Entrepreneur | Philanthropist | Public Servant
This media report was published in Ventures Africa January 4, 2013. Read it at www.ventures-africa.com
Founder of Pan African Tobacco Group, Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa, has retired after a successful 52-year career as an industrialist and entrepreneur.
According to a statement released by his company, Ayabatwa’s sons and son-in-law will take over the helms of affairs upon his retirement.
While his eldest son, Paul Nkwaya and Son-in-law Serge Huggenberger will serve as the Technical Director and Financial Director respectively; 72 years old Ayabatwa will continue to advise his sons and son-in-law on company management but will no longer be involved in day-to-day operations.
Upon retirement, Ayabatwa plans to spend more time on his charitable endeavors. He is developing a foundation mainly to help aspiring African entrepreneurs. The foundation will draw upon his life experience by offering educational, employment and economic assistance to budding entrepreneurs.
Speaking on his retirement, Ayabatwa said: “I am very proud of what I’ve accomplished over the last five decades. I worked extremely hard to create jobs and opportunities for Africa, and have no doubt that my sons and son-in-law will lead my companies successfully into the future.”
Ayabatwa, rose from being a Tutsi-Rwandan refugee in Burundi to a successful entrepreneur with just an eighth-grade education. While he had to create many of his own opportunities, his company, Pan African Tobacco Group and the other companies he founded along the years which produce products such as tea, plastic shoes, beer, snack foods and cements operates in 10 countries and trade in 27 countries in Africa and the Middle East today.
His businesses have been able to provide employment for about 26,000 people who in turn support at least 182,000– in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“My goal was never about making money; it was about building something up, creating something. That is what I tried to accomplish and that is the legacy I leave to my sons and son-in-law,” Ayabatwa, the father of six and grandfather of 14 said.