The Africa-focused international law firm, Asafo & Co continues to strengthen its projects practice with the recent addition of two new partners to its London office.
Andrew Thomas and Winston Bell-Gam join the firm whose very rapid expansion over just two years since it was formed is a clear indication of the hitherto poorly met demand for the services it specialises in.
Before Asafo & Co was formed, there was not a single international law firm fully dedicated to Africa-related matters with extensive teams on the ground in the continent, the law firm replied when asked what motivated its creation.
The firm specialises in the legal and finance aspects of all forms of large project development/PPP and project finance mandates, including power (conventional and renewable), oil and gas (mid and downstream), transportation (aviation, road and rail), extraction (mining and oil & gas) and social provision (healthcare, education and hospitality).
Other main practice areas of the firm include M&A and private equity, banking and finance, litigation and international arbitration, public and governmental affairs, international trade and AfCFTA, capital markets and sovereign borrowing, fintech and venture capital/startups.
The firm, with nearly 200 legal professionals, works as a single integrated firm across eight offices located in countries across Africa, as well as in Europe and the US. The firm’s origins go back to a core team of lawyers in Paris, France and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire who worked together for several years before founding Asafo &Co.
The expansion to other countries – Morocco, South Africa, Kenya, the UK and US – has been led by teams recruited from large US or UK firms and with whom the core founders had already established solid working relations.
Earlier this year, a specialist projects team led by Cendrine Delivré was added to the Paris office and in April, projects partner Jude Kearney led the addition of a Washington DC office.
With 30 years’ experience, Andrew Thomas began his career at Linklaters and later went on to head the UK practices of different US law firms in London, including Chadbourne and Parke, Akin Gump and Gibson Dunn.
He later founded the Africa-focused practice at Fasken Martineau and headed the banking practice at Hunton & Williams before becoming the head of project finance at Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW).
Andrew Thomas’ practice lays particular emphasis on the power, pipeline, infrastructure, healthcare and transportation sectors. He has extensive experience advising developers, financial and developmental finance institutions, corporate boards and governments in relation to high value infrastructure projects.
Winston Bell-Gam has over 15 years’ experience, including working at White & Case, Ashurst, Winston & Strawn, as well as in-house at the East African Development Bank.
His practice focuses on the acquisition, financing, and project development of projects in power, infrastructure, healthcare, transportation and insurance sectors in Africa.
The additions of Andrew Thomas and Winston Bell-Gam brings Asafo’s total partner head-count to 50.