Adebayo Ogunlesi: The Nigerian Financier and Investment Guru Shaking Up Wall Street

In mid-January, a Nigerian banker named Adebayo Ogunlesi made headlines by selling his infrastructure investment firm to the American company BlackRock for a whopping $12.5 billion. T

his deal is significant because it involves managing $106 billion in assets and marks a major consolidation in the financial sector.

Ogunlesi, who is 70 years old, has had an impressive career. After studying in the UK and the US, he worked in prestigious positions, including being the first non-American clerk for a US Supreme Court judge. He later became a lawyer and then joined Credit Suisse First Boston as an adviser. In 2006, he founded his own company, Global Infrastructure Partners, which has since made several successful investments in transportation, energy, and other sectors.

Despite his success, Ogunlesi has made relatively few investments in Africa, his home continent. However, with the continent’s growing need for infrastructure funding, this may change. Africa has an annual financing gap of $100 billion, and Ogunlesi’s new company, BlackRock, could play a significant role in filling that gap.

In March, BlackRock acquired a significant stake in Kenya’s Lake Turkana wind farm, indicating a potential shift towards more African investments. With Ogunlesi’s expertise and BlackRock’s resources, the future looks promising for infrastructure development in Africa.