A team from Baker McKenzie, led by London-based Banking & Finance Partner Luka Lightfoot, advised on two transport infrastructure transactions that won the African Banker Awards Deals of the Year in May 2024.
The Infrastructure Deal of the Year was awarded to the Standard Gauge Railway transaction in Tanzania. Baker McKenzie acted as lenders’ legal counsel to multi-award winners Africa Export-Import Bank and Standard Chartered Bank on the USD 362.5 million loan to the Republic of Tanzania to fund the construction of a standard gauge railway (SGR). Running approximately 550 kilometres long, the SGR is one of the country’s biggest projects, connecting Dodoma to Dar es Salaam via Morogoro and Makutupora. It will provide a safe and reliable means for efficiently transporting people and cargo to and from the existing Dar es Salaam Port. The project has already created thousands of employment opportunities for Tanzanian citizens and has opened opportunities for local communities surrounding the project area to access services such as shelter and food.
The Debt Deal of the Year was awarded to the EUR 774 million Project Strada transaction in Sénégal. Project Strada is a multi-source financing transaction for one of the largest road infrastructure projects in Africa. The Baker McKenzie Africa-focused Banking & Finance team advised MUFG and UK Export Finance on UKEF-covered and tied commercial facilities, guaranteed by the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Cooperation, for an autonomous road maintenance fund in connection with road construction and rehabilitation projects, amounting to a combined EUR 774 million in financing. The structure of the UKEF line of credit was a first of its kind for this type of project.
The Baker McKenzie teams working on these transactions comprised Luka Lightfoot, Jessica Riley, Lucy Stratton, Josh Robson and Tessa Schembri in London and Michael Foundethakis and Arslane Hatem in Paris.
The Africa-focused Banking & Finance team has been particularly active as legal counsel in multiple project finance, export finance, and structured trade finance transactions for key financial institutions in Africa, leading the way on many major financing transactions for both the private and public sector in jurisdictions such as Angola, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Nigeria, Sénégal, South Africa, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
In March 2024, the team won Banking & Finance Legal Adviser of the Year at GFC Media's Bonds, Loans & ESG Capital Markets Africa Awards 2024, for the third time in four years. The Firm also advised its clients on three Deal of the Year transactions: the Infrastructure Finance Infrastructure Finance Deal of the Year, the ECA, DFI and IFI Deal of the Year and the Local Currency Loan Deal of the Year. In December 2023, the Firm was named EMEA Finance's African Banking Awards Best Pan-African Law Firm 2023, having won the award every year since 2021.
Baker McKenzie is a transactional powerhouse, with more than 2,500 deal practitioners in 45 countries offering leading expertise in the areas most critical to its clients. The Firm excels in complex transactions and cross-border deals; over 65% of its deals are multijurisdictional. The Firm is global and local, combining money-market sophistication with local excellence across the African continent.
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