Uganda

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Uganda Law Society

Financial regulator: Capital Markets Authority (CMA)

IFLR1000 ranking categories: 

Financial and corporateProject development

Jurisdiction overview

Uganda was a protectorate of the British Empire until 1962. The country is a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations, and alongside Swahili, English is an official language. The Republic of Uganda’s legal system is based on English Common Law, and is also influenced by African customary law. 

The Uganda Law Society is a member of the East Africa Law Society, which allows for advocates of the courts of Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda or Burundi to practice in Uganda. The nations are considering the adoption of a common legal system in the near future, as well as a shared currency.

There are currently no other agreements that allow foreign nationals to practice in Uganda, however foreign firms are allowed to practice as long as they have local lawyers. Rather than establish their own offices in Kampala, the capital and legal hub, international firms and networks have so far been inclined to establish connections with local firms.

The most notable associations are AF Mpanga of the Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group, MMAKS of the Africa Legal Network and Sebalu & Lule of the DLA Piper Africa Group. A recent development saw Shonubi Musoke & Co form an official alliance with Norton Rose Fulbright.

Following the recent discovery of oil, and recent agreements to begin its removal, there is a lot of work due to come into the East African jurisdiction in the coming years and a lot of large projects in the pipeline. Most of the work for these projects is likely to be handled by large English firms with an African presence, while local teams are contracted for the local aspects.

Financial and corporate
ABMAK Associates

ABMAK Associates was active during the research period in the project finance and development areas. 

The firm advised project developers and sponsors on work in the oil and gas, power, mining and infrastructure sectors. Some recent key clients include Total E&P Uganda, American Tower Corporation Uganda and China Harbor Engineering Corporation.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•East Africa Crude oil pipeline 

•Kikagati hydropower plant 

•Uganda standard gauge railway

AF Mpanga

AF Mpanga is a leading firm that is particularly active in the financial and corporate space. The firm is part of the Bowmans’ pan-African network.

The banking team recently worked for lenders and borrowers on loans, acquisition finance, real estate financing, syndicated loans and trade financing deals.

In the capital markets area the firm advised an issuer on an IPO in the pharmaceutical sector.

In M&A the firm was active predominantly in the oil and gas sector, advising both acquires and sellers.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•CiplaQCiL Uganda Securities Exchange IPO

•Kobil Uganda acquisition of 23 petroleum retail outlets from Delta Petroleum Uganda

•Ziba $16.64 million syndicate loan financing 

Birungyi Barata & Associates

Birungyi Barata & Associates is active in banking and finance, M&A and restructuring work.

In recent banking work the firm acted as counsel to the borrower on a financing facility.

The M&A team advised joint venture partners on a deal in the oil and gas sector.

In restructuring work the firm represented debtors in the telecoms, automotive and consumer goods industries.

Engoru Mutebi Advocates

Engoru Mutebi Advocates is active in the financial and corporate and project development areas. 

In banking during the research period the firm advised a lender on a revolving credit facility. The firm also advised a debtor in the financial services sector on its restructuring. 

The M&A team worked for an acquirer on a deal in the healthcare industry.

In project development the firm was active representing sponsors and project companies on the development of power and oil and gas projects.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Facts Advance $4 million revolving credit facility 

•Financial Access Commerce and Trade Services restructuring

•Platinum Equity $498 million acquisition of Johnson & Johnson blood glucose monitoring business

 

Client feedback

"The firm was great. It has a depth understanding of capital markets and projects. It provided great support." - Project development

Robert Apenya

"He was very responsive and he was able to provide great local support. He is very pleasant to work with. He is a team player. We will definitely work with him again."

ENSafrica

In Uganda, ENSafrica has a particular expertise in project finance and development.

In banking work during the research period the firm advised lenders on loans deals. 

In project finance the firm acted as local counsel to lenders in the power, infrastructure and agriculture sectors.

Notable staffing changes include the departure of energy, mining and infrastructure partners Alexander Kibandama and Bernard Katureebel.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Gulu Agricultural Development $5 million financing

•MTN Uganda $25 million syndicated financing 

•SolarNow Safi 3 $9 million financing

 

Client feedback

"I cannot stress how fantastic ENS's work has been. Each member of the team (Rachel Musoke, Sheila Pacuto, Rehema Ssemyalo, Philip Karugaba) has gone above and beyond the call of duty in order to make the transaction happen and to perform the services for the client. They are efficient, reliable, keep to costs estimates and I would wholeheartedly recommend them to others." - Banking

"The firm is efficient, responsive and easy to deal with. It is expensive though." - Banking

"The firm is well experienced and has been able to provide valuable support and advise when contacted. An area of improvement would be the turnaround time in its responses to assignments." - Banking

"The firm is well placed, connected and informed with a good knowledge of law." - Project development

Donald Nyakairu

"Donald has a good understanding of the Ugandan market and is always accessible and willing to come to aid of his clients. He is very helpful in offering support on the company's projects."

"He has excellent relationships within the government."

Phillip Karugaba

"He is readily available and very knowledgeable of law and local context."

Rachel Musoke

"Rachel is knowledgeable about the labour laws in the country and she has been able to support us through all the cases we put through to them."

"She is outstanding. She is a lawyer that can make things happen and is always technically on top of all issues."

"She is very good. She is responsive and helpful."

Katende Ssempebwa & Co

Katende Ssempebwa & Co is a local firm active in the financial and corporate and project development areas. The firm is a member of the LexAfrica network.

In banking during the research period the firm advised borrowers on loans and lenders on corporate financings. 

The M&A team worked for acquirers on an acquisition of a stake in an energy company and on an acquisition in the insurance sector.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Britam Insurance Company Uganda acquisition of the AIG Tower

•Jumo $52 million financing 

•Mitsui & Co acquisition of stake in M-Kopa

KTA Advocates

KTA Advocates is a firm known for its banking and finance work.

In banking during the research period the firm advised banks and corporates on regulatory issues.

In M&A the firm worked for an acquirer on a deal in the education sector.

Client feedback

"The firm is extremely responsive and quick to deliver. It has an excellent output in terms of technical assessment, strategic understanding of the fintech ecosystem, and a great network and connections."- Financial services regulatory

"The firm is quick, friendly, always available, flexible and efficient. The members are intelligent and updated. As far as weaknesses are concerned, I didn't see any as of now." - Project development

Kenneth Muhangi      

"He has outstanding knowledge of our industry and fintech. He is very responsive and has an impressive time to deliver. He also has an extensive network."

"He is friendly, flexible, intelligent and quick."

MMAKS Advocates

MMAKS Advocates is a leading Ugandan firm active in both the financial and corporate and project development space. The firm is a member of the Africa Legal Network. 

In banking during the research period the firm acted as counsel to borrowers and lenders on debt restructurings, financings and syndicated loans deals.

The M&A team worked for acquirers on deals in the real estate, energy and financial services sectors.

In project development work the firm worked for sponsors and project companies on the construction and development of oil and gas and power projects.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Grain Bulk Handlers $114 million financing

•SN Power Invest Netherlands $279 million acquisition of 49.75% stake in Bujagali Energy

•Uganda $4 billion oil refinery development

 

Client feedback

"The firm has high quality, is decisive and gives practical advice." - M&A

"The firm is very knowledgeable and has a quick turnaround time of deadlines and legal advice." - M&A

"The firm is very strong on real estate and commercial laws." - M&A

"The firm was well represented by Fiona Magona and her team. They displayed a good understanding of the deal and its legal requirements. They were professional." - M&A

"MMAKS provided timely and sound advice throughout the process. We were broadly satisfied. MMAKS response time could have been a bit better but that is a minor criticism. Overall we were pleased with their performance and knowledge." - Project finance

Fiona Magona

"She is receptive to clients' requirements. She is pragmatic, provided solutions and was professional."

Godwin Kakande

"He is a rising star. He is very pragmatic."

"He is good and has clear communication skills. His response time is very good. He works with the client to find legal solutions, but he could improve in being more solution driven. He is very knowledgeable in in-country law."

Timothy Masembe

"He is available 24-7. He always thinks out of the box and gives practical solutions."

Mukumbya Musoke Advocates

Mukumbya Musoke Advocates primarily focuses on banking and finance, M&A and project development work.

In banking work recently the firm advised lenders on project financings, refinancing, corporate financings and debt restructuring deals. 

In capital markets work it acted as counsel to an issuer on an IPO in the pharmaceutical sector.

In project development work the firm advised sponsors and developers on energy projects.

The firm represented a sole secured creditor on an insolvency in the telecommunications industry. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•CiplaQCiL IPO

•The International Specialised Hospital of Uganda $379 million financing

•Vodafone Uganda insolvency

Client feedback

"The firm had a good grasp of the law in dealing with the legal issues arising from the deal." - Banking

"Overall the level of service of the firm is extremely satisfactory. The advice given is always contextual and well-articulated including explanation of complex local law issues to commercial lenders. They are also always prompt in their response." - Project finance

"The firm gives excellent quality of advice, is very prompt and is tailored to lenders' needs." - Project finance

Julius Musoke

"He is excellent, very professional, competent and prompt. He is also accessible, reachable at all times and provides very pragmatic solutions."

"Julius is quite resourceful and has a good understanding of the Ugandan market."

Shonubi Musoke & Co

Shonubi Musoke & Co is a top tier firm in the financial and corporate and project development areas. The firm has a strategic alliance with Norton Rose Fulbright.

In banking during the research period the firm worked for borrowers on corporate financings and lenders on a dual currency facility, a sovereign guaranteed line, loans, and refinancing and project financing deals. 

In M&A the firm acted as counsel to a seller in the financial services sector.

In project development the firm advised sponsors and project companies on the implementation, development and operation of energy projects.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•BMCE Bank Morocco acquisition of a stake in Bank of Africa Uganda

•Eaton Towers $115 million financing

•Uganda Development Bank $15 million sovereign credit facility

 

Client feedback

"Good." – Banking

"The firm is brilliant." - Capital markets: Equity

"The firm is professional and responsive." - Financial services regulatory

"The firm has a very strong energy team, with a broad network within the Ugandan energy sector." - Financial services regulatory

"They did a good job overall." - M&A

Andrew Kibaya

"He is very thorough."

Charles Owori and Innocent Kihika 

"They are both good and responsive. They have a good knowledge of the field."

Henry Owen

"Strengths: he has a good understanding of local laws. Weakness: he does not execute at speed."

Noah Mwesigwa

"Brilliant."

"She is very knowledgeable and has good client management skills. Sometimes, she was a bit below par, could improve on that."