Africa comprises over 50 diverse emerging market countries existing under differing legal regimes. Many countries have commodity/mineral resources which require financing and across Africa there is a multitude of infrastructure and other project financing requirements. Despite these needs, there is a huge financing deficit across the continent. As a result, the issues and opportunities affecting borrowers and financiers are incredibly wide-ranging and as a firm we are well placed to provide clients with the advice and assistance they need to achieve their objectives. Our Africa practice is predominantly served by the firm’s London office which has over 20 years’ experience working across Africa.

Sullivan advises banks and non-bank financial institutions, corporates, governments and export credit agencies on a wide variety of emerging market finance activities including in particular in relation to trade and commodity finance, receivables finance, export finance and project finance. Our work covers Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone jurisdictions as well as North Africa and relates to all sectors, including in particular softs/agriculture, oil and metals on the trade and commodity side and, on the projects/infrastructure side, transport (airports), mining, social housing, food processing, water treatment, hydro power, energy and off-grid technologies.

Lawyers in our Africa practice advise on some the most innovative financings in some of the most challenging jurisdictions. Working closely with financial institutions, commercial parties, investors and governments, we provide critical support in structuring transactions and providing effective credit and security enhancement strategies. We also work closely with corporates to ensure that their commercial contracts are workable and, where applicable, are "bankable" and meet ECA (export credit agency) requirements. We also advise on risk management strategies, sanctions as well as regulatory, modern slavery and bribery and corruption issues.

In order to provide our clients with the best service, we work very closely with lawyers across the continent. We have very good relationships with one or more law firms in all of the jurisdictions in which we operate, many of which are longstanding relationships built up over decades. In our view, this way of working provides the client with the best possible advice, both locally and from an English law/international cross border perspective.

Tied in with the finance and other work described above which the firm carries out in Africa, we also advise clients in connection with their dispute resolution and insurance needs on the continent.

Representative Client Work

  • Advised the government of a southern African country in relation to its purchase of a hydro power generating plant project and the related project financing
  • Advised an international bank in relation to a $175 million warehouse and export facility funding the production and export of agricultural products from 11 African jurisdictions
  • Advised an international bank in relation to the commercial and ECA backed portions of a EUR73 million project finance facility for the expansion of Kumasi airport in Ghana
  • Advised a trade finance fund in relation to multiple soft commodity warehouse financings and pre-export financings in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon
  • Advised African development banks in relation to various financings including:
    • a structured telecoms receivables financing to the national telecoms utility company of Zambia
    • a standby letter of credit facility to an Egyptian borrower for the import of vehicle parts and accessories
    • a term loan facility to a Zimbabwean microfinance bank to fund its trade finance related microfinance business
    • an equipment finance facility to a Sierra Leone borrower for the import of equipment connected with its road construction business backed on government contract receivables
    • a structured term loan financing backed on factored receivables purchased by a Zimbabwean borrower with the facility proceeds
    • a structured revolving loan and standby letter of credit facility to a Ghanaian borrower to finance the purchase and export of cocoa
  • Advised an international bank in relation to a telecoms equipment and services financing for a government owned telecoms utility in East Africa
  • Advised a group of international lenders in relation to a $60 million equipment financing facility to a West African telecommunications company
  • Advised a group of international lenders in relation to a $170 million ECA backed export credit and commercial loan facility to a Zambian corporate guaranteed by the Zambian government
  • Advised a sponsor in relation to the project financing of a highly innovative and "disruptive" industrial plant in South Africa to extract high grade precious metals from tailings stockpiles and mineral deposits
  • Advised an international bank in relation to the commercial and ECA backed portions of a project finance facility for a hospital project in Ghana
  • Advised multiple international lending groups in relation to the financing of oil imports into Kenya through the OTS tendering system backed on oil receivables
  • Advised an East African corporate in relation to a dispute with a major international trader over margin call and sale and purchase obligations under a series of oil contracts

Key Contacts

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