Libyan firm takes over Rwandatel

Lap Green Networks, a Libyan company, has emerged the leading bidder for shares in Rwandatel, a cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro on Wednesday heard.
No secret: Albert Butare.
No secret: Albert Butare.

Lap Green Networks, a Libyan company, has emerged the leading bidder for shares in Rwandatel, a cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro on Wednesday heard.

This means that the company must have fulfilled at least 80 per cent of the bidding requirements established by the ad hoc committee created by the minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

“The Cabinet meeting received proceedings from the privatisation process of Rwandatel and the leading bidder is Lap Green. (While) the first runner-up is Vodacom,” Cabinet minutes signed by Information minister Laurent Nkusi read in part. Engineer Albert Butare, State Energy minister for Energy and Communication confirmed.

“It is no longer secrete. This is now public information (that Lap Green is the highest bidder),” he said. Lap Green was among the six companies that bid for Rwandatel after 
government recently floated 80 per cent of its shares in the telecom company.

Other bidders included telecom giants Vodacom Group of South Africa and Celtel - Africa’s third-largest cell phone company by subscriber numbers. Others are V-Tel Holdings of Jordan, Bit Map Ltd of Singapore and Rwanda’s R-Com.

During the opening of the tendering process in Kigali, representatives of Lap Green promised to operate a borderless network between Uganda’s UTL and Rwandatel. The company has a 69 per cent stake in UTL. The company also promised to make calls affordable to every Rwandan.

“We are not after profits. Ours is a pan-African spirit,” the Lap Green representative who asked to remain anonymous said.  
Lap Green is owned by Libya Africa Investments Portfolio for Africa, a consortium set up to reorganise the interests of the Libyan government on the continent.

The company, which has invested $4 billion in cash and owns $3 billion in assets, also owns Mali’s premier telecom company, Sahelcom.

While Vodacom provides 3G GSM services to millions of customers in South Africa, Tanzania, Lesotho, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Vodacom brand is also a 50 per cent joint venture investment with UK mobile firm Vodafone Group Plc.

The same company owns a 40 per cent stake in Kenya’s Safaricom, which has a subscriber base of 7.6 million out of the estimated 10 million subscribers in the country.

Government annulled the Terracom contract, accusing it of not honouring terms of its contract.

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