A new business initiative called “Invest in Africa” has been launched in Accra by Tullow Oil Ghana in collaboration with UK-based Sunderland FC.
The initiative is to attract and facilitate further investments in Africa.
It is intended to promote Africa’s investment opportunities to the international business community through football, and encourage long-term investment across the continent to help build and develop local capacity, boost domestic job markets, develop skills and stimulate economic growth.
Aidan Heavy, Chief Executive of Tullow however noted that the company is the initial founding partner in ‘Invest in Africa’ with investments in 17 African countries, adding that plans on securing further five founding partners for the international business community is focused on Africa.
He noted with grave concern that people he had earlier on spoken with concerning Africa in the international business community, see Africa as charity and aid dependent and not as an investment destination.
“Africa presents one of the best investment opportunities in the world today and this initiative is to promote Africa,” he stressed.
He noted that research indicates that more than four billion people watch the English Premiership every week and that meant if Africa’s business opportunities could be brought to the attention of that huge number, substantial international investment would come to Africa.
Mr. Heavy hinted that Tullow initially approached some of the popularly known English football clubs which have better presence in Africa than Sunderland, but were all interested in the profits they would make rather than how they can impact Africa with their investment.
He was enthused Sunderland FC was the only club that welcomed the idea and could envisage the vision and had the passion for Africa adding, so we believe we have a great partner in Sunderland FC to achieve this goal,” he said.
Naill Quinn, Director of International Development for Sunderland FC, said Sunderland was excited about the ground-breaking opportunity to bring Sunderland into new territories, and believes the global appeal for the Premier League can be harnessed to benefit Africa.
He further stressed that Sunderland was not in the Invest in Africa deal for profit, but to use its appeal to promote investment and development in Africa.
Sunderland would use its television presence, football pitch and other outdoor opportunities to promote the Invest in Africa message, and also plans to touch base with local people in Africa and help young people develop their talents in both soccer and other career choices in the future.
Tullow Ghana Executive Chairman Ike Duker, also said the initiative would rope in regulatory agencies and government institutions like the ministries, MMDAs and others with the view to creating the enabling environment for investment.