Practice

Africa

Foley Hoag is fully engaged in Africa

We have a large and longstanding practice of representing African States and State-owned entities in international disputes. We have served as counsel to more than 20 States on the Continent over the past two decades. 

From energy and human rights to territorial disputes and environmental law, our work in Africa is wide ranging. Although our principal focus is the representation of sovereign States and State-entities, we also represent private clients in litigation or arbitration of commercial disputes involving business in Africa.

Areas of Focus

Our extensive experience in Africa, includes:
  • Maritime and land boundaries
  • International investment law
  • Natural resources and extractive industries
  • Human rights
  • Environmental law
  • Sovereign and diplomatic immunities
  • Anti-corruption and asset recovery

Experience

Our attorneys have represented African States before international courts and tribunals, the most significant being:
  • The Gambia v. Myanmar: We represent The Gambia before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a lawsuit to hold Myanmar accountable for genocide against the Rohingya people. The Court has issued a Provisional Measures Order and a Preliminary Objections Order in The Gambia’s favor. 
  • We represent a West African State against two international oil and gas companies challenging regulatory conduct for more than $7 billion dollars. 
  • Ghana v. Cote d’Ivoire: We successfully represented Ghana before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), which adopted a maritime boundary entirely favorable to Ghana. 
  • Legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965: We successfully represented Mauritius in advisory proceedings before the ICJ, in which The Court ruled the United Kingdom’s colonial administration is a continuing breach of international law.
  • Gosling v. Mauritius: We successfully represented Mauritius in an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) arbitration against U.K. investors concerning real estate developments on a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Switzerland v. Nigeria: We successfully represented Nigeria in proceedings against Switzerland before ITLOS concerning Nigeria’s detention of a Swiss oil tanker, securing a victory for Nigeria against Switzerland’s attempt to obtain provisional measures and amicably settling the dispute on behalf of Nigeria.
  • Somalia v. Kenya: We successfully represented Somalia before the ICJ in a case concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean.


Our team’s experience extends to National Courts:

  • We successfully represented Nigeria and nine other Nigerian State entities and officials, in a case seeking to enforce a judgment issued in Nigerian courts and to recover $657 million before the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, securing a dismissal of the case.
  • We successfully represented Angola and its government officials in a lawsuit brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York alleging libel and other torts, securing a judgment in Angola’s favor. 
  • We successfully represented Kenya before the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit concerning the government’s alleged role in a breach of contract, securing judgments in Kenya’s favor. 
  • We successfully represented Tanzania and various of its ministries before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against efforts to enforce multi-million dollar foreign arbitration awards and court judgments, seeking judgments in Tanzania’s favor.


Our most relevant experience representing clients in litigation or arbitration of commercial cases involving business in Africa includes:

  • Representing a Nigerian insurance company in an ICC arbitration against a Belgian engineering and construction company concerning alleged construction defects under a contract for the construction of a hotel in East Africa.
  • Representing a Chadian subsidiary of a major American oil group in an ICC arbitration concerning the construction of Chad’s onshore oil infrastructure.
  • Representing a West African subsidiary of an international oil operator in an ICC arbitration concerning the operator’s license.
  • Representing a French offshore construction company in an ICC arbitration concerning alleged defects in design and construction as part of a project to design, supply, build and install four drilling and gas extraction platforms in Nigeria.
  • Representing a major agricultural investor in Madagascar against a trader in North American spice and flavor extracts in an arbitration concerning the breach of a vanilla contract.
  • Representing a French hotel chain in an arbitration concerning a dispute governed by Ghanaian law concerning the non-payment of amounts owed under a management contract.