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Rwanda defends Arsenal deal

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Rwanda defends Arsenal deal

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Rwanda has defended its €34.5 million Arsenal sponsorship deal that will see players from one of the game's richest clubs sport ‘Visit Rwanda’ on their shirt sleeves for the next three years.

Kigali says the deal aims to increase tourism, investment and football development in the country.

Critics have accused President Paul Kagame, an ardent Arsenal fan, of sponsoring his favourite club.

But Kigali says the money is part of its marketing budget and was sourced from funds earned from tourism.

Critics question why Rwanda, a donor-dependent country and one still grappling with high levels of poverty, would spend such a huge sum of money.

Tourism is the biggest foreign exchange earner in the East African nation, which is trying to lay to rest memories of a 1994 genocide which saw the killing of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans - Tutsi and moderate Hutu - by Hutu extremists.