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City Tycoon Seeks Kagame’s Intervention Before Horizon Chokes His Business




A heated dispute between Paul Muvunyi, a prolific businessman, and Horizon Group ltd, a business arm of RDF, has prompted him to seek President Kagame’s intervention for an amicable settlement.

On February 11, 2020, Muvunyi wrote a three-page letter to the Justice Minister, Johnson Busingye, and attached a dossier of dozens of pages.

He copied the President, the Minister of Defense and the Army Chief.

In the letter, he details a 12-years battle he has fought with Horizon Sopyrwa Ltd, as subsidiary of Horizon Group Ltd.

The firm deals in pyrethrum business.

Muvunyi is throwing in the towel after failure to secure justice, according to him, even though he has been engaging different institutions to help him from what he terms as being “swallowed by the shark.”

It all began with him buying off what was formally known as Sopyrwa, a state owned company then, that was involved in pyrethrum production and export.

It was sold off through privatization.

Muvunyi ran the firm for some years, made a fortune and attracted dozens of farmers into growing the lucrative crop in the Northern Province.

Later, the government concluded he was incapable of expanding the firm and investing in farmers for more production because it needed intense capital injection, which he did not have.

It also was clear that the firm had to deal with cumbersome obstacles that required involvement of different institutions.

An agreement was reached and Horizon Group Ltd bought him out and formed an arm called Horizon Sopyrwa Ltd.

Twelve years later, today, the two parties are still involved in endless wrangles with counter lawsuits and appeals in the courts of law.

First, a definitive arbitration sentence handed down in 2011 ordered, in favor of Muvunyi, that Horizon pays him US$597,890 as remainder from the buyout.

Until today, Muvunyi has never received the money.

Instead, there emerged a case against Muvunyi.

Horizon sued him for embezzlement.

He was accused of having exported 1000 tonnes of pyrethrum and did not pay due taxes. An initial price tag was slightly over Rwf1billion.

Horizon claimed that during the buyout, he had not declared a debt with the taxman.

Horizon would later be asked by RRA to pay the arrears. That is how Horizon dragged him to court to pay this money.

A final judgment in 2019 was handed down by the Supreme court, instructing him to pay slightly over Rwf500 million to Horizon.

He did not have the money on spot. He offered to place one of his prime properties worth over Rwf900m as collateral as he looked for the money to clear his debt.

While all this wrangle ensued, Muvunyi was about to secure a credit from IFC, over US$7million to invest in a hotel in Akagera National Park and expand other properties.

The loan was going to be secured against some of his properties.

Then one day bad news hit Muvunyi that the properties he had offered as collateral to IFC are under a caveat lodged by Horizon.

In an unclear circumstance, Horizon wrote to the Rwanda Landa Center, instructing them to place caveats on all Muvunyi’s immovable assets.

The Land Center never bothered to validate Horizon’s rational behind their request for lodging caveats on all of Muvunyi’s assets.

Taarifa reliably learned that Muvunyi has been pleading with the Land Center and Horizon for an amicable settlement. His efforts yielded no results.

He cannot sell any of the properties to settle his obligations nor offer the properties as collateral to secure a loan and pay Horizon or secure the IFC credit.

Taarifa has also learned that the property offered as collateral to Horizon will be auctioned this Friday.

We spoke to Horizon Group CEO,  Brig. Gen. Fred Muziraguharara to get their side of the story.

He declined to comment.

At first he said we had called the wrong number even after having sent him a text message clarifying who we are and why we were calling him. He called back asking again who we were and what we wanted.

“Maybe this is a wrong number,” he said.

When we asked him if he is indeed not the CEO, he said,  “…but I am not the one who will be answering this.”

He referred us to the company secretary. He promised to share the contacts of the company’s secretary, but he never sent it.

Meanwhile, Taarifa sought classification from Esperance Mukamana, the Director General and Chief Registrar of Land Titles.

“Horizon told us they had an unresolved matter with Muvunyi,” she said.

Pressed on whether they verified their claim, she declined to go into details saying the matter is complex to be discussed on phone.

She referred us to the legal officer.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister told Taarifa, in response to an inquiry on the letter written to him by Muvunyi, that he would respond to him not later than Wednesday (today) the latest.

He said that he would not want to intervene beyond what the order of the supreme court.

“I am only interested because I am the Attorney General,” he said.

He also wondered why the two parties have not reconciled on what they owe each other.

Regarding the caveats, he said “ask the land center. Lodging caveats is normal, but they should give you reasons why….ask them to explain.”

Apparently Horizon’s explanations to the Land Center were based on a case that was dismissed indefinitely. We have seen a copy of that case. The Land Center did not care to verify.

Also, Taarifa is aware that Rwanda Development Board (RDB) was dragged into the case.

RDB CEO, Clare Akamanzi, told Taarifa that she never wanted to interfere with the case. “The matter was in court so we left it to court to decide,” she said.

Muvunyi is cornered. He says only the President can help him.

“Only his Excellency the President can help me, I know who I am up against, no one wants to get involved …what don’t you see?”, he says as he fights to hold his tears.


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German Firm Signs Deal With Rwanda, Senegal To Begin Vaccines Manufacturing Mid 2022



BioNTech SE announced on Tuesday plans to construct a manufacturing plant for mRNA-based vaccines in Africa in mid-2022.

This is the next step in BioNTech’s efforts to implement sustainable end-to-end vaccine supply solutions on the continent.

The decision is the result of a meeting between Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr Daniel M. Ngamije, Senegal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Aïssata Tall Sall, Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-Founder of BioNTech and Sierk Poetting, COO of BioNTech as well as Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, Director-General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre and Dr Amadou Alpha Sall, Directeur-General of Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Kigali, Rwanda.

The meeting occurred upon the invitation of the kENUP Foundation and took place as a side-event of the Second Ministerial Meeting of the African Union and the European Union and resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

This comes after the parties signed a Joint Communiqué at a previous meeting in Berlin on August 27, 2021.

“I would like to thank all participants of today’s meeting for the support and trust to establish the first mRNA manufacturing facility within the African Union. Together, we will work on developing a regional manufacturing network to support the access to vaccines manufactured in Africa, for Africa,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech.

“Our goal is to develop vaccines in the African Union and to establish sustainable vaccine production capabilities to jointly improve medical care in Africa. We have made great progress in the past few weeks, which will help us on our way to turn these plans into reality,” he said.

Sierk Poetting, COO of BioNTech added: “We aim to accelerate the building of a GMP-certified manufacturing facility and plan to begin the construction on site in mid-2022.”

The MoU underlines that time is a critical success factor in the development of sustainable vaccine production for the African Union.

“We have finalized the planning and initial assets for the new facility have already been ordered,” Poetting added.

The parties have agreed to jointly to start works immediately.

BioNTech has finalized the construction plans and ordered the assets, which will be delivered by mid-2022.

The new manufacturing facility could become the first node in a decentralized and robust African end-to-end manufacturing network enabling an annual manufacturing capacity of several hundreds of million mRNA vaccine doses.

BioNTech plans to develop and implement a scalable construction network based on the expertise and learnings from the ramp-up of the Company’s production facility in Marburg.

To enable an expedient set-up of production capacities according to GMP standards, BioNTech will start with the construction and validation of a first production line enabling the manufacturing of drug product for about 50 million of e.g. COVID-19 vaccine doses per year, once fully operational.

The capacity will be increased sequentially by adding further manufacturing lines and sites to the manufacturing network on the continent, supporting the production of several hundreds of millions of mRNA vaccine doses.

BioNTech will initially staff, own and operate the facility to support the safe and rapid initiation of the production of mRNA-based vaccine doses.

BioNTech plans to transfer manufacturing capacities and the know-how to local partners.

BioNTech, Rwanda Development Board and Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal agreed to swiftly build-up the required human resources capacity and systems so that the partners can take over ownership and operational duties.

In parallel, the Republic of Rwanda and the Institut Pasteur de Dakar have committed themselves to scale-up fill and finish capacities to complete the local end-to-end manufacturing process.

In addition, BioNTech is in discussions about an expansion of the current partnership with Cape Town-based vaccine manufacturer Biovac, which is part of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing network.

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Africa’s Second Plant Breeding Conference Kicks Off In Rwanda



From 25th-29th October 2021, scientists, entrepreneurs, institutional leaders and students from Africa and beyond are meeting in Kigali, Rwanda and online for the second continental African Plant Breeders Association Conference (#APBAConf2021)  

Guided by the theme, “Accelerating Genetic Gains in Plant Breeding for Resilience and Transformative Food Systems and Economic Growth in Africa”, participants at the hybrid event are set to explore current research outputs and outcomes in plant-breeding and related disciplines. 

AGRA is partnering with the Government of Rwanda, the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), host of the Secretariat of the APBA and USAID at the #APBAConf2021, a forum that seeks to shine the spotlight on plant breeding as a key component of fast-tracking the continent’s agricultural transformation.

Strategic partnerships are crucial in the fight against food and nutrition security in Africa, said Prof. Danquah, Founding Director of WACCI and President of APBA. 

“The #APBAConf2021 draws attention to the need for crop improvement and seed sector development in Africa to help us build resilience in the staple crops of Africa, and to increase productivity in farmers’ fields. AGRA is proud to have been part of training plant breeders who are now churning out locally adopted crop varieties. I encourage all of us to support these scientists and sustain the momentum to put high yielding as well as drought tolerant crops in the hands of farmers.   I am pleased to be part of this conference which brings together scientists from across the continent to help provide solutions that ultimately improve the lives of smallholder farmers,” Dr. Kalibata said. 

Since 2007, AGRA has supported 1,100 African scientists to obtain post-graduate degrees whilst developing solutions to address the challenges of smallholder farmers with respect to seeds, soils, applied agricultural economics and policy.

This is in line with the APBA platform which aims at driving an agenda for innovation in plant breeding on the continent to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 2: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” and the aspirations of the African Union, “the Africa We Want” by 2063). 

The APBA conference was first held two years ago in Ghana, where resolutions were made to mobilize resources and build institutional capacities for the long-term strategic development of the agricultural sector in Africa through effective plant-breeding programs.  

The 2021 edition will track the progress towards the commitments made in Accra, in addition to presenting tangible solutions to other problems presenting in the in the plant breeding and seed industry as an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic and other unforeseen difficulties like the locust invasion of East Africa.  

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Vivo Energy Launches Engen Service Station In Rusoro



When Vivo Energy Rwanda, the company that markets and distributes Engen-branded fuels and lubricants in Rwanda, acquired Energy Solution (ENES) and GEMECA petroleum assets in March this year, its executives promised to increase its network by 13 operational service stations and three new land banks within 12 months.

It also said that it would increase its retail network from 24 to 40 service station sites across the country.

As part of this growth agenda, Vivo Energy Rwanda launched a new service station located in Rusoro sector on Friday, October 22, 2021.

The service station is located in growing area connecting different potential zone dominated by commercial, residential and social activities.

It stands on the main road connecting Mulindi center to other mixed activities zones with fuel consumption opportunities from all kinds of vehicles starting from motorbike and light cars to heavy cars are expected.

Saibou Coulibaly, the Managing Director of Vivo Energy Rwanda, said that “we have been able to grow our footprint and serve a bigger customer base with quality product and services all over Rwanda”.

“Our focus has been and will always be to offer a unique and memorable experience to anyone who will interact with the Engen brand; we want to bring our customer promise “with us you are number one” to life,” he said.

He added that this is part of the broader strategy to bring more stations and more choice to customers with these newly added service stations.

The added station comes at a time when the firm is also running another campaign known as “Triple check campaign, the very first ever quality campaign in the petroleum industry.

The aim of this campaign, launched in May this year, is to ensure that every customer who visits any of the Engen service stations gets the right quality of fuel in their vehicle, the right quantity they have paid for, all this provided to them with the service level they deserve.

With the help of installed quality fuel testers, customers have the opportunity to see if they are getting the quality and quantity of fuel.

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