Umubano Hotel in Kigali set for 10 Million US Dollar overhaul


(Posted 13th June 2013)

Agreement has at last been reached between the Rwandan government and the Libyan co-owners of the Umubano Hotel, in which the two parties hold a 60 / 40 share distribution.

When it was acquired by Gadaffi Libya, it was first managed by their hospitality unit Laico Hotels, but at the height of the troubles in Libya failed to inject the funds promised under the acquisition deal, letting the hotel slide into disrepair. Subsequently, following due notices by the Rwandan government, the hotel was being evaluated for sale to new investors, bringing the new Libyan regime back to the negotiating table, not wanting to risk the loss of a second asset after already having to write off their investment through LAP Green in Rwanda Telecom last year.

It was reliably learned that Libya will inject now an initial 10 million US Dollars to pay for a complete refurbishment of the 80 rooms the Umubano Hotel presently has, intent to upgrade it to 5 star standards, before in a second phase then adding more rooms.

While no specific time frame could be obtained, one regular source close to the Rwanda Development Board’s Tourism and Conservation Department, the entity responsible for grading and classifying hotels and resorts in Rwanda, did say on condition of anonymity for not being an official spokesperson: ‘If they finally bring that money and start work it is fair to give them another chance. The hotel was due to be sold and they were then to get 60 percent of the proceeds. Our government showed understanding for the situation in Libya but now the owners must perform. If they fail again they will find it hard to hold on to the hotel. Time is of essence now. After all, Kigali needs more hotel rooms. When our new national convention centre is open we expect many conferences to come to Rwanda. Our national airline is expanding and brings more and more people to Rwanda. Other airlines have started flying here or want to fly here, so hotel beds are a good investment. Right now, Umubano Hotel is in bad shape but it can be upgraded as long as the money is there’.

Perhaps a site visit during the next trip to the Land of a Thousand Hills might permit to further evaluate the situation and obtain time frames and the scope of work, so keep watching this space for updates in coming weeks.