|A poster showing the new Rwanda-Arsenal partnership. Rwanda on May 23, 2018 became the official tourism partner of English football club Arsenal FC, whose players will sport a "Visit Rwanda" logo on their sleeves.|
Visit Rwanda, the nation’s tourist board, has come under fire for spending a reported £30 million to have its brand name displayed on the shirt sleeves of the north London Premiership team next season. Rwanda, one of the poorest countries in the world, with 63 per cent of the population living in extreme poverty, according to the World Bank, receives as much as £62 million a year in foreign aid from the UK.
Clare Akamanzi, chief executive of the Rwanda Development Fund, defended the partnership on Tuesday, telling the BBC that the three-year deal was funded by “money that we directly generated from tourism”. She said also that the deal cost “less than” £30million.
“We sell 96 gorilla permits a day, each gorilla permit costs $1,500, that means we make more than $50 million a year,” she said.
Rwanda’s tourism industry contributes to 12.7 per cent of the country’s GDP, supporting 132,000 jobs.
The country is best-known for its 480-strong mountain gorilla population, for which people travel from all over the world to see, paying £1,300 for a permit to enter the Volcanoes National Park with a guide to track down the roaming animals.