Kenyan based Nation Media Group (NMG), the largest independent media house in the region, is mid this year set to launch its operations in Rwanda.
Information Minister Louise Mushikiwabo announced this yesterday at Urugwiro Village, in the company of NMG’s Board Chairman Dr. Martin Aliker and CEO Linus Gitahi shortly after their courtesy call to President Paul Kagame.
“We are well on course, Nation Media is a big addition to Rwanda’s media landscape and we were very supportive from the moment they approached the government,” the Minister said, underlining that “a number of steps” needed for NMG to be licensed in many different types of media products have been completed.
She explained that it is not “a small business” and that is why it takes time, but emphasized that “we are definitely on track,” and at the very last stage of licensing.
“We are looking at perhaps June or July as a time to have their presence here,” she said, adding that NMG was now, internally, deliberating and deciding what comes first. This was confirmed by Gitahi underlining that he was impressed by the speed in which things were advancing.
“We are obviously looking for all the licenses and, internally, we shall be deliberating amongst ourselves, to see which one we come up with first,” Gitahi said.
“I have a feeling that we might be here soon, rather than later. As for which platform we will be coming in on first, I think that’s something that we shall be looking at and announcing shortly,” he said.
Considered the leading multi-media house in the East African region, NMG has print, electronic media and digital platforms which attract a regular readership quite unparalleled in the region.
On the financial front, the Group’s performance over the years has been outstanding even during Kenya’s economic downturns, showing continued growth and profits both for the company and its shareholders.
This is largely manifested by 2007 highlights where its turnover increased by Shs.1.3 billion (21%) to Shs.7.7 billion. Profits before tax increased by 39 percent to Shs.1.6 billion and profits attributable to shareholders increased by 39% to Shs.1.1 billion. In addition, proposed ordinary dividends, then, increased by 50 percent.
“There is no question that we are very pleased with not just the investment but importantly for us – the variety that NMG brings in the national media field,” Mushikiwabo said, pointing to the group’s anticipated competition, professionalism and training as “something that will be welcome.”
Stressing that NMG’s vision is to be the “media of Africa, for Africa,” Gitahi told reporters that Rwanda is the only country in which they are not present in East Africa and they have been working with government to hasten the opportunity for Nation Media to operate in Rwanda.
The group has been quoted on the Nairobi Stock Exchange since the early 1970s and they have a major presence in the region, especially, Uganda and Kenya.
Uganda’s Monitor Publications Ltd, Mwananchi Communications Ltd in Tanzania and Kenya’s big Nation Newspaper’s Division are some examples dominating the region’s newsstands.
Apart from a Broadcasting Division, the latest in the NMG family is the Nation Digital Division that was established last year.