Kenyans were full of praise for Rwanda when country made history by being the shirt sponsor of Arsenal, in an effort to market the nation as a global tourist destination.
“Rwanda has become the official tourism partner of Arsenal and the Premier League football club’s first ever sleeve partner campaign dubbed #VisitRwanda And right now Rwanda is getting all the attention worldwide, and EPL hasn’t even started yet our country cannot even support our National Rugby team, a team that has always put Kenya on the global stage,” one Phillip Ogola posted on Facebook.
Well, looks like it’s only Kenyans who are amused by the Rwanda/Arsenal Sponsorship deal going by the criticism Kagame’s government has received following the deal especially from UK.
RWANDA ARSENAL SPONSORSHIP: MISPLACED PRIORITY?
“I don’t know much about advertising, but it’s like there’s always an excuse to keep poor people poorer. How did they come up with the $39 millions deal while 63% of Rwanda’s population lives on less than $1.2 a day?” Rwanda’s Gakuba Hirwa lamented on facebook.
An article published by the Daily Mail accusing Rwanda of misplaced priorities saying that despite the high funding from UK and other donor countries in foreign Aid to Rwanda, hospitals, schools, businesses and homes are without electricity much of the time.
“Most people survive on less than £1 a day under Kagame’s tightly controlled authoritarian regime. Meanwhile, teachers in some parts of Rwanda have not been paid for five months’’ the paper reported.
Members of the Dutch Parliament have since tasked the county’s minister for aid Sigrid Kaag to look into the sponsorship deal. They are suspicious that Rwanda are using Aid money to conduct sponsorship deals. They want their Govt to restart dialogue with Kagame. this is because Holland provides a lot of aid to Rwanda
The three-year Rwanda/Arsenal deal will also see a ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo embroidered on the left sleeve of the players jerseys in the next season.
The ‘Visit Rwanda’ sleeve sponsorship contract is touted as the biggest in the Premier League history and will reportedly earn Arsenal £10m-a-year, surpassing Chelsea’s sponsorship with Hyundai & Manchester City’s sponsorship with Nexen Tir.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Arsenal and showcasing the vibrancy and beauty of our country. Rwanda is a country pulsing with energy, creativity and innovation,” The Rwanda Development Board Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi said while announcing the deal.
VISIT RWANDA: DEAL OR NO DEAL?
The Rwandan government has however defended their move saying tourism is paramount in the country’s economy and the investment is worth it all and that the Arsenal Football Club partnership is part of Rwanda’s long-term tourism development and conservation strategy that is grounded in Vision 2050.
“Anyone who criticizes our deal with Arsenal on account of Rwanda being poor or an aid recipient, either wishes for Rwanda to be perpetually so, or doesn’t understand that in any business, marketing costs are a key component of a company’s expenditures,” Clare said.
“The Rwanda Development Board generates revenues from sale of tourism products, from which it uses a portion to market its products for further growth. The Arsenal deal falls within this arrangement, just like our tourism exhibitions, sales consultancies ,” she further stated.