Foreign aid in question after Rwanda sponsors Arsenal for £30m

Politicians call for investigation into aid to Rwanda after the impoverished African state was exposed paying £30m to sponsor Arsenal

  • Arsenal is the favourite club of scandal-hit Rwandan President Paul Kagame 
  • Club will get £10million a year to display ‘Visit Rwanda’ on players’ shirt sleeves 
  • Leaders in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK are calling for an investigation 

International politicians have called for an investigation into aid to Rwanda after The Mail on Sunday revealed the impoverished African state is paying £30 million to sponsor Arsenal football club.

This newspaper revealed last week how the Premier League club will get £10 million-a-year for three years to display the slogan Visit Rwanda on players’ shirt sleeves and on hoardings at the side of the pitch.

Arsenal is the favourite football team of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, whose regime has been widely criticised for human rights abuses.

The astonishing payout by Rwanda, which gets £62 million a year in UK aid and vastly more from other countries, has prompted an international outcry.

Revealed: A Mail on Sunday report last week exposed the bizarre £30million payout from Rwanda to Arsenal to get players to sport ‘Visit Rwanda’ slogans on their sleeves

Leading German MP Dr Christoph Hoffmann of the Free Democratic Party called for a ‘reversal’ of the policy which sees Germany handing £30 million a year to Rwanda. 

‘A deal that obviously has to do with the president’s personal preference for a football club is not a good advertisement for a state’s tourism industry,’ he said.

He suggested a social media campaign costing ‘less than a tenth as much’ would be much more effective.

In Holland, which gives around £44 million-a-year to Rwanda, parties from the Christian Democrats to the opposition GroenLinks (GreenLeft) demanded clarification. 

GroenLinks MP Isabelle Diks said: ‘It is good that Rwanda tries to give the economy a boost but it is disheartening that this type of spending is being made while the international community is trying to combat terrible poverty in the country.’

Rwanda’s deputy foreign minister Olivier Nduhungirehe defended the deal with Arsenal, saying the sponsorship money came from tourism.

‘Donors’ aid is well accounted for in Rwanda,’ he said. 

Pictured: Meanwhile Rwanadan refugees in Uganda are going hungry 

 

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