Lap Green Networks, a Libyan company is to pay $100 million (about Frw54.5 billion) for the shares in Rwandatel.
This is more than the $25 million the defunct Terracom, an American firm was to pay government for the same company. The company also promises to invest $317 million (about Frw 172 billion) to revamp the telecom sector in the country.
The investment to stretch over a period of over 15-years will see the company inject $87 million in the economy during its first year of running Rwandatel.
Government wanted a local company to have a stake in Rwandatel to represent interest of Rwandans, Eng. Albert Butare, the Communication and Engery state minister said in an interview at his office. The Social Security Fund of Rwanda has 20 per cent stake in Rwandatel.
Cabinet awarded Lap Green the 80 per cent shares in Rwandatel after beating other bidders who 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. Lap Green 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.