Freshfields in Africa
We have advised on complex projects and disputes in all of Africa’s 54 countries. Combining detailed knowledge of the continent’s laws and regulations with a deep understanding of its myriad cultures, we are an obvious choice for complex African matters.
Our clients, which include governments, state-owned enterprises, investment firms, multinational corporations and financial institutions, know there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to working across the continent. And so they rely on us to find bespoke and innovative solutions to their most critical needs in Africa.
Our Africa-focused lawyers have experience of a wide variety of industries, such as mining, oil and gas, infrastructure, telecoms, technology, consumer products and healthcare. We also have strong ties with Africa’s top law firms and many of the institutions and stakeholders that are critical to delivering outstanding legal and practical advice for any matter.
We are representing East Mediterranean Gas and its foreign shareholders in four parallel arbitration proceedings with Egypt and its state entities, comprising investment treaty disputes under the ICSID and UNCITRAL rules and contractual disputes under the ICC and CRCICA rules.
The disputes arise from a government-backed project to construct a gas pipeline under the Mediterranean Sea to export Egyptian gas to customers in Israel, as an extension of Egypt's and Israel's commitment to energy interdependence in their 1979 Peace Treaty, and Egypt’s conduct putting an end to that project by repudiating its gas supply commitments following the Arab Spring.
In December 2015, the ICC tribunal ordered the Egyptian state entities to pay out over $2bn in favour of the claimants; in February 2017, the ICSID tribunal found Egypt liable for multiple violations of the US-Egypt bilateral investment treaty; in December 2017, the UNCITRAL tribunal found Egypt liable for multiple violations of the Poland-Egypt bilateral investment treaty; and in January 2018 the CRCICA tribunal awarded our clients damages of approximately US$1.3 billion. Damages awards in the two treaty arbitrations are pending.
The offer was launched under Chapter 11 of the Listing Rules issued by the Malta Financial Services Authority.
We overcame the regulatory obstacles in multiple jurisdictions inevitably raised by a deal involving such a complex, wide-ranging business. We conducted a high-level analysis to pinpoint any potential competition issues, which then guided local counsel in their discussions with regulators. Freshfields’ global network put lawyers on the ground wherever they were needed and sealed off risks with the warranties and indemnities and remedial action.
The dispute concerns Econet's multibillion dollar interest in the Nigerian operations of a leading global telecoms company.