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'Visit Rwanda', the story behind the training shirt Lionel Messi wears at PSG

2021-08-14T23:31:14.030Z

How one of the poorest countries in Africa came to shine among the most powerful players. 08/14/2021 3:22 PM Clarín.com Dresses Updated 08/14/2021 3:22 PM Lionel Messi is in the dressing room of his new team . He is already wearing the blue Paris Saint Germain pants and is still preparing to go to routine medical tests prior to signing the contract with the French club . He puts on his socks, sneakers and a white T-shirt with the institution's crest and a phrase on the back that caug



08/14/2021 3:22 PM

  • Clarín.com

  • Dresses

Updated 08/14/2021 3:22 PM

Lionel Messi is in the

dressing room of his new team

.

He is already wearing the blue Paris Saint Germain pants and is still preparing to go to routine medical tests prior to

signing the contract with the French club

.

He puts on his socks, sneakers and a white T-shirt with the institution's crest and

a phrase on the back that caught the attention of the general public: "Visit Rwanda."

Is it Rwanda, that little country in the center of Africa?

Yes. And what does it have to do with PSG?

Actually nothing, but also everything.

Is that

Paul Kagame

, the president of that nation marked by the terrible genocide of 1994, is a close friend of 

Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

, Emir of Qatar, who

acquired the Parisian club in 2011. 

How close are the Qatari emir and the African president?

 One sentence is enough to graph it.

In a public ceremony in

December 2019,

 attended by Gianni Infantino in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda,

Kagame, 63 years old and 21 in power, defined Al Thani

(43) as his

"younger brother"

.

Lionel Messi wears the training shirt before routine medical studies.

"Everything is linked,"

said Benjamin Augé, a researcher at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), to the Spanish site El Confidencial when referring to this

alliance between the African country and the Asian power.

"There is a very broad relationship between Rwanda and Qatar in terms of investments and projects.

Qatar wants to be the largest investor in Rwanda,"

the expert explained.

Why is Rwanda so interested in Qatar?

The specialist describes:

"Rwanda is not important in terms of market size, but it is a kind of strategic point in East Africa for Qatar."

From there it is understood that just five days after the agreement between the African country and PSG for the advertising on Les Parisiens clothing was formalized, Al Thani landed in Kigali to announce the

financing of 60% of the construction and operation project of a new international airport near the Rwandan capital.

Lionel Messi with a shirt loaded with geopolitics.

Capture PSG video.

A planned investment of 1,300 million dollars,

for a mega structure that will have capacity for

seven million passengers.

The shocking move seeks to make Rwanda the main logistics hub for Africa, overtaking Ethiopia and Kenya.

Thus, 

Qatar will try to escape the international blockade imposed by its neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Rwanda, in the heart of Africa, would give Qatar everything that its enemies deny it, 

for accusing it of supporting Islamic terrorism by groups like Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood.

Following this objective, it

is

also

seeking to acquire 49% of the flag airline RwandAir

, precisely the brand promoted by

"Visit Rwanda".

In parallel, as the Spanish site describes: "

Both countries have signed numerous bilateral agreements

ranging from fiscal cooperation to avoid double taxation on tourism, agriculture or technological exchange."

Rwanda, in the heart of Africa, would give Qatar everything that its enemies deny it.

(EFE)

"The work at the Kigali airport will be the largest investment ever made by Qatar in Africa," says Augé, who highlights:

"The relationship between the two leaders is very important. Al Thani respects the President of Rwanda a lot, and President Kagame does not they ask for money or donations, but investments.

They are not talking about politics: it is a relationship driven by business and the trust they have in each other. "


From this friendship also comes the low money that Rwanda pays to appear in the training shirt

worn by Messi, Neymar, Di María, Mbappe and all the stars of the most powerful squad in the world.

They are 10 million dollars

, which is far from the

50 million that Accor

, the sixth hotel group in the world,

signed

for exhibiting its brand at PSG.

Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar who bets on Rwanda as an ally.

(AFP)

The contract between the club and the African country also 

includes sporadic appearance on the digital billboards of the Parque de los Príncipes stadium during the matches.

And footballers are not left out because several stars of the Paris team have been seen

visiting the natural parks of Rwanda

and promoting tourism there, surrounded by gorillas and zebras.

In addition, only

Rwandan coffee and tea

are served at the stadium

.

A business that works

The advertising commitment (which is also seen in the English Arsenal) and the Qatari alliance have been working for Rwanda in economic matters.

In 2018,

tourism contributed 15% of the country's GDP and, until the outbreak of the pandemic, the trend continued to rise.

Matthew Rugamba

, a designer and owner of a clothing store in Kigali, is a soccer enthusiast who closely followed Messi's transfer to PSG until he signed.

He assured the local site The New Times that

the change from one of the most popular soccer players in the world to the French club is a great victory for Rwanda

, as its reputation will benefit the country's ambitious goal of increasing its visibility around the world.

"People are already asking for Messi jerseys in PSG colors as the new season begins."

Capture PSG video.

Rugamba said Messi wearing products under the

Visit Rwanda

brand

increases the country's visibility, adding that it shouldn't end there

as there are opportunities to make the most of visibility.

Hassan Nsengiyumva, owner of another sportswear store in Kigali called Magasin Sports Class, said the crowd's excitement is seen through

the number of orders that come in

from fans looking to own the jersey.

"

People are already asking

for Messi

jerseys

in PSG colors as the new season begins."

"Messi is a global superstar who has a large fan base. Many are already asking for his new jersey at PSG and

the demand is already growing in my store since he signed for PSG because they are associating it with the association he has with Rwanda".

Rwanda, between growth and tyranny

With a stability difficult to find in other countries in Africa and lower rates of corruption.

Rwanda was chosen by Qatar as a fundamental strategic ally in which it can trust and bet on the future.

 "In 2020 it was ranked 49th in Transparency International's corruption perception index, in which Kenya was 124th and Spain 32nd", the Spanish site explains.

Paul Kagame, a rebel leader who became president of Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. (Gerard Julien / Agence France-Presse - Getty Images)

Although, like the Asian giant,

Rwanda has many dark spots

.

It is that Kagame seems to have understood

the success of the management as an important aspect to remain in power forever.

And, just as it shows growth in a poor country, it also presents

iron fists for those who dare to face it.

At the head of the government since 2000, he modified the Constitution to run for a new term in 2017 and

won the elections with a controversial 98.8% of the votes.

His power is absolute and he makes his political rivals feel that they were

persecuted, arrested and expelled from the country

.

Furthermore, the Rwandan government is one of the clients of the questioned Israeli spyware Pegasus.

"Visit Rwanda" is just a phrase stamped on a training shirt,

but if Lionel Messi is wearing it, things grow to unsuspected levels.

Look also

Paris, surrendered at Messi's feet: "I'm very excited," Leo said to a crowd

Lionel Messi and Antonela Roccuzzo in Paris: the exclusive place they would choose to settle

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-08-14

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