Sunderland AFC has announced that the pioneering Invest in Africa initiative will become the club's principal partner and shirt sponsor from the 2012-13 season onwards.
The club announced an initial partnership with Invest in Africa in January 2012, kicking off the ground-breaking not-for-profit initiative that will promote Africa as a leading investment destination and actively challenge misconceptions about investing on the continent.
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A first in British football, the move will see the Invest in Africa brand exposed to the Premier League's staggering worldwide audience of 4.7 billion people from the start of the forthcoming campaign, promoting the continent's credentials as a key global business destination along with offering companies across the North East and beyond the opportunity to explore opportunities to do business in Africa.
Sunderland AFC chairman Ellis Short said: "We are very proud to have augmented our relationship with Invest in Africa through this wonderful agreement.
"It is a partnership which sets a new benchmark for the club commercially but what stands out is while doing so, it truly gives something back to both our own region and to a continent which has become a firm part of our club's success story over recent seasons.
"Extending our relationship will enable us to put the club's knowledge and experience - allied with its immense global reach as part of the Premier League - fully into practice. It fits perfectly with our own aims as we continue showcasing Sunderland AFC to a global audience which simply loves football."
Sunderland AFC chief executive Margaret Byrne commented: "Africa has a wonderful passion for the game, something which is mirrored here in our own North East region. Both places are renowned for examples of how football can engage people and organisations to the extent where it changes lives.
"Sunderland AFC has established a reputation as a club which champions that idea. We take immense pride in using the power and pull of football responsibly to ensure it is driven towards strengthening our community and improving people's lives.
"The club's Foundation of Light has shown the benefits of encouraging new business partnerships and investment in the North East. With the Invest in Africa initiative, the club will continue to deliver the same positive impact to the local business community as well as communities across Africa."
Chief Executive of Tullow Aidan Heavey added: "At Tullow Oil we've known for years that Africa is a thriving and great place to do business. But potential foreign investors are still missing out because of outdated perceptions of what it's like to work in Africa.
"Invest in Africa wants to bridge this gap by challenging misconceptions, showing that Africa is open for business and helping more investors into Africa in partnership with local businesses.
"Ultimately this will make Africa a more stable and attractive place to work, which is in everyone's interests. Which is why we're delighted to be partnering with Sunderland AFC who share Invest in Africa's ambitions and desire to reach a global audience."
The move further underlines the Black Cats' affiliation with a continent in which its popularity is growing, with Ghanaian trio Asamoah Gyan, John Mensah and Sulley Muntari, Egypt international Ahmed Elmohamady and last season's Player of the Year, Benin playmaker Stéphane Sessègnon, all wearing the Black Cats' red and whites stripes since 2009.
Their presence has resulted in Sunderland becoming one of the most recognised Barclays Premier League clubs across Africa in recent seasons.