Baker McKenzie’s Africa-focused Banking & Finance team has won the GFC Media Group’s Bonds, Loans & Sukuk Africa Award for Banking & Finance Legal Adviser of the Year 2021. The awards took place at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town last night (Wednesday 9 March 2022). The multijurisdictional team won the prestigious Legal Adviser of the Year award as a result their significant growth over the past 12 months, their work on ground-breaking financial transactions across the continent, and their strong client relationships in the African financial institutions industry, which have been particularly important in a year when so many have been adapting to the stresses of the pandemic.

The Africa Banking & Finance team also advised on two of the winning transactions at the GFC Awards - the International Syndicated Loan Deal of the Year, which was awarded to the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank), and the Project & Structured Finance Deal of the Year, which was presented to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, United Republic of Tanzania.

Baker McKenzie’s Banking & Finance team from Cairo, London, Paris and Tokyo acted for a syndicate of over 30 banks led by MUFG Bank Ltd in relation to a circa USD 1.1 billion dual tranche term loan facilities agreement to Afreximbank. The team also acted as lenders' legal counsel to Standard Chartered Bank and the other lenders, development finance institutions and export credit agencies on the USD 1.46 billion financing to the Tanzania Government (acting through the Ministry of Finance and Planning) in connection with the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway Project in Tanzania.

Chair of the Africa Steering Committee at Baker McKenzie, Michael Foundethakis, comments, "Our strong and enduring client relationships in the financial institutions industry have enabled us to grow our existing client base and build new ones in the key strategic markets of the Maghreb, non-Francophone North Africa, Francophone West Africa, Anglophone West Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa and Lusophone Africa. Our strategy has been to help our clients navigate the impacts of the pandemic and to structure our advice in a way that takes into account the specific needs of their businesses and the sectors in which they operate. Our ambition has been to enable our clients to grow in a sustainable, inclusive way, that offers value to our clients' businesses, and the communities and environments in which they operate. It is gratifying that our approach has been acknowledged in this way."

The Firm's Africa Banking & Finance practice has achieved significant growth over the past 12 months, and is considered to be a key market player with an ongoing upward trajectory. The Firm’s impressive geographic coverage in Africa includes more than 100 lawyers based in its three African offices, over 200 Africa specialists across its 76 offices, and a network of 100 African relationship firms in 51 African jurisdictions in Africa. The multi-jurisdictional team has advised numerous clients on big ticket transactions across Africa in the last year. The practice has a well-balanced client base that includes investment banks, domestic and international banks, development banks as well as the most prominent and active private credit funds. The team advises on complex multi-jurisdictional matters including project finance, acquisition finance, syndicated lending and trade finance transactions.

In January 2022, the team also won the EMEA Finance African Banking Awards Best Law Firm in Africa Award for 2021. According to EMEA Finance, Baker McKenzie received the award due to its "very strong showing in a very challenging and complex year."

The awards ceremony followed the Bonds, Loans & Sukuk Africa Conference, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 8th and 9th March. According to GFC Media, the conference is the continent’s only pan-African debt event, and was the first industry gathering of the African financial markets since the onset of the pandemic.
Explore Our Newsroom