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Arsenal Football Club Caught In The Centre of Rwanda’s Tourism Controversy

Rwanda’s 30 pounds million sponsoring of
English Premier League giants Arsenal has
created controversy in Britain after Arsenal
announced that the Rwandan government will be
their sleeve sponsor to market the east African
nation’s tourism.
The Rwandan government paid the Premier League side £30
million for a three-year deal to have the logo “Visit Rwanda”
feature on the sleeves of Arsenal shirts and pitch-side screens.
With Britain expected to pour in £62 million relief aid money to
Rwanda this year alone, the deal has triggered anger especially
from Tory MP Andrew Bridgen who has described it as “an own
goal for foreign aid.”
“If this isn’t a perfect own goal for foreign aid, I don’t know what
is. It serves to expose the complete idiocy this system is based
on.”
Much of the criticism stems from the fact that while poverty is a
major concern in Rwanda, the country still found it prudent to
lavish Arsenal with millions in cash.
Most of the criticism is aimed at Rwanda President Paul Kagame,
while exiled London-based Rwandan human rights activist Rene
Mugenzi has branded the deal as “obscene.”
“It is hard to believe that Arsenal really conducted due diligence on
this obscene deal, and they should scrap it,” Mugenzi said.
“How can a country which receives tens of millions of UK aid start
spending money on a football club in London, just because the
president supports them? Britain should stop giving money to
Rwanda because it just frees up their government to spend money
on crazy things like this.”
See his tweets below;

On the other hand, the Rwanda Development Board CEO Clare
Akamanzi has defended the deal, lauding it as a big move which
will boom tourism for the country.
Arsenal have also hailed the partnership as ideal to promote
Rwanda’s tourism because “the Arsenal shirt is seen 35 million
times a day globally.”

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