global vision, Africa insight

As well as drawing on our deep global sectoral expertise when serving our clients in Africa, we can also drill down into specific local in-country issues, which is often where a deal or project can become unstuck. Our Africa practice group includes a core team of Africa specialists who dedicate all or a large portion of their time to work in Africa. These lawyers have built significant experience in specific regions and countries and offer a comprehensive understanding of the laws of the OHADA zone and other regional initiatives (CEMAC-ECCAS, CEDEAO-ECOWAS, UEMOA-WAEMU etc). Building strong relationships of trust and confidence is key to the success of our clients' activities in any jurisdiction globally, particularly in Africa, and face to face meetings are common. Our teams spend a considerable amount of time on the ground in Africa engaging with local industry players, government and local counsel, which has enabled us to build and maintain good working relationships. We are sensitive to local cultural differences and place a strong emphasis on commercial diplomacy when helping our clients to successfully navigate through the issues and realities of doing business on the continent.

Mitigating your risks and resolving your challenges in Africa

We are able to combine our deep Africa know-how and experience with our leading global dispute resolution and crisis management practice. Our ability to foresee and to help you to protect against potential areas of risk and dispute in Africa before they arise, and to deal with them efficiently when things go wrong, is a real differentiator for us and is one of the areas where we believe that we can provide a service in Africa that is over and above that of our competitors.

Don't just take our word for it

We are ranked in eight Africa-wide categories by Chambers Global 2022, including Band 1 rankings for Africa-wide Projects & Energy and Africa-wide Mining & Minerals. Five of our partners are also singled out by Chambers Global 2022 as leading individuals for Africa-wide Projects & Energy— the most individual rankings achieved in this category by any law firm. 

Africa notes

Find the latest legal developments in Africa on our blog.


Willis Towers Watson

Advising on the sale of its entire shareholdings in businesses in 15 African markets

Goldman Sachs

Advising on the successful defence of a US$1.2 billion claim brought by the Libyan Investment Authority in relation to a series of leveraged derivatives transactions with Goldman Sachs in early 2008.

Bharti Airtel

Advising on a series of major disputes with Econet Wireless Limited relating to Bharti's subsidiary in Nigeria.


Advising on the acquisition of Freeport's indirect 56% interest in the world-class Tenke Fungurume mine in DRC for US$2.65 billion.

Vitol SA

Advising on its US$7 billion oil and gas project in Ghana with ENI supplying gas for power generation.

Southern African Power Pool Coordination Centre

Advising on the Botswana-South Africa (BOSA) transmission line.

Key contacts

Peter Leon photo

Peter Leon

Partner, London

Peter Leon
Nina Bowyer photo

Nina Bowyer

Managing Partner, EMEA, Paris

Nina Bowyer
Martin Kavanagh photo

Martin Kavanagh

Partner, London

Martin Kavanagh

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