24 December 2012

Rwanda: Where Is Majyambere's U.S.$10 Million Investment Pledge?

IT is a year now after a Rwandan pledged to set up certain development projects in the country.

Silas Majyambere, a Rwandan businessman with investments in several countries including Uganda, Djibouti and Burundi, had pledged, during the 9th National Dialogue (Umushyikirano), to set up a $10 million investment with an aim of not only expanding his business empire, but also creating employment opportunities for his compatriots.

He particularly committed to build a hotel in Rusizi district of Western Province, on the shores of Lake Kivu.

However, 12 months later, The New Times understands that this project is yet to be implemented. Majyambere did not attend this year's dialogue that was held at parliament a fortnight ago.

According to Parfait Gahamanyi, the Director General in charge of the Diaspora in the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Cooperation, Majyambere's dossier is still being scrutinised by the Ministry of Infrastructure to see the viability of his project.

Once everything is sorted, he will implement his hotel project in Rusizi district, Gahamanyi said.

But Oscar Nzabonimana, the Mayor of Rusizi district, explained that the land on which Majyambere is meant to construct the hotel is still state property which requires first to be transferred to the district before Majyambere can be authorised to purchase it.

The mayor said this transfer may require a Cabinet decision.

"Otherwise the project was examined and validated by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB)," he said.

On her side, Clare Akamanzi the acting CEO of RDB said, "RDB assessed his project and recommended that the district (Rusizi) facilitates his land acquisition."

According to mayor Nzabonimana, the land which Majyambere applied for may be less than one hectare. It is located in Kamembe sector, Cyangugu cell on the shores of Lake Kivu.

Gahamanyi said in a bid to follow up investment pledges Rwandans living abroad make, they always organise meetings, where they share their commitments, so that people do not promise 'ghost' projects.

Contacted via phone, Majyambere disclosed to The New Times that his plan is to construct a five-star hotel with 100 rooms in a plot that actually hosts the National Police in Kamembe sector, in the Lake Kivu vicinity.

"I want that hotel there, because Kamembe used to be my favourite place where I had even dreamt of building an iron sheet manufacturing industry," he said.

On the delay to get his business started, Majyambere said, "I have no choice because I have filed everything that I was required of to the district and the Ministry of Infrastructure which has to submit my case to the Cabinet to decide whether I can be granted that plot or not".

"Early December, I wrote to the CEO of RDB notifying them of those delays," he added.

Speaking on behalf of the Infrastructure ministry, Sarah Manion, the Technical Advisor to the Minister told The New Times that the ministry would have reached a conclusive decision on the issue by next month, after completion of the official paperwork.

The World Bank doing business index 2013 says Rwanda is the best performing country in the East African region as well as 3rd easiest place to do business in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The same report ranks Rwanda 52nd globally.

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