Dubai World, the United Arab Emirates’ troubled investment arm, announced yesterday that 99 percent of its creditors had agreed to terms for restructuring $24.9 billion worth of debt, a development welcomed as a good sign by Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
This comes after Dubai World scaled down on its business ventures in the country, a decision attributed to effects of the global financial crisis that affected most of its businesses worldwide.
“If it (Dubai World) is making progress in terms of how it manages its finances, then I think it is a good sign because they have already invested in Rwanda,” Clare Akamanzi, the RDB’s Chief Operations Officer said yesterday.
“We are in a relationship with Dubai World because they are investors in Rwanda – we hope this impacts on how they invest in the country in future.”
At the height of the global financial crisis last year, the Dubai government caused global investor panic when it announced that it would delay interest payments on Dubai World’s debts.
However, the Dubai government said on Friday that “approximately 24.9 billion dollars (19.6 billion Euros) worth of liabilities” would be restructured.
In a statement, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, the chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee, who also chairs the Supreme Committee for the Supervision of Dubai World, said that: “The Government of Dubai is pleased with this significant outcome and with the speed at which it has been achieved, given the complexity of the situation and the large number of creditors involved.”
“This agreement formalizes a strong consensus around a fair and balanced restructuring proposal and is a key step towards putting Dubai World on a sound and stable financial footing whilst enabling it to realize the full potential of its underlying businesses,” Sheikh Ahmed said.
The company says it expects to “close the restructuring in the coming weeks.”
Nonetheless, reports also say the remaining one percent of creditors opposing the deal could push Dubai World to seek recourse in a tribunal.
Despite its troubles, the group has continued work on two of its previous projects in Rwanda – a first class hospitality facility in Kinigi, the Mountain Gorillas Nest lodge and a five star Nyungwe Eco Forest Lodge.
Works on the facility in Kinigi, Musanze District are set to be complete by the end of this year, and the RDB is working on a marketing strategy with the company to promote the investments, globally.
Before its financial woes started, Dubai World had planned to invest in eight tourism facilities, including luxury hotels, a residential golf course development, high-end eco lodges, and the 1,080² km Akagera National Park.