Blackstone backs Black Rhino to invest in African infrastructure and power development
Blackstone has partnered with Black Rhino to identify, develop, finance, construct and operate large-scale infrastructure projects across Sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on the energy sector.
This includes 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 USD600 million submarine cable development project to connect fibre optic communications networks from Europe and Asia to 23 African countries. During his career, Herlihy has been involved in over USD7 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 experience investing in Africa and in other emerging markets.
“Long-term capital investment in energy is critical to Africa’s development,” says Steve Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman, chief executive, 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 are extremely excited to team with Blackstone,” says Herlihy. “Blackstone is uniquely positioned as a leader in the greenfield energy space, having undertaken development and construction of over USD25 billion of greenfield projects globally. Moreover, they have done this in demanding environments such as Africa before. With Blackstone as its partner, we are convinced that Black Rhino will be able to undertake truly transformational projects in the power and energy sectors that are necessary for Africa to maintain the significant economic growth it is currently experiencing.”
Blackstone is helping build the Black Rhino team and has hired Mimi Alemayehou, former executive vice president at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), as managing director and member of the executive committee. In addition, Alemayehou will serve as an executive advisor and chair of Blackstone Africa Infrastructure.
Black Rhino’s active project development pipeline includes projects in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Africa.
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