Kagame’s Arsenal Strategy To Grow Tourism Is Bogus

By David Himbara


President Paul Kagame and Rwanda Development Board boss, Clare Akamanzi came up with a strategy of building tourism. They paid $40 Million to Arsenal Football Club. Arsenal players will wear on their sleeves ”made in Rwanda”. Kagame and Akamanzi said that over 35 million people watch Arsenal games and that some of these will flock to Rwanda in their millions as tourists. Rwandan tourism will double from US$400 Million to US$800 Million by 2020.

Most of Arsenal’s 35 million fans are not in rich countries that produce tourists

Evidently, Arsenal has an impressive global presence with 37.9 million fans spread across the world. However, most of Arsenal fans are NOT located in rich countries that produce millions of tourists. Most of Arsenal’s fans are in developing countries. The top ten countries with Arsenal fans are as follows:

Indonesia — 3.5 Million Arsenal fans


Egypt — 2.4 Million Arsenal fans


Vietnam — 1.9 Arsenal fans

Thailand — 1.6 Arsenal fans


India — 1.5 Million Arsenal fans


Nigeria — 1.2 million Arsenal fans

Britain — 1.2 million Arsenal fans

Brazil — 1.2 million Arsenal fans

Mexico — 1.1 million Arsenal fans

Malaysia — 1.1 million Arsenal fans


Most of the people who support and watch Arsenal games are not located in rich countries. They are from the developing world. There is only one rich country among the top ten countries with Arsenal fans — that is Britain. The rest of the top ten where Arsenal fans are located are Indonesia, Egypt, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico, and Malaysia. These countries hardly send tourists abroad. The Kagame/Akamanzi strategy of using Arsenal to grow tourism is bogus.