As the year 2017 draws to a close, companies and institutions take time to look back and assess the achievements of the year. One company boss who will certainly be satisfied with the results of her team is Sarah Doukoure-Bebey, the managing director of Engen Rwanda.
It started excellently, as the company was chosen as the fuel supplier for the construction activities of Bugesera international airport.
As a land-locked country, Rwanda is that places great reliance upon its freight and transport infrastructure. This infrastructure is essential, considering the country’s dependence upon tourism and imports for growth. Travel and tourism are important growth sectors for the Rwanda economy, delivering an estimated 7.3% of the country’s annual GDP. As a result, Rwanda’s aviation industry is one of the fastest growing and the most competitive in the East Africa sub-region, with an average annual growth rate of 10%.
It comes as no surprise that Rwanda, through its MICE Strategy, has positioned itself as a preferred destination for Conferences and Tourism in Africa, with Kigali International Airport (KIA), the country’s current international airport, the main air gateway for all destinations in and out of the country and a hub to the rest of Africa and the World. The airport is located in the suburb of Kanombe, on the outskirts of Kigali, approximately five kilometres east of the central business district. Kigali International Airport has been vital to the growth of the country and its national carrier Rwandair and has been the fastest growing airport in East Africa.
However, the airport was constructed for 300,000 passengers in a year and is currently serving over 700,000 people (almost the size of the population of Kigali!). The location offers limited opportunity for expansion due to its proximity to the city and surrounding hilly terrain.
To solve the problem, the Government of Rwanda under the visionary leadership of His Excellency Paul Kagame resolved to build a new airport in Bugesera Town, about 10km from Kigali. In September 2016, the Government of Rwanda signed an agreement with Mota-Engil from Portugal, to fund, build and operate the New Bugesera International Airport.
On 8th March 2017, after a competitive bidding process, Mota-Engil awarded Engen Rwanda Limited (a subsidiary of Engen International Holdings) a three-year contract that will enable the Construction of the Airport. The Mota-Engil tender covered the supply of diesel, lubricants and related diesel storage and dispensing equipment for the works construction for an estimated contract value of Rwf 30 billion.
The New Bugesera International Airport (NBIA) will become Rwanda’s largest international airport whilst KIA will remain mainly a technical training centre. NBIA will have a 3750 metre runway, a terminal capacity of 1.8 million passengers per year, along with modern retail outlets, and with state-of-the-art cargo, air traffic control and car parking facilities.
To service this contract, Engen installed a state-of-the Art Fuel Farm that provides 500 cubic meters of Diesel storage with the latest technology of self-bunded tanks, along with a fully enclosed pump bay with 3 units. This was achieved with a total investment of close to Rwf 500 million. Commissioning of the ‘Fuel Farm’ was completed in June 2017.
Sarah Doukoure, Managing Director of Engen Rwanda Limited is pleased with this important milestone. “It is rewarding to work on a project of such strategic importance to the Country,” she says. “There is a real sense of honour and gratitude for the privilege of working on a development that will significantly boost Rwanda’s economic growth and development, and unlock our country’s potential in terms of tourism, business and cargo.”
With the project well on track, Engen, in partnership with MOTA Engil, expects the first phase to be completed by end of 2019. Engen is proud to play a key role in ensuring that the wheels of progress keep turning smoothly during this partnership.
Another milestone for Engen Rwanda is the successful completion of a long pending court case with the former Entreprises Rwandaise des Petroles over the Kabuye fuel depot.
When Engen entered the Rwanda market in 2008, the company was operating the fuel storage facility over a long term lease agreement which was challenged by the landlord and Engen was forced to vacate the storage facility in 2012.
“We believe in the Rwanda judicial system so we went to court to have our rights restored, the proceedings took close to 5 years and we are pleased that the Supreme Court the highest instance of the Country has finally ruled favourably” Doukoure-Bebey notes. “It also shows that the justice system in Rwanda is truly working– if you have a claim, you put it forward and if you are right, you eventually get rewarded.”
“Having a storage facility is critical for Engen due to its positioning as major petroleum importers as it enables the full integration of our supply chain” the Engen boss explains.
Such litigations dating back to the Total era are also the reason why, over the years, Engen Rwanda had to relinquish some of its petrol stations, notably those in Kigali city centre and in Remera, which the Company’s MD says were big losses to the Company. Yet that didn’t stop them from expanding, and this year is a great achievement with an additional 3 brand new petrol stations to our portfolio: Kibungo, Musanze and Kayonza, and another 3 planned for next year.
“We are confident in the Rwanda market due to its stability and rapid growth, reason why our strategy mainly focus on the local market expansion” Doukoure-Bebey adds.
Yet the company didn’t simply expand its network, it also worked hard to improve the service customers receive at its stations.
“We constantly thrive to improve our customer’s experience and deliver on our brand promise ‘With us you are Number One,” Doukoure-Bebey says. “In the 15 countries in Africa where Engen is present, we run a service awards program which monitors service excellence and rewards the best agents on a monthly basis. The results have been satisfactory with Engen Rwanda has emerged as the best of these 15 countries with a score of 77%. We do acknowledge however that we still have to put in efforts to meet our customers’ satisfaction.”
Another improvement at the stations which Engen has continued to push this year is the drive for cashless payments.
“The petrol station is unfortunately still an environment with a lot of cash handling, so with the support of Visa and Mineacom, we have been implementing cashless solutions at the petrol stations,” the MD explains. “We first enabled visa payments on all our petrol stations, and this year we launched our partnership with MTN for mobile money payment solutions for fuel, with later on Tigo and Airtel also joining the platform.”
Last but not least, one partnership which Doukoure-Bebey seems particularly proud of is Engen Rwanda’s 5-year partnership with the Imbuto Foundation, which was initiated last year and in which the company sponsors the education of 10 underprivileged but brilliant young children who are in grades 6 to 9.
Clearly, Doukoure-Bebey has reason to be satisfied with her team’s performance in the past year. Today, Engen is one of the major players in the Rwandan market, with 22 service stations and also distributes its own range of lubricants and liquified gas products for domestic use.
“We are proud of our achievements in Rwanda and intend to continue growing with more planned for next year,” the MD remarks.
With the celebration of ten years of operations, 2018 augurs well for Engen Rwanda.
Read this article and more in issue n° 80 of Hope Magazine.