Pan African Tobacco Group (PTG), Africa’s largest indigenous producer of cigarettes and other Tobacco products, reached a milestone recently by celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Rwandan multi-millionaire businessman Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa (in featured photo) founded the company in 1978 when he began manufacturing cigarettes in Burundi in 1978 after a successful stint as a commodity trader across Africa.
Ayabatwa subsequently established a manufacturing plant in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1984, and later expanded into the South African market in 1991. Between 1996 and 2011, PTG commenced manufacturing in Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria and South Sudan. The company’s latest addition is the processing plant in Arua, Northern Uganda, established in 2013.
At a glamorous ceremony in Ras Al Khaimah on the 16th of December, PTG recognized the hard work and dedication of its employees and managers, especially those individuals who have been with the company since its founding.
“It gives me great pride in recognizing the commitment of PTG employees, our clients, and business partners in celebrating our company’s 40th anniversary. We have come a long way since the business was started forty years ago. And are very excited about our future as PTG continues to thrive,” Ayabatwa said in a private conversation with this reporter.
Ayabatwa also expressed his gratitude to the communities as well as government functionaries in the countries where PTG does business.
“Forty years ago, we took the first step of building a uniquely indigenous African company not driven only by the profit motive but in seeking to work with families and communities so that they can improve their own livelihoods. Public authorities also greatly facilitated our work for which we are most thankful,” he said.
Ayabatwa, who is one of Africa’s most notable philanthropists, said his most memorable accomplishment has been working with families and communities in the various regions in which PTG does business. “Poverty has long been an endemic problem in Africa. It has been my lifelong goal to provide opportunities especially for African youth,” Ayabatwa said. “Having been denied a formal education after the eighth grade, I had to work that much harder to prove myself. I do not want any child to experience that. This is why PTG works with communities to make it easier for young people to get the education they need to succeed. Education is the ticket from poverty.”
Operating across Africa and in the United Arab Emirates, PTG is a homegrown company with deep roots in each sub-region of the continent. In PTG’s forty-year history, the company evolved to become one of Africa’s indigenous manufacturers of consumer goods. PTG has manufacturing facilities and assets in Angola, Burundi, DR Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, Ugandan and the United Arab Emirates.
The company not only employs a significant number of full-time and seasonal employees across Africa, but it also supports hundreds of tobacco farmers. Further, PTG stimulates secondary businesses such as transporters and other suppliers to its manufacturing processes. Lastly, PTG enables its host countries to generate foreign currency by exporting its products.