Bennani & Associates moves with Kinshasa office launch
The opening of a fifth office represents the next step in the firm's strategy to expand Francophone Africa network
Bennani & Associates, an African law firm with offices across the continent's Francophone countries, has opened an office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Arnaud M. Tshibangu, who previously worked for Belgian firm DALDEWOLF in Kinshasa, has been hired to open in the capital of the DRC. Two associates, recruited from other firms, will join him.
Tshibangu, the attorney at his former firm joins Bennani & Associates' as its sixth equity partner. In addition to gas, forestry, mining and energy, the corporate lawyer advises foreign investors across a variety of sectors.
Central Africa is the firm's first base in the region, marking the latest stage of its expansion throughout Francophone Africa. Algiers and Tunis are its North African offices along with its Moroccan base. It began operating in West Africa three years ago when it set up shop in Abidjan.
Mehdi M. Bennani, a co-founder of Bennani & Associates, said that the DAC is an obvious choice for a base in Central Africa, given its economic prospects, political climate and natural resources.
"In Africa, there is a huge difference in the kinds of law firms that are available between the south and east on the one hand and the north and west on the other. You won't find such quality and maturity in the north and west, where there are many firms that have been around for a long time," he mentioned.
"It was our intention to be the first player to establish a strong presence in Francophone Africa with a team of lawyers who understand the local markets, but also provide quality work, responsiveness, ethical standards and a business-practical approach to solving problems comparable with any respectable international jurisdiction," he further stated.
Legal 500 directory include some of Bennani & Associates' clients as Volkswagen Group, Adidas, Akzo Nobel, Carlyle and Etisalat. They also work with a range of international law firms like Slaughter & May and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
According to Bennani, Kinshasa will grow in time, with mature offices in most African countries having 10 to 30 lawyers, depending on the size of the jurisdiction. He added that the firm is looking for new business opportunities but is not in a rush to expand.
We consult our best friends' law firms when we study the markets carefully," he said. "The market knows that we are very strategic in our expansion."
Four African firms in June 2021, imitated Bennani & Associates' strategy by merging to create ADNA, which has offices in Algeria, Morocco, Guinea and Ivory Coast.
A cooperation agreement between Bowmans and France's Gide Loyrette Nouel was signed in October 2021 with the aim of enhancing both companies' reach throughout Africa. Gide has three North African offices in Algiers, Casablanca and Tunis.