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Qatar Airways Buying 49% Of RwandAir, What Are The Implications?




The national carrier RwandAir is on course to be a subsidiary of Qatar Airways in a deal that once concluded will heighten the intensity of battle of East African skies by elevating RwandAir against Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines.

While RwandAir officials remain tight lipped on details  and business implications of this significant transaction with huge national interest, Qatar Airways officers on other hand being the suitors, revealed that the deal is at home stretch.

The strategic takeover of RwandAir by Qatar Airways comes  at the back of signing of a high level US$1.3 billion investment partnership between Qatar and Rwanda last year.

Taarifa in its analysis on the Qatar-Rwanda aviation deal had projected a likely take over of RwandAir by Qatar Airways. Our analysis last month titled “understanding the likely impacts of the US$1.3 billion Qatar-Rwanda aviation deal” has since come to pass.

Taarifa  had projected that a Rwandan deal of the nature that has been in the works with Qataris for so long will  most likely shake the regional aviation sector to the core.

Qatar Airways group CEO Akbar Al Baker confirmed that Qatar Airways is on the final paces of inking a transaction that will see RwandAir shareholders government of Rwanda cede a 49% stake in RwandAir to Qatar Airways.

He said; “We are negotiating for a  49 percent stake in RwandAir.”

Akbar made the comments at the sidelines of Qatar Aviation aeropolitical and regulatory summit in Doha on Wednesday.

Qatar Airways, a state owned operator generating over US$12 billion in revenues annually has over eight major subsidiaries.

RwandAir is now set to be Qatar Airway’s  9th subsidiary that it will be used strategically to fight the giants in East Africa- Kenya Airways (KQ) and Ethiopian Airlines (ET).

Qatar Airways owns over 240 aircraft employing over 43,000 staff operating from its hub in  Hamad international airport in Doha linking over 150 international destinations.

On the other hand, RwandAir has a revenue base of US$15 million annually and employs staff of 500, according  Owler a global search site.

Owler says that RwandAir’s latest funding round was a debt of US$160 million in July 2015.

The implications of the takeover of RwandAir by Qatar Airways are profound by any measures within the regional aviation sector.

To be precise, the deal by far has very significant implications on Rwanda’s economy in a sense that it  will be able to place Kigali International aviation hub at par or above the Nairobian or Addis Ababan hubs at some point.

The Kigali hub currently does 700,000 passengers per year against Nairobi’s 7 million passengers per year  and Addis Ababa’s 12 million passengers per year.

However, in a bid to upstage its regional competitors,  Rwanda through its deal with Qatar is seeking to up its game by constructing a new airport at Bugesera with capacity to handle 14 million passengers  per year by the year 2032.

Formations are now set  for intense battle for regional air space in East Africa

The finalization of takeover of RwandAir by Qatar Airways will no doubt draw battle lines for  the fight for market share for East African skies that will be fought fiercely between three major flag carries namely Ethiopian Airlines (ET), Kenya Airways (KQ) and RwandAir.

Battles will likely be fought through formation of strategic partnerships leading to further consolidation by the three main competitors working in a liberalized environment.

The hub and spoke model is what the three flag carriers in East Africa will use to fight in the market.

“This  business model is based on  how an operator does business through mergers and or acquisitions to bring in cash and capacity, maintenance programs, route code shares, use of lounges and coordination of frequent flyer programs”, says Michael Otieno an aviation expert.

Otieno adds that: “The model is executed in such a way that the carriers are realigning their businesses through strategic partnerships with investors on one hand and with their home airports on the other hand”.

This is what is informing the deal between RwandAir and Qatar Airways.


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Kagame Advocates For Investment Into Africa’s Agriculture Value Chain



Agriculture and agri-business, especially in Africa, will drive the continent’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, President Paul Kagame has said.

“This is especially true as we work to make
up for the time lost to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said adding that, “Each country and region must chart its own pathway to transformation, but this is also a global challenge that we must address together.”

Kagame was speaking in his capacity as the Chair of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee at the official ceremony of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 Pre-Summit.

In Africa, he continued, 70% of the working-age population is employed in the agricultural sector.

“But our continent’s food markets are often fragmented, and links to food processing and value addition services are sometimes lacking,” the President said.

He noted that digital technologies and biotechnology are playing a greater role in African agriculture, but too many farmers do not yet have reliable access.

And that financial services and products for farmers, including insurance, are generally inadequate.

“As a result, Africa’s food producers do not earn the level of income that they deserve, and they must cope with high levels of economic risk and uncertainty,” Kagame added.

According to the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, David Beasley, 41 million people are on the brink of famine today.

“Planet earth, shame on us that we let a single person go to bed hungry,” said.

“We have the expertise to end hunger, but we urgently need the money. This is a global call to action – all hands on deck,” he added.

Transformation is a necessity, according to Presidemt Kagame.

This is why the African Union Development Agency, NEPAD, has worked to facilitate an African Common Position in advance of the Food Systems Summit, in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the SDGs.

Kagame offered two proposition.

Africa will pursue solutions in the following priority tracks:

One, adopt nutritious food policies, establish food reserves, and expand school feeding programs.

Two, support local markets and food supply chains, invest in agro-processing for healthy foods, and expand trade in food products within Africa.

The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for the UN’ Food Systems Summit, Agnes M. Kaliba,  told participants that the summit is much very powerful than she thought.

“The energy,  and hopes in each room today were palpable!. We need to leverage the incredible power of food to deliver a step change in the SDGs- this is a one in a generation opportunity,” she said.

Myrna Cunningham, speaking for Indiginous People, said that, “Our current Food Systems is based on extreme irresponsibility; We need a food system that is based on rights including Economic empowerement and rights and rights to land.”

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Airtel Rwanda MD Steps Down



It is learnt through reliable sources that Amit Chawla has decided to step down after completing a three-year term as Managing Director for Airtel Rwanda.

Normally, he would have had his contract extended or rotated to another operation in the company’s footprints, but a source told Taarifa that he is leaving the industry to do other businesses.

A new executive will be announced soon, it is said.

Amit, who took over the newly merged entity on August 31, 2018, during which time he oversaw the achievements of several milestones.

Chief among his accomplishments include the consolidation of the brand Airtel after the takeover of Tigo, its people, products and services as well as modernization of the country’s network, a project that saw the expansion of the Airtel Rwanda Network and saw the consolidation of Airtel’s reputation as the internet provider of choice for Mobile Internet in Rwanda.

During his time with the organization as MD, Airtel Rwanda oversaw great changes. Under his leadership, programs grew and services became more easily available to all customers.

Chawla led the company’s pandemic response that saw Airtel Rwanda direct its CSR budget towards governments efforts to tackle the initial response to the Global pandemic.

Under his leadership, Airtel has gained a reputation for launching ground breaking and bold campaigns such as the recent Va Kugiti Campaign that generated a lot of buzz in the Rwandan market.

Chawla, also oversaw the successful roll out of the Airtel Money Branch (AMB) concept, with 71 shops opened in Kigali alone.

The AMB’s concept has completely revolutionized the proximity of a telecom operator to her network of Agents and Freelancers, enabling them to access up to Rwf5 million within walking distance.

Chawla was unavailable for comment.


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First Chinese Electric Car To Reach Europe Disrupts Markets



Chinese automaker Aiways has resorted to livestreaming its all-electric cars to potential clients across the globe.

“The design is very simple and uncluttered,” one of the presenters said as she detailed the U5’s design and capabilities. “The car is modern, and even the mode of distribution is modern.”

“Modern” distribution here means replicating the “live commerce” experience of Aiways’ home country — using livestreaming events to drum up interest and sales online. The company ships its cars through local partners to customers in Europe from its factory in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi.

That arrangement helps Aiways keep prices down. The U5 is priced from around 39,000 euros ($46,000), 10% to 15% cheaper than its rivals, according to the company.

Alexander Klose, the Aiways executive vice president in charge of overseas operations says, “We have some challenges, but overall, I would say it has been fairly positive for us, and we have seen a fairly positive recognition.”

Aiways is not alone: A growing number of Chinese EV makers are setting their sights on overseas markets — and they intend to compete on quality as much as price.

BYD, the Chinese automaker backed by U.S. investment guru Warren Buffett, is betting on Norway. It shipped its first 100 European-specification SUVs to dealers there this June, and it plans to deliver 1,500 by the end of the year.

Like Aiways, BYD is keen to take advantage of overseas consumers’ improving perception of Chinese products.

“We are not going to make the same mistakes as other Chinese brands did more than 10 years ago in the European theater. They tried to launch vehicles in a very cheap and rushed way, without being fully prepared,” a BYD spokesperson told Nikkei Asia.

“Most people haven’t heard of BYD until now, so it is more important to do things right than [to] start talking about [sales volume].”

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