Rwanda news update – Gadaffi’s ‘RwandaTel’ now to be wound up


The Rwandan government rarely does anything with half measures, and following the story last week that they have cancelled the mobile license of erstwhile national phone operator RwandaTel, leaving them with the scraps of a small fixed network, the next step was taken yesterday. Majority owned by Libya’s dictator Gadaffi, or else the network of companies created by him to actually control the country’s wealth, RwandaTel was served with a winding up petition from the registrar of companies, which is now before court. The official cited ‘technical insolvency’ as a major factor in their application to have the company wound up and struck off the register, ‘to protect the public and government’.

Libya, after acquiring telecoms interests in Africa, did hardly live up to the high expectations they created when doing the initial deals, and injection of capital soon gave way to living on a shoestring budget for most of these companies, having to rely on cash flow and commercial borrowing rather than shareholder’s funds.

Adding insult to injury comes to mind, and a slap in the face of the obstinate Libyan regime leaders it is in the process, as his ill gotten wealth across  the continent is now largely being frozen, or as is the case here, rendered worthless. Way to go Rwanda.

Meanwhile are friends and business associates for Rwandan companies advised once again to check on their latest phone numbers, while a mass migration from RwandaTel mobile numbers to operators TIGO and MTN is taking place right now – reportedly well over 500.000 subscribers needing to find a new ‘home’ for their phones.

New bids are expected to be invited by Rwanda shortly for a third national phone operator to step into the gap now left by the events surrounding RwandaTel.