By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame and his ruling party are expanding their business empire, Crystal Ventures Ltd (CVL), beyond Rwanda. CVL is to invest US$200 million in the rehabilitation of a industrial park in the Republic of Congo, on the outskirts of the capital city, Brazzaville. This is the first known business adventure by CVL outside Rwanda where it dominates such sectors as road-construction, building materials, security, retail coffee, real estate, food processing and aviation services.
Crystal Ventures Ltd, the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s investment arm, says it will commit US$200 million to rehabilitate Congo’s Maloukou industrial zone, some 37 miles from the capital Brazzaville. This was announced by General Paul Kagame’s right hand man, CVL’s executive chairman Jack Kayonga. President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazza has struggled to attract investors to the 25-square mile industrial site since it was commissioned in 2018. Reuters quotes Kayonga as follows: “Once the agreement is signed, we will initially provide an investment of about $100 million to secure the site, rehabilitate it and finalise the work of connecting the road, electricity, water and internet networks. Then we will make available funding of over US$100 million for the establishment of a dry port, the construction of the city and a training centre.” CVL is estimated to be worth US$500 million, while its ownership is something of a mystery. The company has never published any annual report or any document that describes its ownership and earnings. Stay tuned.