Sunderland have reached an agreement for non-profit organisation Invest in Africa to become the club's official partner and shirt sponsor.
The North-East outfit have penned a two-year deal, which will see them wear the name of the organisation on their shirt from the beginning of the 2012-13 Premier League season.
Invest in Africa is a partnership of leading companies which aim to promote private-sector based business opportunities on the continent.
Owner and chairman Ellis Short has expressed his delight at signing the deal: “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.
|40/1||Sunderland are 40/1 with Bet 365 to finish in the Premier League top four places next season|
"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." he told reporters.
Tullow Oil, Africa's largest independent oil company, is the founding partner of the 'project', which will open the club up to a global market.
Aidan Heavey, chief executive of the company, has reflected Short's views, and believes Sunderland's fan base will benefit greatly from the agreement.
He added: "There's a huge, growing population- the biggest young population on the planet is in Africa, and they are football-mad.
"Sunderland will become the Premier League club in Africa. Everybody will be wearing the Sunderland shirt, every kid in every school will want a shirt which says 'Invest in Africa', believe me.
"It will be the number one club, so what you are looking at is a huge market and huge exposure, and Sunderland will have that exposure."