Private sector should heed Mitali’s call

The Minister of Sports and Culture Protais Mitali on Wednesday appealed to the corporate world to support sports development in the country.

The Minister of Sports and Culture Protais Mitali on Wednesday appealed to the corporate world to support sports development in the country.

The minister was speaking at a banquet hosted by DHL Express in honour of the visiting former Manchester United ace Quinton Fortune, the South African-born who serves as the English football club’s Africa ambassador.

DHL, one of the many multinationals with a long history of strategic partnerships with sports teams around the world, are the official logistics partners for Manchester United.

Across the world, companies that have built such partnerships with sports teams and federations have seen their profiles elevated and therefore their market share.

Many multinational corporations have turned around their fortunes by making substantial investments in corporate social responsibility, particularly in areas that bring them closer to the masses. Sport is one of the best marketing avenues.

However, in Rwanda, and Africa, in general, only a handful of companies have understood the secret of marketing their business through sports, where they would easily connect with current and potential clientele.

It’s a no brainer that Rwandans love sports. And they want to succeed in every sport their clubs and country are involved with. Yet local businesses generally lack a culture of supporting sports disciplines, and the few that do it either invest too little or it’s an on-off affair.

This has hurt the country’s sports ambitions but also deprived the private sector the opportunity to make money and grow further.

In the recent past we have seen goodwill from global brands and icons that have expressed interest in helping advance Rwanda’s sport. Fortune’s visit followed that of former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, who announced a four-year programme to help promote chess in Rwandan schools.

All this should inspire our private sector to wake up and smell the coffee.

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