The World Bank on Wednesday refuted reports indicating that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) may have pulled out of the methane gas venture in Rwanda.
The private Rwanda News Agency (RNA) quoted Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank country manager, as saying that the IFC, which is the World Bank's private sector lending arm, is "still engaged" in the Lake Kivu methane project.
Following a recent heated confrontation between the Rwandan government and Norwegian contractor Dane Associates over functional disagreements, media reports surfaced suggesting that the IFC had expressed dissatisfaction with the progress of the project.
Reports suggested at the time that the IFC had asked the Rwandan government to go back to the drawing board with its private partners and come up with a constructive way forward before it (IFC) would reengage in the project.
"The IFC has not declined to be part of the methane project. They are still involved," said Kwakwa, who took over as Rwanda country manager in January this year.
A total of 3.5 million U.S. dollars are due to be approved by the IFC as guarantee for the project, she said, adding that the injection will apparently be approved later this year as part of financial year 2008 World Bank allocations for Rwanda.
IFC regional envoy Thierry Tanoh said in August last year on his trip in Rwanda that the body would be actively engaged in the methane gas extraction project in addition to other commitments.
It is not the first time that the Rwandan government and the IFC may have gone to opposite sides in their relationship.
In December last year, the Rwandan government ordered that the IFC revisit the tendering process of local carrier Rwandair Express after apparently noting flaws in the process that saw Belgian carrier SN Brussels take over Rwandair Express.
The Rwandan government had been looking out for an international strategic airline partner to whom 40 percent of Rwandair shares would be sold.
The airline privatization proposal demands that the Rwandan government retain 30 percent shares in Rwandair and sell out 40 percent to a strategic airline partner and 30 percent to private Rwandan business people.