Arabs, Americans eye tea estates in Rwanda

After testing the aroma of Rwandan tea, Arabs and Americans cannot resist the brisk flavour of Rwanda tea anymore.

After testing the aroma of Rwandan tea, Arabs and Americans cannot resist the brisk flavour of Rwanda tea anymore.

The Privatisation Secretariat says the investors have expressed interest in buying three major tea factories in the Western and Southern Provinces.

The investors including Dubai World, a United Arab Emirates investment group Olyan Limited Liability Company (LLC), an American firm, may soon start growing and processing tea for export to the international market.

Dubai World is eyeing Gisakura Tea Estate in the Western region and Kitabi in Southern region while Olyan Holdings has expressed interest in Gisovu Tea Factory.

According to the Privatisation Secretariat, the two investors are supposed to submit their technical offer next month, and thereafter negotiations will start.

Manasseh Twahirwa, Executive Secretary, Privatization Secretariat said last week that a task force has been established by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to evaluate the factories.

The experts are from Rwanda Tea Authority, Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA), Ocir café and the Privatisation Secretariat. They are to evaluate and come up with a reserved value for the factories.

The value is always compared to price the investor is willing to offer for the property on sale.

"We are still waiting for the technical offer to be submitted next month to start negations," said Twahirwa.

The factories are fully owned by Government. And, if the deals are conclude, government is divesting 70 per cent shares in each factory.

Prior to the negotiations, the secretariat signed a three months memorandum of understating to evaluate, have due diligence, and come to an agreement of selling.

Other tea factories to be privitised this year include, Mataf Shagasha and Mulindi.

Government has already privatised Rubaya Tea Factory and Nyabihu Tea Factory.

Others are Pfunda Tea Factory, Nshili-Kivu tea plantation and Sorwathe former Cyohoha.

Facts about Rwanda tea

According to Rwanda Tea Authority—Ocir The Website, 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 Website says the total planted area is 12,862 hectares. The factories installed capacity is 15,500 tonnees of made tea per annum.

The tea sector provides employment to 52,838 people.

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