PREMIER league football stars will take to the field this weekend wearing T-shirts calling for greater investment in Africa.
Sunderland’s first team will take part in the warm-up ahead of Saturday’s clash with Spurs wearing tops emblazoned with the question "2013 - Time To Invest In Africa?"
The back of the T-shirts will show economic statistics comparing Africa, where average economic growth ifs forecast to be 4.8 per cent in the coming year, to the UK, where growth is forecast to be 0.9 per cent.
Similar thought-provoking messaging will run on the Stadium of Light’s pitchside boards throughout the match.
William Pollen, programme director for club sponsors Invest In Africa, said: "2013 really is the year for businesses to fully realise the immense opportunity Africa offers.
"The New Year traditionally starts with resolutions and we hope, through this impactful and eye-catching demonstration by Sunderland’s players, investors and businesses globally will see the unique opportunities Africa’s continual development presents them".
He added: "The economic facts about Africa speak for themselves. Increasingly, this growth and economic development is being supported by progressive political and social stability as well.
"Africa is clearly a credible and compelling business proposition but one that many businesses may still miss out on due to outdated misconceptions."
Mike Farnan, Sunderland AFC’s Marketing Director said: "The potential across the continent is enormous and with the global reach of the Barclays Premier League – which is shown in over 200 countries – we’ve got a great platform to showcase a powerful message.
"The statistics highlighted on the players T-shirts are a powerful visual testament to the astonishing rate that Africa is growing and developing. Sunderland AFC is proud to be playing its part in highlighting a great message that can benefit businesses both in our own North-East region and beyond."