The Rwandan-born tobacco tycoon, Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa hinted that he hoped there will be less and less conflict in Africa for businesses to prosper.
In a lengthy interview with the Daily Monitor, the industrialist said that if “people these days talk of “Africa Rising,” this is because countries such as Angola that had a long-standing conflict are at peace. This is true of Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, and many others. The efforts to secure peace in South Sudan are paying off”.
Rujugiro, the founder of Pan African Tobacco Group (PTG) added that his business “seek to assist Africans so that they can uplift themselves from poverty”.
Ayabatwa who is now the biggest indigenous tobacco manufacturer in Africa with footprints in 12 African countries said that “PTG companies have worked with communities in improving food security, accessing to clean water and tree-planting to protect the environment”.
“PTG has excellent relations with nearly a dozen countries in which we manufacture our products”, he added.
The Pan-African group does not have any operations in Rwanda, his home-country but Rujugiro has several other businesses there.
More than 200 members of Rujugiro’s family were killed during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, but the Kigali government confiscated his properties falsely accusing him of aiding the opposition to Kagame regime.
But the multimillionaire industrialist who abhors politics said that “PTG cannot be threatened by a government that does not have jurisdiction over our company”.
“My issues with Rwanda involve other businesses that are not in any way associated with PTG”, he said.
For the last 40 years, Ayabatwa has run a highly successful business operation in an industry dominated by a handful of multinational corporations.
He has established himself as a philanthropist, and he was “never driven by profit margin alone while doing business”, he told the Daily Monitor.