Editor’s Note: May 24, 2018

Is RwandAir getting ahead of itself?

Rwanda has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Premier League football team Arsenal, whose players will have “Visit Rwanda” adorning their sleeves next season.

This is part of a drive to position the country as a leading tourism and travel hub in Africa.

The backbone of this is its national carrier RwandAir, which is aggressively expanding its network, currently covering 23 destinations. Its stated objective is to become the “airline of obvious choice in the markets we serve”.

The ambition bears the hallmarks of Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame, under whom the country has gained a reputation for getting things done – in a hurry.

But RwandAir must be careful not to get ahead of itself.

Commercial aviation is a notoriously difficult business, and national carriers have the worst track record of all. At worst they are unsustainable vanity projects that soak up public funds.

With GDP of $9.98bn there is little room for state largesse in Rwanda, and competing won’t be cheap.

RwandAir has just 12 planes and is dwarfed by Africa’s leading carrier, Ethiopian Airlines. The latter is adding 60 planes to an existing fleet of 99, and its 2017 revenues of $2.71bn are higher than Rwanda’s budget for 2017/18.

From The Continent

Egypt’s tourism revenues rose by 83.3% in the first quarter of 2018, to $2.2bn, with tourist arrivals up 37.1% for the same period. The sector accounts for 5.6% of GDP, expected to rise to 11.1% in 2028, but has struggle in recent years. More: CGTN


Ethiopia’s state-run telecoms provider, Ethio Telecom, is to open some of its infrastructure to local internet services firms in a bid to promote competition. The sector remains closed off to international investors and prime minister Abiy Ahmed has ruled out liberalising it anytime soon. More: Reuters

The Daily Stat

25%

The amount by which oil major ExxonMobil plans to reduce natural gas flaring across its operations, including Nigeria and Angola, by 2020. More: WorldOil

The Global Perspective

Google has launched its first ‘Impact Challenge’ for Africa, which will provide $6m in funding to selected non-governmental organisations in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.The funds will be equally split between the three countries, with winners each receiving $250,000.More: ITWeb

A new report by rights group Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian military of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in its fight against Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The accusation has been dismissed as “false” by the military, with a statement from the presidency saying the report lacks credibility. More: Amnesty International

The Daily Follow

International Council on Mining & Metals @ICMM_com: Global mining industry initiative aimed at promoting sustainability in the sector.