Rwanda signed a deal on Wednesday with French soccer club Paris St Germain to promote tourism in the east African nation, its second such agreement since last year.
“We invest part of our tourism revenues in strategic collaborations such as the one with Paris St Germain because we understand the positive effect they have on the overall perception of the country globally,” the Rwanda Development Board’s chief executive, Clare Akamanzi, said in a statement after the signing.
Akamanzi did not say how much Rwanda would pay for the deal. A source close to the French club said it was worth between 8 and 10 million euros (£6.87 and £8.59 million).
Under the deal, PSG will promote Rwandan products, while messages promoting Rwanda will be displayed on its women’s team kit and in the club’s stadium.
PSG said on Twitter that it had signed a deal “inviting the world to participate in the remarkable transformation of Rwanda”.
Last May, Rwanda signed a sponsorship and tourism promotion deal with the English soccer club Arsenal.
Rwanda earned $380 million from tourism in 2018, the central bank said last month, and was forecast to earn $405 million this year. It expects to earn $800 million by 2024, mainly from conferences and high-end tourists who trek with gorillas.
How Rwandan brands will benefit from the PSG deal
Rwandan brands are upbeat on the opportunities that will stem from the newly signed partnership agreement between the government and French football club, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).
This is Rwanda’s second football club sponsorship deal following a three-year deal signed with Arsenal FC in May 2018.
The agreement announced on Wednesday December 4, among other things has provisions to showcase and promote the visibility of Rwandan brands and tourism in Paris.
The three-year deal will see local fashion and design, Rwandan art and culture, coffee and tea and well as tourist attractions gain visibility through the club.
Among the parameters upon which the agreement will be reviewed according to government is growth in volume of sales of Rwandan products.
According to Rwanda Development Board CEO Clare Akamanzi, the partnership will jointly select players in the Rwandan Fashion and Arts Industry and showcase them globally through PSG platforms.
Rwandan-based brands who spoke to The New Times are excited about the development saying that it’s an avenue to grow the industries and increase impact on the economy.
Linda Mukangoga Ndungutse, the founder of Haute Baso a popular fashion brand said that the new deal promises multiple opportunities for the Rwandan industry such as access to a new mass market, interaction with buyers from France and Europe as well as collaboration opportunities with other stakeholders.
She said that with increased demand for Rwandan fashion and art products would also come opportunities to work with other stakeholders consequently increase value and impact of fashion industry in the country.
“Paris and France are well known for quality fashion, access to the market will also lead the Rwandan industry to re-evaluate its innovation, quality and dynamism,” she said.
Other brands see the new deal as a chance to re-strategize and develop global market capturing plans.
Mathew Rugamba, the Founder and Proprietor of House of Tayo a popular clothing brand said that the partnership opens up a huge opportunity for local brands to debut on the global market.
“As brands, it’s time to development new business plans and mobilise resources to make the most of the opportunity. The common challenge for local brands has been not being adequately seen, this changes,” he said.
On whether Rwandan brands are ready for a global platform, Rugamba said they were ready in terms and would even bring out potential they have had but held back due to micro-economic factors such as disposable incomes.
According to Rugamba, the development could also have impacts such as increased investment and entrance of stakeholders in the Rwandan fashion value chain in different capacities such as manufacturing raw materials, retailing, sourcing among others.
Moses Turahirwa, the founder and Creative Director of Moshions, a fashion house with Rwanda heritage themed products said working with PSG and accessing a bigger market will increase their role and impact on the national economy.
Beyond growing volume of exports, Turahirwa said that they will have impact in ways such as job creation, working with more suppliers, more trainings to staff among others.
He said that previous years of work and production have grown their confidence in their ability to meet global quality as well as best ways to place their products on a global market.
For instance, Moshions is often viewed as a luxury limited edition product as opposed to a mass market product. This is likely to be carried on as the brand debuts the global market.
Akamanzi said that prior to inking the deal, the two partners have reviewed the local market to ascertain that there were market ready brands.
“When the PSG team came to visit Rwanda, they went around and saw products that they found to be unique. Some companies are ready for that, others need to keep working to be more competitive. According to RDB, at the moment, there is enough to take to the world,” Akamanzi said.
Rwanda will also be the exclusive suppliers of coffee and tea at Parc des Princes, (PSG’s home stadium) starting next season. Rwanda is also going to showcase Rwanda’s brands at a week-long event in Paris.
The deal was also partly informed by the impact of the Arsenal FC sponsorship signed last year.
Aware of the criticism that often comes with such investment with critics terming it as costly and misplaced priority, RDB said that such partnerships lead to brand awareness who value outweighs any investments Rwanda may have made in the process.
For instance, the Arsenal deal has grown Rwanda’s profile as a tourism destination globally.
Before the announcement of the Arsenal FC partnership, a survey of 20,000 Arsenal fans across 30 markets conducted by Hall and Partners found that 71 per cent did not think of Rwanda as a tourist destination.
A year on, 51 per cent of respondents stated that the partnership made them more likely to consider Rwanda as a tourist destination demonstrating the shift in perception and understanding of the country.
The Rwanda-PSG deal in summary
1. The agreement will see the promotion of Rwanda’s tourism destinations as well as other Made-in-Rwanda initiatives such as fashion, arts and coffee and tea on a global platform.
2. Rwanda is going to be the exclusive suppliers of coffee and tea at Parc des Princes (PSG’s home stadium) starting next season.
3. PSG approached Rwanda. PSG was one of the many sports clubs that approached Rwanda on seeing the unique partnership with Arsenal
4. PSG was selected for its appeal to the global youthful population, fast-growth and vibrancy. It’s viewed as a lifestyle appeal brand in Europe.
5.It’s a three-year deal whose costs cannot be disclosed due to the confidentiality of the agreement.
6.Sectors and industries that stand to benefit most include; tea and coffee, fashion, arts and culture as well as tourism.
7.Impact of the deal be measured by the sales of products on the global market among other ways.
8. PSG is a Qatari owned club based in France with the agreement reflecting warm ties with the two countries. Government said that they are considering at different investments with the countries.
9. The Visit Rwanda-Arsenal partnership informed the new deal as it has increased the profile of Rwanda on the global market. Today, 142,000 Rwandans are directly employed in the tourism industry, up from 90,000 in 2017
10. Local brands have been urged to get ready for the opportunity to appeal to the global market. Urged on need to improve standards, quality, and uniqueness.