Invest in Africa day at the SoL

by Kate Smith

Club backs partner initiative.

Sunderland AFC’s first team squad are set to kick-off a campaign to promote 2013 as the perfect time for businesses to reconsider misconceptions towards investing in Africa.

The Black Cats stars will take to the field in the pre-game warm up ahead of Saturday’s clash with Spurs sporting t-shirts emblazoned with the challenging question ‘2013 – Time to Invest in Africa?’ across the front. The back of the t-shirts showcase a range of compelling economic statistics from a continent where average economic growth will be 4.8% in 2013, compared to forecasts of 0.9% in the UK and similar austerity throughout Europe and America, these include:

  • 4.8% economic growth in 2013
  • 50% investment increase since 2005
  • No.1 fastest growing mobile phone market
  • 7/10 of the world’s fastest growing economies

Similar thought-provoking messaging will also run across the Stadium of Light’s pitchside LED boards throughout the match.

“2013 really is the year for businesses to fully realise the immense opportunity Africa offers,” said William Pollen, Programme Director of Invest in Africa. “The New Year traditionally starts with resolutions and we hope, through this impactful and eye-catching demonstration by Sunderland’s players, investors and businesses globally will see the unique opportunities Africa’s continual development presents them. As the club’s premier sponsor, Invest in Africa is challenging the business community at the dawn of a new year with a simple message: in 2013 it’s time to Invest in Africa.”

He added: “The economic facts about Africa speak for themselves. Increasingly, this growth and economic development is being supported by progressive political and social stability as well. Africa is clearly a credible & compelling business proposition but one that many businesses may still miss out on due to outdated misconceptions.

“At Invest in Africa we’re focused on demonstrating that, just like other emerging markets, Africa has its challenges, but with the right approach the reality is that doing business in Africa today is hugely rewarding. Our mission is to unlock that potential for the mutual benefit of Africa and the private sector, because it’s investment and trade that will continue to fuel Africa’s progress.”

Mike Farnan, Sunderland AFC’s Marketing Director said: “As we have seen with Sunderland’s own development work in Africa over recent months, it’s a thriving and exciting place to do business. The potential across the continent is enormous and with the global reach of the Barclays Premier League – which is shown in over 200 countries – we’ve got a great platform to showcase a powerful message.

“The statistics highlighted on the players t-shirts are a powerful visual testament to the astonishing rate that Africa is growing and developing. Sunderland AFC is proud to be playing its part in highlighting a great message that can benefit businesses both in our own North East region and beyond.”

Looking ahead to 2013, Invest in Africa will have particular focus on improving the business environment and increasing investment in their initial priority markets of Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.