Rwanda: Umubano Hotel Auctioning to Be Held 'In Six Weeks'

16 September 2020

RDB wants to work with the new investor to turn the Umubano hotel into a flagship that will meet various environmental sustainable standards to attract local and international clients.

Umubano Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Rwanda, is set to be sold in one month and a half if the bidding process goes as planned, officials at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) have confirmed.

The Government is selling the Hotel, which is currently managed by Agaciro Development Fund, as part of the government's plan to divest state-owned assets and companies to the private sector.

In August, the investment promotion agency, RDB, put out a notice calling for prospective investors to bid for the facility.

"We closed the bidding process last week on Friday. What is next is the evaluation of bid offers, which is happening tomorrow (Tuesday)," Alexis Matabaro, who's in charge of privatization told The New Times.

He declined to mention neither the names nor the number of investors who have already expressed interest, saying it could compromise the bidding process.

Matabaro, however, indicated that once they get a prospective investor from offers, they will immediately write a cabinet document for approval before the facility can be sold.

"It is urgent and so we hope if everything goes well the Hotel will be sold in one and a half months," he noted.

RDB wants to work with the new investor to turn the hotel into a flagship that will meet various environmental sustainable standards to attract local and international clients.

Located in the prime part of Kacyiru area, Umubano was acquired by Madhvani Group at a tune of $13 million (about Rwf11 billion) in April 2017 after years under liquidation.

On behalf of Madhivani, the hotel was managed by Marasa, their subsidiary that specializes in the hospitality sector.

It's not clear when and why Madhvani Group, a Ugandan-based conglomerate, exited Umubano which they acquired barely three years ago, but the main issue even with previous investors, has always been failure to make the requisite investment to expand the hotel.

The hotel has been in the hands of several other investors, including the Libyan government-affiliated LAP Investments which operated it under the Laico Hotels brand.

It has also previously been managed by global hotel brands including Novotel, Le Méridien, among others.

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