Tullow Oil in collaboration with UK-based Sunderland Football Club has launched a new business initiative dubbed “Invest in Africa” to attract and facilitate further investments in the continent.
The initiative 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.
Tullow Chief Executive Aidan Heavy said Tullow is the initial founding partner in ‘Invest in African’ with investments in at least 17 African countries, but plans on securing a further five founding partners for the international business community focused on Africa.
“Lots of the people I have spoken with about Africa in the international business community think of Africa in terms of charity and aid and not as an investment destination – but I believe Africa presents one of the best investment opportunities in the world today and this initiative is to promote that,” he said.
He noted that research has shown 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 the way of Africa.
Mr. Heavy said Tullow initially approach some of the English football clubs which are more popular and have a better presence in Africa than Sunderland does, but each of them were interested in what profits they would make rather than how they can impact Africa with their investment.
“Sunderland FC was the only club that welcomed our idea and grasped the vision and passion for Africa so we believe we have a great partner in Sunderland FC to achieve this goal,” he said.
Mr. Heavy said Africa has been good to Tullow and “we have been successful, but we want that success to bring growth for local people and economies too.”
Naill Quinn is the Director of International Development for Sunderland FC, of which Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan was once a striker; Naill said Sunderland is excited about the ground-breaking opportunity to bring Sunderland into new territories, adding that he believes the global appeal for the Premier League can be harnessed to benefit Africa.
He said 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, plus it 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.
Executive Chairman of Tullow Ghana, Ike Duker said the initiative would also rope in regulatory agencies and government institutions like the ministries, MMDAs and others with the view to creating the enabling environment for investment as Tullow and its private partners go a mission to bring in investors.
Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona/Adom News/Ghana