When Rwanda sensationally signed a three-year tourism agreement with popular English Premier League side Arsenal Football Club in May last year the media went into a frenzy describing the deal as a coup.
One and a half years on evidence shows that the deal has already turned out to be a game changer in Rwanda Development Board’s efforts to promote Brand Rwanda – in terms of tourism, investments and general exposure of the country to the rest of the world.
From the number of people that are now visiting the country and those who now say that Rwanda is a potential destination for them to tourism receipts and growing opportunities for local businesses, it is safe to say that the Rwanda-Arsenal partnership was a masterstroke by the Rwanda Development Board.
And so you’d understand why social media went into overdrive when it emerged yesterday that RDB had yet again inked an even more comprehensive deal with French football powerhouse and serial winners Paris Saint-Germaine.
The lifestyle partnership will not only see the club’s men and women teams promote Rwanda on their training kit and shirts but will also see the country’s famed tea and coffee exclusively served at the club’s stadium, the famous 48000-seater Parc des Princes.
The agreement also includes promotion of a wide range of Made-in-Rwanda brands, including in fashion and arts, a development which has excited players in the local industry.
As is the case with the Arsenal deal, PSG players will also pay visits to Rwanda and help promote the country’s destinations, while the Qatari owned club will also help grow the country’s football.
Both Arsenal and PSG are huge global brands that are supported by millions around the world and whose football matches are among the most popular globally, and their partnerships with Rwanda will not leave the country the same.
In addition to investment and tourism benefits as well as exposure for local brands and attendant opportunities, greater visibility of Rwanda represents a huge boost to the country’s ambition of becoming a top Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) destination.
It’s obvious that the Return on Investment is massive for Rwanda and we can only congratulate those behind these strategic decisions and call on Rwandans, especially businesses, to strategically position themselves to make the most of the opportunities they come with.