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Blackstone Backs Black Rhino to Invest in African Infrastructure and Power Development

New York (HedgeCo.Net) – Global asset management firm Blackstone (BX) today announced that it has partnered with Black Rhino, an African infrastructure development company, to identify, develop, finance, construct and operate large-scale infrastructure projects across Sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on the energy sector, including power generation, transmission, fuel storage and pipelines.

Formed in January 2012 and based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Dakar, Senegal, Black Rhino is led by Founder and CEO Brian Herlihy, who previously founded and served as CEO of Seacom. At Seacom, Herlihy led a $600 million submarine cable development project to connect fiber optic communications networks from Europe and Asia to 23 African countries. During his career, Herlihy has been involved in over $7 billion of project finance infrastructure development in Africa, including chemical refining, power plant, rail, port and road projects.

The Black Rhino team is comprised of developers, construction project managers and development finance experts. The team will leverage Blackstone’s existing expertise in the energy sector, including its significant experience investing in Africa and in other emerging markets.

“Long-term capital investment in energy is critical to Africa’s development,” said Steve Schwarzman, Blackstone’s Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder. “Blackstone is pleased to be partnering with Brian Herlihy, Mimi Alemayehou, and the entire Black Rhino team to develop innovative projects with the power to transform economies across Africa.”

“We look forward to partnering with Black Rhino in developing energy infrastructure and power projects in Africa, where the need for investment is enormous,” said Sean Klimczak, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone. “Black Rhino has a world-class team, extensive experience and a strong track record of working together with local stakeholders, which make them an ideal partner as Blackstone looks to invest in Africa for the long term.”

Black Rhino’s active project development pipeline includes projects in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Africa. Both Blackstone and Black Rhino have a successful track record of working collaboratively with local stakeholders to develop projects in a socially responsible way that creates long-term value for local communities and regional economies.

“Black Rhino’s development approach has been built around establishing relationships with African partners who share our long-term commitment to safe, sustainable, and socially responsible investments,” said Herlihy. “We look forward to partnering with governments, civil society, and other stakeholders to create mutual value in each community where we invest in the coming years.”

Through its portfolio company Sithe Global, Blackstone is a lead investor alongside the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development in the 250 MW Bujagali Hydropower Plant in Jinja, Uganda on the Nile River. The facility has reduced the cost of power for Uganda’s national utility by two thirds, nearly doubled the country’s generation capacity with clean, affordable, renewable energy, making the country’s electricity supply one of the cleanest in the world, and helped increase Uganda’s GDP growth rate by 60%. Blackstone is also a founding investor in Kosmos, an oil and gas exploration company. Kosmos has worked closely with the Government of Ghana and the Ghana National Petroleum Company to develop the deep-water Jubilee oil field, one of West Africa’s largest discoveries in the last decade.

Alex Akesson
Editor for HedgeCo.net

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