Two years ago, Dubai World presented itself as the savior for Rwanda’s tourism developments, committing US$230 million for the development of more than half a dozen properties and projects. However, already early this year, the scope was reduced when the global economic and financial crisis began to affect the UAE and its latest developments.
Deferments of loan repayments for at least 6 months have only strengthened the belief of industry observers that Dubai World will, for the time being, not play a major role in the development of hospitality businesses like hotels and resorts in Rwanda. The one project they have taken over, the Gorilla Nest in Ruhengeri, is also still waiting for major works. While the Rwanda Development Board/Tourism and Conservation insists that the planned Nyungwe Eco Lodge project would go ahead, there is no visible evidence available to this effect at this time.
That said, even the projects planned for the Comoros appear to be off now, leaving this Indian Ocean island country, which has an enormous tourism potential, also hanging in suspense and having to seek other investors to create new, state-of-the-art resorts.
Meanwhile, however, Marriott has stepped into the gap left when Dubai World pulled out of their planned Kigali hotel and leisure project, by being appointed by a consortium of investors from other sources to oversee construction and then management of a new five-star hotel on the same spot where Dubai World was to invest.
It was also learned in a related development, that Dubai’s leadership accused critics of “not understanding what is happening in Dubai,” but what better way can there be than being upfront about what is happening that to come out openly and transparently and explain to the world what led to the crisis and how the conglomerate will deal with the issues and why the owners, the government of Dubai, has refused to guarantee the debts it permitted Dubai World to accrue? Let it then also be known what the true extent of the fallout for African projects is going to be which ones will be pursued and finished and which other ones will be deferred or dropped altogether.