20 December 2012

Tanzania: Sunderland Officials to Meet Kikwete

ENGLISH Premier League club Sunderland has revealed plans to invest in Tanzania in a bid to promote the country's business opportunities and foster football development.

This was confirmed by the Director of Tourism at Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, Ibrahim Mussa, who said senior officials from Sunderland Association Football Club will today meet President Jakaya Kikwete at the State House in Dar es Salaam to discuss on investment opportunities in the country.

Mussa said Sunderland's delegation to Tanzania will be led by the current owner and the Chairman of the club, Ellis Short, who has shown interest to invest in various sectors. He said the discussion between President Kikwete and the Sunderland delegation will centre on four issues, including promotion of Tanzania as a unique tourist destination and make the country a training destination for English Premier League clubs.

Sunderland are expected to put forward their plans to invest on youth soccer development programmes and plans to influence the club's key business stakeholders to invest in Tanzania. According to Mussa, Short and co. were wooed to come to invest in the country after watching Tanzania's tourist adverts which are displayed in various stadia, during the English Premier League matches, including Sunderland's home venue, the Stadium of Light.

In 2010, the government forked about 800m/- (£700,000) to Football Association (FA) as advertisement fee in Premier League stadia in a bid to promote the country's vast tourism attractions to the outside world. And in this drive, Tanzania anticipated to double the number of tourists especially from the United Kingdom from the current 58,000 per year to over 100,000, at least at the end of last season's English Premier League.

But this Sunderland move was largely initiated in London last month when Short met the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Kagasheki. The meeting, which was made possible by Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA), and Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, sought on the possibility of Invest in Africa advancing to Tanzania.

June, this year, Sunderland announced an agreement with not-for-profit group Invest in Africa to become their official shirt sponsor. The Black Cats will wear the name of the organisation on their shirts for at least the next two seasons.

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