In its edition of February 19, 2019, KT Press published an article titled “Rwanda Begins Installation of Streetlights Along the Touristic Nyungwe Road.” The article goes on to boast that “no more fear for your security as you travel the thick and vast Nyungwe National Park in the South Western Rwanda; you will rather enjoy wildlife 24/7.”
The paper further explains that the Nyungwe project involves installing lights on a 97-kilometer road network through the park. Then KT Press naively reveals who will build the infrastructure. The national utility company “contracted NPD Cotraco a local company to build the infrastructure.”
NPD Cotraco is a subsidiary of Crystal Ventures Ltd (CVL), the business empire owned by the ruling party, Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) whose Chairman is General Paul Kagame. In other words, CVL is effectively an oligarch, because it satisfies the following conditions:
1) CVL commands enormous political power to promote its own interests via Kagame who is its chairman and at the same time Rwanda’s head of state.
2) CVL’s owners are the largest private operators in Rwanda. The Economist describes CVL as follows: “Crystal Ventures, the RPF’s holding company, has investments in everything from furniture to finance. It owns the country’s biggest milk processor, its finest coffee shops and some of its priciest real estate. Its contractors are building Kigali’s roads.
There are several firms offering security services in Rwanda but the guards from ISCO, part of Crystal Ventures, are the only ones who tote guns. The company is reckoned to have some $500m of assets.” KT Press just updated us on how Rwanda’s own oligarch is grabbing more money from Rwandan taxpayers.