LIBYAN INVESTMENTS IN EAST AFRICA TO BE DECIDED BY AU SUMMIT
Reports are emerging that the forthcoming African Union Summit in Addis Ababa later in January will have Libyas frozen investments on the agenda, as according to findings countries which imposed the freeze have been equally slow to let go of them and return them to the rightful owners, the Libyan people represented by their new government.
In Uganda, it is understood that following a high level mission from Tripoli to Kampala towards the end of December, all systems are now go again and that in fact companies partly or fully owned by Libya have already received new nominations for board members and chairpersons, including the Laico Lake Victoria Hotel in Entebbe, which like the Tropical Africa Bank and Uganda Telecom had come under statutory management by Bank of Uganda or was kept in caretaker mode like UTL, National Housing and a range of other key investments.
Across the border in Kenya Libyan assets in fact never were frozen and remain fully under the control of the owners, including the controversially sold Laico Grand Regency Hotel in the heart of the Nairobi Central Business District.
Notably though, in Rwanda were the Libyan holdings taken down as one source put it, showing the determination of the Rwandan government at the time to help end the cruel regime of Gadaffi when the uprising began to spread, and one of Libyas investments in the tourism industry, the Umumbano Hotel, was in fact put up for sale by Rwanda following an evaluation of the value of the asset. It was therefore no surprise that last week, when the Rwanda Development Boards Tourism and Conservation Department held the first ever Star Rating Award Ceremony for hotels and lodges graded and rated, the Umumbano Hotel was absent from the list altogether.
The United Nations and the European Union have now largely unfrozen Libyas assets and handed them back to what is now a transitional government until elections can be organized and held, and it is understood from comments made in Kampala by Libyas representative that they fully intend to maintain investments across the continent while in fact boosting key sectors with additional funding to get the companies frozen last year back into gear. Questions however remain on the AUs attitude over the entire developments in Libya as the continental block first tried to shield and defend Gadaffi and his murderous goons, then was last to accord recognition to the new government and now drags its feet in returning assets to them. Watch this space.