Joyce Karanja

Joyce Karanja

Head of Competition | Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya: Coulson Harney LLP
T: +254 20 289 9000
  • Overview
  • Experience
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Joyce Karanja heads our Competition practice in Nairobi.

She started her career specialising in company, corporate and commercial work. She has extensive due diligence expertise as well as experience in mergers and acquisitions, corporate re-organisations, privatisations, banking and finance law, securities, competition law, real estate/ property development, conveyancing and project management.  More recently, Joyce’s primary focus is in mergers and acquisitions and competition law.

Joyce has been involved in a number of stakeholder discussion fora with COMESA in relation to the Guidelines in respect of the application of Articles 16, 18 & 20 of the COMESA Competition Regulations.

She has an LLB Hons from the University of Luton (now the University of Bedfordshire), UK, an LLM from the University of London (Queen Mary), UK, completed a legal practice course from the College of Law, UK and a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law.

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

Some of the recent matters advised on include:

  • Globeleq Geothermal (Kenya) Limited – The proposed acquisition of control of QPEA GT Menengai Limited by Globeleq Geothermal (Kenya) Limited;
  • Increase in shareholding in Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited by Aldwych Turkana Investments.
  • Advising Tullow on competition work (either comfort letters or exclusion applications to CAK) for Block 9, 12 A and 12B.
  • P. Møller-Maersk A/S sale of its oil and gas division Maersk Oil to Total S.A.. Maersk Oil (holding its shares through Maersk Oil Exploration International Ltd ) controlled Maersk Oil Exploration International K1 Ltd (K1) which holds a 25% participating interest in the Production Sharing Contract for Block 10BA, Maersk Oil Exploration International K2 Ltd (K2) which holds a 25% participating interest in the Production Sharing Contract for Block 10BB and Maersk Oil Exploration International K3 Ltd (K3) which holds a 25% participating interest in the Production Sharing Contract for Block 13T.
  • Competition law counsel to Britam Holdings Plc., the target, in relation to subscription by investor Africinvest III – SPV 1 of a 14.3% equity stake in Britam Holdings Plc.
  • Competition law counsel to ARM Cement PLC in relation to its disposal of 100% of the issued share capital of Mavuno Cement Limited to Omya (Schweiz) AG and Pinner Heights Limited, Swiss and Mauritian entities respectively, after completion of the transfer of its non-cement business (industrial minerals, fertilizers, mining and silicates business) to Mavuno Fertilizers Limited and its subsidiaries (ARM Minerals and Chemicals Limited and ARM Energy Limited).
  • Competition law counsel to Isuzu Motors Limited (Isuzu) in relation to the acquisition by Isuzu of a 57.73% shareholding in General Motors East Africa Limited (GMEA). Bowmans attended to merger filings in Kenya and across Africa, at COMESA, and in relation to the latter we acted for both Isuzu and GMEA.
  • Competition law counsel to Fung Africa Fund (I) Limited, an African investment firm investing through Sino Guru Limited and SKC2 PCC (the Investors), on a USD 4 million investment in Megafoods Limited, a Seychelles company which wholly owns Interstrat Limited, a Kenyan company which is the owner and operator of several restaurant chains and brands in Kenya including Big Square, Pizza Mojo and Square Cafe.
  • Competition law counsel to Guangdong New South Overseas Investment Holding Company Limited in relation to its joint venture and acquisition of shares in AEZ Limited, a company in a special economic zone.
  • Competition law counsel to Total Outre-Mer and Worldline SA in relation to the acquisition by Total Outre-Mer and Worldline SA of 52% of the total issued share capital of InTouch SAS.
  • Competition law counsel to Actis Development Partners Limited in relation to acquisition of 79.5% shares in Actis Development Partners Limited by Turner & Townsend International Limited.
  • Competition law counsel to Kenya Airways PLC, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Société Air France S.A in relation to request for an exemption from potential restrictive trade practices embodied in Part IIIA of the Competition Act, No. 12 of 2010.

Signature Matters


  • Chambers and Partners consistently ranked Joyce in Band 3 for Corporate/ M&A for three consecutive years (2018 to 2020) and in Band 4 for the same category in 2015-2017 and again in 2021. Joyce was also ranked as in the Spotlight Table by Chambers and Partners for her work in Competition/ Antitrust for three consecutive years (2021- 2023).
  • Joyce was featured as one of only three women in Africa for her work in the competition space by Global Competition Review, 2021 and in 2016 she was also featured as one of only two Bowmans partners.
  • IFLR1000’s Financial and Corporate Guide rated Joyce as a Highly Regarded Lawyer for her work in Capital Markets, Banking and M&A, particularly within the Real estate sector, for four consecutive years (2020 and 2023) and for three consecutive years prior to that, as a Rising Star (from 2016 to 2019).
  • Legal 500 2017 lists Joyce as a recommended lawyer for Competition.
  • In the Business Daily, a regional newspaper, Joyce is lauded as a Top 40 Under 40 lawyer.

“Joyce Karanja offered an excellent service and was very responsive.”

“We appreciate the enthusiasm, expertise, experience and practical approach of Joyce Karanja.”– Chambers and Partners, 2023

‘‘They have the ability to think out of the box and come up with unique solutions. Paras Shah is the standout partner along with Joyce Karanja.” – Legal 500, 2023

“Joyce Karanja is the leading merger control expert in Kenya.” – Chambers and Partners, 2022

“Joyce Karanja is rated highly for her corporate and competition law expertise, often assisting clients with the regulatory aspects of transactions. She is a recognised expert in this area.” – Chambers and Partners, 2021

“…thorough and well respected,” with one client asserting: “Joyce remains the go-to person on competition law matters, and her expertise is undisputed.”Chambers and Partners, 2020

“Joyce Karanja is a pre-eminent figure in the area of competition law, where she handles the related aspects of significant transactions in such sectors as automotive, food and beverages, and aviation. She is frequently mandated on merger control matters, as well as restrictive trade practices.”Chambers and Partners, 2019

Publications & Insights