Today, The Sun has reported on the sponsorship of Arsenal FC by Visit Rwanda.
The piece implies that aid money is being used for the sponsorship deal. This is not correct. DFID does not give any money to Visit Rwanda or the Rwanda Development Board.
The piece also says that "Rwanda relies on aid for nearly half of its budget". This is incorrect. Global financial aid is currently 16% of Rwanda’s budget. This has fallen from around 60% ten years ago as Rwanda has grown its economy, tackled extreme poverty and become less dependent on aid.
UK aid to Rwanda has been decreasing for several years, as we have been supporting Rwanda to stand on its own two feet, provide for its own people and invest in its own economy and resources.
All UK aid to Rwanda is earmarked for specific programmes only, such as education and agriculture, and we track results to ensure our programmes are delivering lifechanging results for Rwanda’s poorest people while encouraging Rwanda to take more responsibility for providing its own essential services.
The piece also says there is little evidence of development results in Rwanda. Official statistics show that Rwanda is making good progress tackling poverty. Rwanda has lifted almost two million people out of poverty since 2005 and the economy has grown at an average of 8% per year since 2000. Rwanda has made more progress against the Human Development Index (an official indicator of life expectancy, education and income) than any other country in the world.
The money for this deal has come from revenue that Rwanda has generated from its existing tourism industry, which is a significant source of income for the country. Tourism is already Rwanda’s highest earner of foreign exchange, ahead of tea, coffee and minerals combined.