October 21, 2014 – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is pleased to announce the opening of an affiliated office in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The office, which is operating under the name Orrick RCI, will provide on the ground support for the firm’s market-leading practice assisting African and international clients in connection with investments in Western and Central Africa.
“Orrick has very longstanding and deep ties to Central and Western Africa. We see our presence as a small part of the overall momentum in Africa today,” said Mitch Zuklie, Chairman and CEO of Orrick. “We are grateful for the support of the Abidjan authorities and are deeply committed to working with the local community at this very important time in Abidjan’s development.”
Pascal Agboyibor, head of Orrick’s Africa Practice, added, “We are absolutely delighted to participate in the Abidjan community and to collaborate with our colleagues there. This is a critical time for the people of Africa – they face many challenges but also have an unmatched spirit. We are truly honored to join the community.” Earlier this month, Mr. Agboyibor was named to Financial Times’ list of the “10 Most Innovative Lawyers in Europe,” in recognition of his ongoing representation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in connection with the development of Grand Inga, which will be the world’s largest hydroelectric project.
Orrick RCI will be staffed full time by senior, locally-qualified legal counsel Karamoko Fadiga and Sydney Domoraud-Operi. They will work closely with members of the firm’s 50-lawyer Africa team based in Paris, London, New York, Washington, DC, Silicon Valley and China. The firm has recently added two project finance partners to the team: Cameroon native Jean-Jacques Essombè, who joined from Heenan Blaikie in Paris this month, and Colin Graham who joined from Hogan Lovells in London in September.
Orrick is among the leading legal advisors to the energy, infrastructure, natural resources, telecoms and transport sectors in Central and Western Africa. Chambers Global recognizes the firm as a leader in Africa in three areas: Projects & Energy, Corporate/Commercial and Dispute Resolution, and notes that clients praise the Orrick team for its “skill at overcoming both the political and technical difficulties of project work in Africa.” The firm is representing clients in virtually every major infrastructure project underway in the region today, and in a wide range of financing, M&A, regulatory and dispute resolution matters. Clients include: African Development Bank, General Electric, OPIC, Actis Capital, Millicom, Republic of Guinea and Enel Green Power, as well as several leading Chinese investors in the region. To date, Orrick has advised on project development and financing and M&A transactions in 32 African countries for a wide range of market participants from around the world.
The Orrick RCI Team
Karamoko Fadiga is a highly-respected Ivorian lawyer with 11 years of experience in West Africa. Prior to joining Orrick RCI, Karamoko was Director of a key West African regional financial regulatory agency (Conseil Régional de l’Epargne Publique et des Marchés Financiers), where he was responsible for regulation and monitoring of all the major players in the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), including the regional stock exchange, the central depository bank, brokerage firms, funds and ratings agencies. Formerly, he was an associate with FDKA, a well-respected Abidjan law firm, where he focused on securities, corporate governance and OHADA law.
Sydney Domoraud-Operi practiced with Orrick for the past five years, most recently as of counsel in the firm’s Energy & Infrastructure Group in Paris. He has led major transactions in both French-speaking (primarily OHADA zone) and English-speaking countries in Africa and currently focuses on advising lenders, multilateral agencies, sponsors, governments and state-owned companies in a wide range of project finance and mining transactions involving the African continent.