Solicitors governing body: General Legal Council
Financial regulator: Ghana Securities and Exchange Commission
IFLR1000 ranking categories in this jurisdiction:
The Ghanaian legal system is based on an English common law framework, which has persevered since its independence from the British Empire in 1957. Due to similarities in language and legal systems the jurisdiction is historically linked with the Nigerian market. However, despite geographical proximity, the same cannot be said of Ghana’s neighbours; Togo, Côte d’Ivoire or Burkina Faso, whose francophone influence and civil law framework limit legal exchange in the region.
The domestic market is dominated by national firms; Bentsi-Enchill Letsa & Ankomah and Oxford & Beaumont lead the way in financial and corporate work. However, due to a lack of capacity in the local market, most of the larger, cross-border, transactional work is done outside of the jurisdiction. Transactions are led primarily by English and South African firms, who engage local firms on the domestic aspects of deals.
Foreign lawyers are permitted to practice law in Ghana if they meet certain prerequisites determined by the General Legal Council, and pass the Ghanaian bar examinations. Despite this, there are currently few international law firms permanently domiciled in Accra.
As one of Africa’s fastest open and growing economies, with a healthy political atmosphere and a high growth rate, it is something of a surprise that more international firms haven’t yet laid roots in Ghana, though some have associations.
Bentsi-Enchill Letsa & Ankomah is a leading Ghanaian law firm with expertise across capital markets, M&A, banking, project finance, and project development. The firm commonly operates as a local counsel.
The firm has been active in project finance particularly as lender’s local counsel, acting for lenders such as Credit Agricole, Macquiarie Bank, and the International Finance Corporation, which the firm advised on the English law facility agreement. The firm has done extensive work on bond and rights issuances during the research period, for clients including Quantum chemicals and Société Générale.
In capital markets the firm advised Ghana’s Social Security and Natural Insurance Trust, as well as advising the Ministry of Finance on a receivables-backed bond programme.
In project development, the firm has done extensive work in the energy sector, both in Ghana’s growing renewables industry and oil and gas, where the firm advised on ExxonMobil’s entry into the Ghanaian market. The firm also worked on the incorporation of private sector participation into the Volta River Authority.
Partner Rosa Kudoadzi, who worked in the banking and industry sectors, left the firm this year to join SESI legal.
"Bentsi always provides practical and reasonable advice. It is one of, if not the, best firms in Ghana." – Capital markets
"BELA are very knowledgeable in the financial markets and laws In Ghana. It's extremely thorough and ensures that all legal aspects of the transaction are covered in detail. It's creative in implementing innovative structures that work in this jurisdiction. It's very connected locally and understands regulators expectations to ensure the regulatory process goes smoothly. It also has extensive international networks to fall on when required. The partners are highly competent and experts in their field. It has the ability to deal with leading international firms and match them in legal expertise and structuring. It can handle international firms pound for pound and on most transactions, I felt it was in some cases far superior and there was no need for an additional international counsel. It also has superior transaction expertise having worked on more capital markets transactions than any other law firm in Ghana." – Banking and finance, capital markets, M&A and private equity
"It is highly professional with strengths in experience, its comprehensive approach, honesty and integrity." – Banking and finance, and capital markets
"He provides logical advice."
"He is extremely knowledgeable and an expert in his field. He is on my top three list of best lawyers I have worked with both internationally and locally. His transactional expertise and understanding of the law is top notch, having worked on most capital transactions in Ghana for both corporate and sovereign. His legal expertise and understanding is at par and at times far superior compared to other international lawyers from top companies when working on transactions where international counsel is required. Seth is also very thorough and detailed in his work making sure legal documentation is tight and sound. I admire his technical and creative ability and he is the first lawyer I call on any transaction for his in-depth understanding and expertise in capital markets in Ghana."
"He is extremely professional, knowledgeable, has commercial and financial understanding and good judgement."
ENSafrica’s Ghana practice remain a tier one firm in all practice areas, though this year it has shown particular expertise in project finance and capital markets transactions.
In project finance, the firm has worked for Vitol on the major Cape Three Points gas project, and for lenders such as Standard Chartered and FirstRand bank on infrastructure projects.
In capital markets, the firm has represented a number of banks on two government bond issuances.
Though the M&A market in Ghana was slow during the research period, the firm worked on a number of deals including Coca Cola’s purchase of businesses owned by Voltic Ghana limited.
The firm worked on confidential project development deals, advising clients in the energy sector during the research period.
"It is easy to deal with and familiar with the transaction issues." – M&A
"Service quality is good." – Restructuring and insolvency
"Good service quality."
Fugar & Co has during the research period demonstrated expertise in banking, finance and project development. The firm advised First Abu Dhabi Bank on a loan to the Ghanaian subsidiary of Unatrac and has advised Tullow oil on the impact of Ghanaian legislation.
Besides the above, the firm has done several deals in the banking sector, advising Standard Chartered as local counsel on a loan facility linked to an equipment mortgage agreement based in the Ivory Coast. The firm also advised Rand Merchant Bank on Ghanaian refinancing regulations.
JLD&MB is a Ghanaian legal firm with wide-ranging expertise but particular strength in capital markets and project finance. Sector specialisms include banking and oil and gas.
The firm advised leading Ghanaian bank HFC on its major rights issue, and led on Tullow Oil’s rights issue on the Ghanaian stock exchange. It advised Exxonmobil on its entry into the Offshore Cape Three Points development, having previously advised lenders on an Islamic financing programme for the project,
"It is meticulous in its work and understands the local business environment." – Banking and finance, and restructuring and insolvency
Law Bureau is active in project development and finance. The firm recently advised DHL Ghana on regulatory issues, and advised Rigworld Internaitonal Services on joint venture in the upstream oil and gas sector.
The Volta Aluminum Company is a key client of the firm, with Law Bureau advising it on developments in the mining and power sectors.
During the research period, N Dowouma was active across banking, capital markets, M&A, project finance and project development.
The firm has been particularly active in M&A and private equity, advising LSAI on its investment in UT life insurance, and Puma energy on a number of acquisitions of fuel retail sites across Ghana. The firm also advised on a number of confidential deals in the agricultural sector.
In capital markets, a deal highlight was advising Helio Towers as local counsel on its bond issuance on the Irish Stock Exchange.
In project development the firm advised on a PPP contract, as well as on several real estate developments, working with clients such as Kingdom Hotel investments. The firm also worked on a number of confidential deals in the energy sector.
“Very responsive and flexible to our changing needs. Good local networks and very good practical sense of business and law. N Dowuona & Co gives us a lot of confidence operating in Ghana” – Project development
“Very young, dynamic and agile.” - M&A
"Quick access to clear minds and strong local knowledge. Fast response to enquiries." – Banking, project development, project finance , and restructuring and insolvency
"The firm is very professional and consistent in various levels of the legal process. In all cases, the firm's team was always a good listener and understandable of our company's legal needs and requirements. The legal fees charged by the firm were very reasonable. I would like to point out that the services provided and the amount of hours exerted to respond to our legal needs were never fully charged. Mrs NanaAma and her team very often provided legal advice at any time of the weekdays, and sometimes on weekends, without charging us any legal fees. The law firm's strength is in the excellent knowledge of the relative Ghanaian laws." – Banking and finance, project development
"Very professional, polite and competent. Responds and delivers on time."
"She is excellent and I rely on her advice for navigating local political and business circles."
"She's good at mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures, plus she has good local knowledge combined with international experience."
"She delivers a personalised service."
"She is very professional, persistent and knowledgeable. We always benefited from her legal advice because of her vision and wisdom, generated from wide experience and involvement with various types of businesses around the world."
Ntrakwah & Co have been active during the research period in project finance and development. Though the firm’s clients are confidential, it can be said that they have advised on a number of deals in real estate and construction, as well as advising on financing the procurement of mining equipment.
In energy, the firm advised on a major downstream project in liquid natural gas.
"My dealings with Ntrakwah & Co have been very positive, I would highly recommend it. At all stages of the process it provides realistic timelines and likely outcomes." – M&A, project development, project finance, restructuring and insolvency
"Good personalised service." – M&A, project development
Sam Okudzeto & Associates is active in banking and M&A. During the research period, the firm worked on small-scale joint ventures in the oil and gas sector, advising Zeal Environmental Technologies on a joint venture with Versalis to supply chemicals to the Ghanaian oil industry, and Consolidates Shipping Agency on its joint venture with Exceed Holdings.