Olyana Holdings, a limited liability company is to buy 60 percent of Gisovu tea factory after cabinet approved its privatisation request by the Rwanda Privatisation Secretariat. According to the deal, the consortium, represented by businessman George Rubagunya will pay a tune of $2.4m (Rwf1.3b).
The sale is part of government’s move of pulling out of business, in order to increase competitiveness in the tea sector and increase the processing capacity of the factory while retaining the high quality of Rwanda’s tea.
But, government through Rwanda Tea Authority (Ocir-The) will retain 30 percent shares in the Kibuye based factory while local farmers are to be given 10 percent.
The investor will be compelled to grow tea on the core plantation and also buy from outside growers. When contacted for details of the sale, Joseph Akilimali, acting Director of Rwanda Privatisation Secretariat declined to elaborate on the deal until next week.
Rwanda’s tea sector is attracting a host of foreign companies with Dubai World— an investment arm of United Arab Emirates (UAE) government also said to be negotiating a possible purchase of Gisakura Tea Estate in the Western region and Kitabi in Southern region.
The sale also comes few months after government sold Pfunda Tea Estate to L.A.B International, a London-based company. According to information from Ocir-The, tea growing was introduced in Rwanda as an industrial crop and purely for export purposes to generate foreign income as early as 1960.
Black tea manufacturing followed in 1965 at Mulindi tea factory in the Northern Province. The authority’s website says the total planted area is 12,862 hectares. The factories installed capacity is 15,500 tonnes of made tea per annum.
The tea sector provides employment to over 52,838 people.