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Wilbert Kapinga is the managing partner of our Tanzania office.
He has over 20 years’ experience advising domestic and international financial institutions and corporations on corporate, regulatory and transactional matters. Wilbert has advised on numerous project finance, public private partnership (PPP) and infrastructure development transactions including roads, railways, sea travel and airports. Wilbert has also advised numerous multinational mining companies and oil and gas exploration companies with operations in Tanzania in the natural resource space including local content requirements. Prior to entering private practice, Wilbert was a Senior Lecturer and Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Dar es Salaam where he was a member of the teaching and research staff for seventeen years.
Wilbert is a member of the Tanganyika Law Society, Law Association of Tanzania, East Africa Law Society, International Third World Legal Studies Association and African Society of International and Comparative Law.
Wilbert who is a full member of the Tanzania Institute of Arbitrators and an Accredited Mediator, Negotiator and Arbitrator in Tanzania. He has acted an arbitrator in several domestic disputes and as an advocate in numerous domestic and international arbitration disputes, the latter involving ICSID, ICC and UNICTRAL rules of procedure and appeared as expert witness on Tanzania law on an international arbitration challenge before the Swedish Court of Appeal. He is a contributor in many Global Arbitration Review publications and co-author on chapter on enforcement of foreign arbitral awards and similar articles in publications of Getting the Deal Done
He is ranked Tier 1 in General Business Law by Chambers & Partners which cites him as being “highly praised by market commentators for his breadth of experience and strength in the market.” His expertise is affirmed also by Legal 500 and IFLR1000 who list him as a leading corporate lawyer in Tanzania.
He has a Masters degrees in Law from both the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Columbia University in New York, USA, as well as a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Northeastern University in Boston, USA.
- Representing the government of Tanzania in a bilateral invest treaty disputes in connection with the alleged expropriation of UK’s Biwater Gauff’s investment in a water and sewerage infrastructure project in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
- Representing Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) in a construction dispute with SIETCO over construction of the Kihansi Hydo Electric Power Station.
- Representing Sithe Global Inc. of the USA in the construction project of Ruhudji Hydroelectric power plant.
- Carrying out a due diligence on the regulatory framework for the pipeline project which from Uganda through a Tanzanian port on the Indian Ocean.
- Assisting eleQra on the Tanzania law aspects on Lake Victoria Marine Transport Project in Tanzania.
- Assisting Pricewaterhouse Coopers on the legal and regulatory framework of Tanzania Zambia Railways Authority (TAZARA) as part of the TAZARA private sector partnership study.
- Assisting was the sponsors of the Salama Waterfront Development project regarding the Tanzania law aspects of project financing, land acquisition, licensing and environmental regulation for the project.
- Assisting the Government of Tanzania on all legal aspects of the private finance initiative of an infrastructure project related to the Southern (Mtwara) Development Corridor.
- Assisting the World Bank and Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority on contractual and regulatory issues in relation to the Dar es Salaam Water Supply and Sanitation project.
- Assisting PRODECO Ltd on all legal aspects of the construction of a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) of the road and infrastructure project related to the Central Corridor (Road) Project in respect of the Dar es Salaam through Dodoma to Itigi Roadway in Tanzania.
Wilbert’s experience within the mining sector includes:
- Advising Sichuan Hongda (Group) Co. Ltd. (China) on the Mchuchuma Coal Mine and Liganga Iron Ore Corporation.
- Advising The State Mining Corporation (STAMICO) on uranium mining in Tanzania.
- Drafting of the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) No.2 Act, 2003 in Tanzania which amended the applicable Mining Act, No. 5 of 1998.
- Conducting a Legal audit investigations for international mining companies, including Atomic Minerals Limited, Oryx Mining and Exploration Limited and Uranex NL, on the mining tenements held by potential local target companies as well as legal advice in relation with all aspects of such acquisitions.
- Providing legal advice to the National Development Corporation of Tanzania (NDC) in relation to all legal aspects of a joint venture project (together with Siemens South Africa) for the development of small scale mining throughout Tanzania. The project involved small scale miners (claim holders) on one part and NDC and Siemens as project sponsors on the other part. The purpose of the project was to develop gold tailings mining in various regions of Tanzania. The objective of the project was to supply and maintain processing equipment in the small scale mining sector of Tanzania. The joint venture was charged with the responsibility of installing and maintaining gold ore processing plants, which enables the small scale miners to be more productive.
- Assisting the Government of the Central African Republic on the renegotiation of an uranium mining contract.
- Conducting a mining due diligence and providing a title opinion to Guardian Group International on a number of mining licenses that were acquired by the company.
- Assisting and advising the Guardian Group with the acquisition of mining rights in Tanzania.
- Assisting WMC Resources Exploration Limited with the application and relinquishment of prospecting licenses and applying for an airborne survey permit for the purpose of conducting geophysical surveys over the mining tenements.
- Advising Dodsal Group on mining laws in Tanzania, particularly laws governing the prospecting and mining of gemstones and gold, and on a memorandum of understanding for the assignment of licenses held by Tanzanian citizens. Incorporating three mining companies on behalf of the client.
Wilbert has extensive experience advising on project finance, public private partnership (PPP) and infrastructure development transactions in various industry sectors including energy, industrials, oil and gas and telecommunications. A selection of these transactions includes advising:
- The Governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi (Communaute Economique des Pays des Grands Lacs Energie des Grands Lacs (CEGL)), together with Hunton and Williams LLP, in connection with the selection of private sector developers for the development of the Ruzzizi III, a 145MW hydro power project as part of the Independent Power Producer projects.
- The International Finance Corporation (IFC), together with Castalia Strategic Advisors, in connection with the identification of viable PPP projects, leading to a comprehensive report on PPP Project Identification and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, East African Region.
- The Government of Tanzania on the legal and regulatory framework reform to support PPPs in Tanzania, which led to the enactment of the Public Private Partnership Act, 2010, and its Regulations.
- PriceWaterhouse Coopers on the legal and regulatory framework of Tanzania Zambia Railways Authority (TAZARA) as part of the TAZARA private sector partnership study.
- The sponsors of the Salama Waterfront Development project regarding the Tanzania law aspects of project financing, land acquisition, licensing and environmental regulation for the project.
- The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania on all legal aspects of the private finance initiative of an infrastructure project related to the Southern (Mtwara) Development Corridor.
- The World Bank and Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority on contractual and regulatory issues in relation to the Dar es Salaam Water Supply and Sanitation project.
- PRODECO Ltd on all legal aspects of the construction of a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) of the road and infrastructure project related to the Central Corridor (Road) Project and Southern (Mtwara) Development Corridors in respect of the Dar es Salaam, through Dodoma to Itigi roadway in Tanzania.
- The National Development Corporation (NDC) on the financing and development of the Southern Corridor Development Project through a private finance initiative and a Public/ Private Partnership (PFI) scheme.
Wilbert also has significant dispute resolution experience, including advising:
- Several clients in anti-trust litigation before the Fair Competition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal in Tanzania.
- The Government of Tanzania (GoT), together with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, in a bilateral investment treaty arbitration initiated by Biwater Gauff (Tanzania) Ltd (BGT) against the GoT regarding alleged expropriation of BGT’s investment in a water and sewerage infrastructure project of its subsidiary, City Water Services Ltd.
- TANESCO, together with Hunton and Williams LLP, in a case initiated by Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) against the Government of Tanzania, in the Southern District of New York, for enforcement of a Government Guarantee for TANESCO’s performance of its obligations in a power purchase agreement with IPTL.
- The Government of Tanzania, together with Hunton and Williams LLP, on contractual regulatory and strategic matters relating to an Independent Power Project, including representing TANESCO in international arbitration proceedings regarding a high profile dispute pertaining to a 100MW power purchase agreement at the International Centre for Settlement of International Disputes (ICSID) in London.
Wilbert’s M&A expertise includes advising:
- The Abraaj Group (Abraaj Investment Management Limited, Cayman Islands) in relation to conducting a legal due diligence on the Tanzanian subsidiary company (Doya Distribution Ltd) of Abraaj and issued a legal opinion on the status of the local company. This was ahead of a proposed investment which involved creating a special purpose vehicle to acquire 49.99% of Agathon Holdings (also referred to as Pearl Group of Companies) and entering into a shareholders’ agreement with Trendview Holdings in order to regulate their respective rights and obligations as shareholders in Agathon Holdings/Pearl.
- Minet (Mauritius) Holdings Ltd in relation to a transaction which involves the acquisition of shares in AON Tanzania, one of the biggest insurance brokers in the country. The transaction involves structuring for the recent amendments to local content requirements for brokers in Tanzania.
- Zhonghong Holding Co. Ltd in relation to the Tanzanian aspects of its acquisition of 90.5% of the issued shares of Abercrombie & Kent Group of Companies SA. (Estimated deal value: USD 412 million).
- Kansai Plascon Africa, a subsidiary of Kansai Paint Co., Ltd (Kansai), in a transaction where Kansai Plascon Africa sought to, and successfully acquired the entire issued share capital of Sadolin’s East African coating business, making it one of the largest transactions in East Africa. We made competition filings in Kenya, Tanzania and COMESA.
- As Tanzanian counsel to Carlyle Group in relation to its acquisition of a majority interest in AK Life Sciences, a manufacturer and seller of parenteral drugs and a distributor of pharmaceutical products, from Kiboko Holdings.
- As Tanzanian counsel to Capitalworks on its acquisition of the Tanzanian insurance broking business of AON plc.
- CDC Group Plc on instructions from Clifford Chance, in relation to the USD 180 million equity investment in Liquid Telecom, which will enable Liquid Telecom to expand broadband connectivity to some of the most underserved markets across Africa and support the continent’s thriving tech start-up ecosystem. This is the CDC’s first direct investment in an African telecoms company in over twenty years, and its largest single investment since it acquired the pan-African power company, Globeleq in early 2015.
- Rio Tinto Mining & Exploration Limited in relation to a proposed transaction with Strandline Resources Limited and its subsidiaries, Active Resources (T) Limited and Tanzanian Graphite (T) Limited.
- Onomo Hotels on potential acquisition of Holiday Inn Hotel.
Wilbert’s banking and finance expertise, includes advising:
- UBL Bank Tanzania Ltd on the establishment of a banking business in Tanzania, including all licensing requirements and ongoing compliance and regulatory advice.
- Diamond Trust Bank on the establishment of a banking business in Tanzania and all ongoing compliance and regulatory requirements.
- Bank M on the establishment of a banking business in Tanzania and all ongoing compliance and regulatory requirements.
- Equity Bank of Kenya and United Bank of Pakistan in the establishment of their banking business in Tanzania.
- Citibank Tanzania Ltd on all security documents in its custody, including the status of facility letters, loan term agreements, mortgages and debentures in accordance with the laws of Tanzania.
- Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic Bank as well as domestic banks Eurafrican Bank and Exim Bank in conducting searches at registries such as the Companies Registry, Land Registry and the Registry of Documents and preparing security documents (including debenture, mortgages, guarantees and pledges) and in the registration of these security documents with the respective registries.
- Government of the United Republic of Tanzania through the Presidential Parastatal Sector Reform Commission (PSRC) in providing legal advisory services to the Bank of Tanzania and the PSRC on the re-organisation and restructuring of the National Bank of Commerce.
- The World Bank and the Bank of Tanzania with the implementation of Islamic banking laws and rules in the United Republic of Tanzania.
- HiTS Burundi on the legality of a proposed AED 510 million (approximately USD 140 million) Sukuk issued by the International Investment House Co. LLC.
- Chambers and Partners consistently ranked Wilbert in Band 1 for General Business Law for the past four consecutive years (2018 to 2021) as well as for Dispute Resolution for the past five years, most recently in Band 1 in 2021 and prior to that in Band 2 for three years (2018 to 2020) and in 2017, in Band 3.
- IFLR1000’s Financial and Corporate Guide rated Wilbert as a Highly Regarded Lawyer for Capital Markets, Energy and infrastructure, Project development, Banking, Project Finance and M&A for four consecutive years (2018 to 2021).
- Legal 500 recognised Wilbert as a Leading Individual for Leading Firms in Tanzania in 2021.
- For more than a decade, Wilbert has consistently been ranked in Band 1 by international law directories such as IFLR 1000 and Chambers Global and has been described as the leading corporate lawyer in Tanzania. His work is also recognised by the International Who’s Who of Project Finance (2010 and 2011) and the International Who’s Who of Banking (2012).
“’Wilbert Kapinga is a hugely well-respected lawyer who draws plaudits from market commentators for his “excellent track record.” He is readily instructed for his counsel on high-value corporate and financing transactions, with further regard for his work on projects and disputes.” – Chambers and Partners, 2021
Great lawyer” Wilbert Kapinga is recognised by market commentators as a leading light in corporate and commercial work, as well as being sought after for his immense experience in both litigation and arbitration. Recent notable work has seen him lead on large M&A transactions, in addition to representing corporate clients in high-profile tax disputes. – Chambers and Partners, 2020
“…very good, responsive and knowledgeable.” – IFLR1000, 2020
“Great lawyer” Wilbert Kapinga is recognised by market commentators as a leading light in corporate and commercial work, as well as being sought after for his immense experience in both litigation and arbitration. Recent notable work has seen him lead on large M&A transactions, in addition to representing corporate clients in high-profile tax disputes. – Chambers and Partners 2020
“Battle-hardened” Wilbert Kapinga is an established market leader and admired by commentators for his years “gaining experience in the trenches.” He is held in high esteem, with another source highlighting his “hard-working and professional” manner and referring to him as “someone I respect.” He is active in both litigation and commercial transactions, with further notable expertise in competition and lending. – Chambers and Partners 2019
Dar es Salaam managing partner Wilbert Kapinga left Mkono & Co Advocates to form the Bowmans Tanzania office. He is active on corporate, finance and competition law, as well as demonstrating substantial experience in regulatory matters and litigation. Sources rate his transactional practice highly, saying: “He is definitely a Band 1 lawyer – he’s excellent.” They go on to describe him as also “seriously heavyweight in litigation.“– Chambers and Partners 2018
“Top lawyer” Wilbert Kapinga recently left Mkono & Co Advocates to form the new Bowmans Tanzania office. He is highlighted by market commentators as a “meticulous, ardent lawyer and an all-rounder.” Sources go on to say: “He works with an extremely high level of diligence.” He assists clients with both commercial transactions and international arbitrations, and is respected for his established presence in the market. – Chambers and Partners 2017
“First class lawyer, Wilbert Kapinga is like the father of Tanzanian law.” – Chambers Global
Publications & Insights
- East Africa: Restructuring Quarterly Bulletin June 2022
- Africa: M&A in Key Jurisdictions – Bowmans report on current trends published
- East Africa: Restructuring Quarterly Bulletin November 2021
- The International Comparative Legal Guide: Foreign Direct Investment Regimes 2022 – Third Edition: East and Southern African Chapter
- Tanzania: Requirement for Mainland companies with operations in Zanzibar to incorporate subsidiaries in Zanzibar
- East Africa: Business is Looking up Amidst COVID 19
- Tanzania: Finance Act 2021- Highlights
- Tanzania: Companies Act amendment
- Unpacking Tanzania’s new Arbitration Act and Regulations
- Microfinance regulations update
- Tanzanian Government gives amnesty for penalties and interest on overdue taxes