Blackstone to invest in African hydropower projects

Global investment and advisory firm Blackstone has announced its plan to spend US$3 billion improving Africa's power supply within the next year, HydroWorld.com has learned.

Amongst the hydroelectric projects Blackstone says it will invest in are the 360-MW Ruhudji hydropower plant in Tanzania and the 150-MW Ruzizi project in Rwanda.

Blackstone, via its Sithe Global Power LLP unit, is already a partial owner of Uganda's 250-MW Bujagali hydropower plant, which was officially inaugurated this week.

"All projects are different, but Blackstone typically seeks to form public-private partnerships like we did with Bujagali," says Blackstone senior managing director David Foley.

According to an African Union report cited by Blackstone, Africa's demand for electricity is expected to increase 5.7% annually from 2.4%, while the continent's population without access to electricity is currently 59%.

Foley said many of the company's future African hydropower projects are in the "early stage negotiation and development phase." The company has not yet said how much it will invest in each project.

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