Asafo & Co hires project finance partner duo from HFW in London

New recruits include HFW's former project finance head Andrew Thomas

Africa-focused French firm Asafo & Co has hired a pair of project finance lawyers from HFW in London as it continues to grow its international business.

Andrew Thomas and Winston Bell-Gam join as partners, bringing with them vast experience across the project development space. Thomas’s focus on project finance spans the power, pipeline, infrastructure, healthcare and transportation sectors, advising developers, financial institutions, corporations and governments on a range of infrastructure projects. Bell-Gam’s practice focuses on project acquisition, financing and development.

Thomas spent just under three years at HFW as head of project finance, part of a three-decade career that started at Linklaters and later progressed to heading the UK practices of US firms including Chadbourne and Parke, Akin Gump and Gibson Dunn. He was also founder of Fasken Martineau’s Africa-focused practice and prior to joining HFW headed up the banking practice at Hunton & Williams. 

Bell-Gam, meantime, has also had a varied career, joining HFW in 2018 from Shakespeare Martineau. He also previously worked at Winston & Strawn, Ashurst and White & Case, as well as having a spell in-house as head of legal at the East African Development Bank.

The duo’s arrival takes Asafo’s partner headcount to 50, adding to recent additions including Cendrine Delivré in Paris and the opening of the firm’s Washington DC office in April led by projects partner Jude Kearney and transactions lawyer Ricardo Bernard. The firm now has eight offices globally, five of which are located in Africa.

Speaking at the time of the Washington launch, Asafo’s managing partner Pascal Agboyibor, said: “Jude and Ricardo both have a very deep understanding of Africa and the key public and private stakeholders involved in Africa-related business. Our pooled strengths in the key sectors and practice areas that drive progress in Africa and our shared commitment to African industrialisation will further strengthen our ability to continue contributing to shaping the continent’s future.”

Earlier this month, a quartet of boutique African firms from Algeria, Morocco, Guinea and the Ivory Coast merged to create a regional business focused on Francophone countries. The new firm – ADNA – was formed by Bourabiat Associés, BFR & Associés, SD Avocats and EMIRE Partners. 

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