DAR ES SALAAM - A Tanzanian investor has lashed out at the international media for only portraying Rwanda as a Genocide-stricken country and paying less attention to achievements it has registered over the years.
Reginald Mengi, who owns a string of media organizations in Tanzania, made the remarks during the first East African energy conference that kicked off yesterday in Dar es Salaam.
The investor is also the chairman of the East African Business Council (EABC) a body that organized the three-day conference.
“There is a lot of peace and security in Rwanda. Actually there are more chances of being shot on the streets of New York or Paris than being shot in Kigali, but the media chooses to report only unfortunate events,” he said.
Mengi was discussing challenges partner states of the East African Community (EAC) are facing in attracting investors to the energy sector, and said negative publicity of Africa in the West is one of them.
“We are not asking people to praise us, we want them to report accurately and objectively. They should report the truth and not exaggerations,” he added.
He called on Africans to do anything within their ability by starting up medium income investments other than waiting for investors to come from overseas.
While opening the conference earlier, Tanzania Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, told delegates that the EAC is in the process of updating the power master plan to cover Rwanda and Burundi.
He added that one of the outputs of the process will be reduction in the cost of power development plan and a grid code that will be used to govern trans-boundary power exchanges in the region.
Pinda also added that the EAC has developed a cross-border electrification programme that enables border centres to access electricity from the nearest grid.
“In an effort to accelerate this programme, we are in the process of developing a regional policy on cross border electrification that will govern this programme including development of transboundary resources such as hydro schemes,” he said.
The conference is attracting more than 100 participants from East African companies with interest in improving access to reliable power supply and cutting energy costs.
Some participants from Europe are also attending the meeting.