By our reporter
Early this week, Rwanda signed a three-year shirt sleeve sponsorship deal with English Premier League club Arsenal FC worth £30 million.
The ‘Visit Rwanda’ tourist board’s logo will feature on the Gunners’ official jerseys from next season and will run until the end of 2020/21.
However, this move did not go well with some parties in United Kingdom.
Furious critics of the UK’s £13 billion-a-year foreign aid programme said the deal proves that British taxpayer cash is being flagrantly wasted.
Last year, Britain gave £27 million directly to the Rwandan government for poverty relief and spent a further £37 million on aid projects in the country.
According to UK’s Mail Online, despite the vast amounts of cash being given by the UK and other countries, hospitals, schools, businesses and homes are without electricity much of the time.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen described the deal as ‘an own goal for foreign aid’. ‘This is absolutely astonishing,’ he added.
‘British taxpayers will be rightly shocked to learn that a country supported by huge handouts from the UK is in turn pumping millions into a fabulously rich football club in London. It’s ludicrous.
‘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.’
London-based Rwandan human rights campaigner Rene Mugenzi, whose life is under threat from Kagame’s hitmen, said: ‘It is hard to believe that Arsenal really conducted due diligence on this obscene deal, and they should scrap it.
‘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 Paul Kagame supports them?
‘Britain should stop giving money to Rwanda because it just frees up their government to spend money on crazy things like this.’
A Department for International Development spokesman said: ‘All UK aid to Rwanda is earmarked for specific programmes, such as education and agriculture.
We track results to ensure value for money for UK taxpayers. We are helping Rwanda to stand on its own two feet.’
An Arsenal spokesman said: ‘Rwanda… is now regarded as one of the most advanced and respected countries in Africa.
‘We believe that, having conducted due diligence, it is a partnership that will help Rwanda meet their tourism goals while developing football in the country.’