With more than 40 lawyers and consultants in our Sub-Saharan, Southern and East Africa group, our International practice has extensive experience of the Sub-Saharan, Southern and East Africa regions, which include the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Cote d’Ivoire Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In addition to English, a number of our lawyers, consultants and staff interested in these countries speak Amharic, Arabic, French, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Spanish and Yoruba. Firmwide our lawyers, consultants and staff speak more than 40 languages.
McGuireWoods lawyers have worked on significant mergers and acquisitions, including early unbundling leveraged acquisitions in South Africa, dating back to 1993. We represent public and private businesses engaged in day to day corporate activity conducting banking and finance activities, mergers and acquisitions, corporate and commercial transactions, fund development, corporate finance, commercial contracts, cross-border sales and tax advice for foreign investors worldwide.
Our capital markets and finance team assists with advice on private equity, IPOs, debt finance and project finance needs. In particular, our teams in London and Brussels, in co-operation with colleagues in our French co-counsel firm, KGA, offer insight and depth in financing and floating companies, acting for investment banks, syndicated and asset based lenders, nomads, brokers and sponsors, as well as market entrants. For equity capital markets, our focus is on the the London Stock Exchange, as well as the NYSE, NASDAQ, AIM, PLUS, GXG, JSE, NSE, SGX and a variety of local and regional exchanges.
Oil, Gas, Mining and other Natural Resources
McGuireWoods brings deep legal background in the African extractive industries. Our Mining Industry practice includes activities related to base-metal, precious metals, rare earth minerals, coal, uranium, and construction aggregates industries. Our metals and mining team headquartered in Brussels, but with lawyers in the US and London as well, brings a specialized background to the Afro-European axis. Our oil and gas team has substantial experience supporting majors and independent extractors, transportation, commodities and distribution industries in critically endowed regions. This gives us the ability to supplement our strong regional and cultural knowledge, with deep technical and sector expertise.
McGuireWoods’ Energy Industry practice focuses on regulation, deregulation and restructuring of public and private utilities; on the development, acquisition, sale and financing of natural gas, power generation and other energy facilities; and on the marketing and trading of energy commodities. We represent governments, utilities, industrial energy consumers, in project development and finance, international energy development, environmental, land use, contract negotiation, privatization and taxation.
McGuireWoods has actively focused on steps to garner renewed engagement around greenhouse gas reduction strategies amongst African economies through direct and indirect initiatives. By enacting minor upstream and downstream process improvements, such as venting and gas flare capture, oil and gas projects we are especially well positioned to generate additional income from global carbon markets.
We help position our African and multinational clients to meet eligibility requirements and to benefit from the sale of African credits into the EU through the Clean Development Mechanism.
McGuireWoods lawyers also advise on multinational litigation, international arbitration and dispute resolution. McGuireWoods recently played a lead role in resolving a high profile slops spill in the Ivory Coast involving several multinational investigations into the nature of the spill, the damages resulting therefrom, directing the remediation efforts, overseeing the monitoring efforts, as well as coordinating litigation in five countries.
Corporate Social Responsibility and International Anticorruption
McGuireWoods brings core capability in navigating complexities of state of the art corporate compliance programmes setting paradigms for emerging standards of corporate social responsibility as evolving from the UN, EU, US as well as international donors, trade association standards and NGOs. We regularly advise clients, including African governments on global fraud and corruption issues, including the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and UK Bribery Act 2010 (UKBA), UN, EU and US economic and trade sanction penalties.
Firm partner, Vivian Robinson QC, based in London, previously served as first general counsel at the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) where he spearheaded development of the SFO’s enforcement policy under the UKBA and acted as primary liaison to the public and business communities.
African development work includes building relationships with both regional governments and supranational institutions, such as the UN, the World Bank, IFC and the African Development Bank.
McGuireWoods lawyers also maintain close ties with rule of law and economic development agencies associated with Africa, including USAID, UK DFID, EUROPEAID, and commercial interests in Africa including the Overseas Private Investment Corp, US & UK Ex-Im Banks. We have direct working knowledge of AFRICOM and the US Foreign Military Sales and Foreign Military Financing Program, as part of the overall co-operative security assistance program between the US and Djibouti.
A number of our professionals have direct experience with the region: Frank Donatelli, previously served as Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Africa Bureau, whilst Leigh B. Middleditch Jr. serves as a member of the ABA Africa Law Initiative Council and has recently served as its chair.
Walter H. White, Jr. has also served in a leadership capacity in a variety of USAID funded projects, including on the board of the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative and the World Justice Project and other development institutions for more than a quarter of a century. He currently serves as an advisor to the African Presidential Archives Center at BostonUniversity where he regularly interacts with current and past African Union leaders. Mr. White chaired the ABA’s Center on Human Rights and in that capacity, played a significant role in the development of the GlobalCenter for the Responsibility to Protect and in the creation of the Anti-Genocide Network. As past chair of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative, he helped to devise programs to train prosecutors, customs officials, and East African law enforcement organizations to enhance cross-border interdisciplinary anti-human trafficking enforcement.
Our capabilities are enhanced by French law firm KGA in Paris and Marseilles, with whom we have a non-exclusive co-operation agreement. KGA maintains an on-the ground presence in Libreville, Gabon. We also work closely with local counsel, including through our membership in the global legal networks LNI and Lex Mundi.