28 Nov 2022

DLA Piper underlines Africa ambition with projects partner hire from Watson Farley & Williams

Former Clifford Chance Africa group director moves on after three-and-a-half years at Watson Farley

Panoramic view of Katse Dam wall in Lesotho, Southern Africa. Lesotho Highlands Water Project of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa.

Katse Dam in Lesotho, Southern Africa Dendenal; Shutterstock

DLA Piper has bolstered its Africa offering with the hire of an international projects partner in London from UK rival Watson Farley & Williams. 

Titus Edjua brings a strong track record in advising on Africa-related transactions in both civil and common law jurisdictions to his new firm, which he has joined after three-and-a-half years as a partner at Watson Farley. 

His practice spans all aspects of project development and finance, including advising on conventional and renewable power, mining, gas, infrastructure, brownfield and greenfield projects, as well as general financing and commercial transactions. He also brings expertise in policy, regulatory and governance advice. 

Before joining Watson Farley, Edjua spent more than a decade at Clifford Chance, where he served as director of the firm’s Africa group and worked on matters including advising Fox Networks Group on a landmark media rights deal in African football. At Watson Farley he led a cross-border team that advised the African Export-Import Bank and BGFIBank Group as lenders on the project financing for the development of a special economic zone in the Republic of Benin in West Africa.

Edjua’s hire comes just a few weeks after the firm secured Africa-focused projects partner Karim Maalioun from Canadian firm Fasken in London. And in April, partner Iain Elder joined from Shearman & Sterling.

The firm said the trio added considerably to its Africa and emerging markets energy, natural resources and infrastructure projects offering. 

“Titus’ appointment is part of a strategy to provide our clients with diverse teams capable of addressing the increasingly global needs of our projects clients both in Africa and internationally,” said Colin Wilson, partner and head of international projects at DLA Piper. “His experience across the Anglophone, Arabophone and Francophone markets bolsters our international team’s African capability and, together with the addition of Karim Maalioun and Iain Elder to our existing team of specialists, ensures we are well placed to help our clients navigate this incredibly exciting time in the region”. 

DLA Piper has two offices in Africa - in Johannesburg and Casablanca - and a presence in a further 18 countries through the Swiss verein DLA Piper Africa, which is comprised of independent law firms.

“The recent investments that DLA Piper has made in growing its international projects team, alongside its 20 Africa offices, make for an exciting time to be joining the team,” said Edjua. “As lawyers I believe we have an opportunity to contribute to the future growth and development of Africa’s energy and natural resources sector, particularly as it strives to transition to a more sustainable future, and I look forward to working with my colleagues and clients to realise this ambition.”

DLA Piper is ranked band 4 by legal rankings guide Chambers for its Africa-wide energy and projects offering, which includes lender and sponsor-side work on sizable projects as well as asset transactions, M&A and disputes in the energy sector. Noted for its abilities in the renewables sector, including on solar, hydropower, biomass and geothermal projects, a work highlight includes advising the African Development Bank and the US International Development Finance Corporation as co-lenders in the $92m financing of a wind farm in Kenya.

A Watson Farley spokesperson said: “We wish Titus all the best in his future career. WFW remains committed to expanding our African practice in our core sectors of energy and infrastructure led by partners Alhassane Barry and Julian Nichol.”

In other Africa-focused legal news, Baker McKenzie unveiled a new leadership team in Johannesburg earlier this year after implementing a ‘three-step plan’ to address management issues in the office.

And last December Hogan Lovells underscored its commitment to building its presence on the continent with a leadership shakeup that saw energy partner duo Olivier Fille-Lambie and Arun Velusami take over as co-leaders of its global Africa practice. The move came just a few weeks after the firm made its first partner level hire in Johannesburg – its sole physical presence in the region – since 2019.
 

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