Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and The Basketball League Africa (BAL) have announced a partnership renewal that will see Rwanda continue to host the prestigious continental basketball tournament till 2028.
The announcement to extend the existing collaboration was made Monday at a joint press conference addressed by the Minister of Sports, Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju, RDB CEO Clare Akamanzi, Amadou Gallo Fall, President and CEO, The BAL and RwandAir CEO, Yvonne Makolo.
The multi-year deal with see BK Arena host more BAL games, including playoffs and finals in 2024, 2026 and 2028. Under the renewed partnership, the national carrier RwandAir will continue to be the Official Airline Partner of the BAL.
The extension will see “Visit Rwanda” – the country’s marketing and tourism initiative – continue as a Foundational and Host Partner of the BAL. Through the agreement, Visit Rwanda will continue to be showcased on BAL team uniforms and at the BAL Combine.
“We are excited to extend our collaboration with the Basketball Africa League. With the great memories from the last season of the BAL finals still fresh in our minds, we are truly excited to find out what the next five years have in store for us,” RDB CEO Akamanzi said.
“We have seen tremendous success and return on investment over the last three years and look forward to doing much more together. We are also glad to be part of shaping up Africa’s basketball growth story, not only through hosting The BAL games, but also implementing youth development and social impact programs.”
“The BAL has proven to be a great unifier, and we remain committed to showcasing the best Rwanda has to offer in terms of tourism, investment opportunities, talent development, Made in Rwanda products and much more to the world. With the BAL and other major events, Rwanda is the home for sport in Africa,” she added.
Fall said that The BAL extending its partnership with Rwanda is a result of the success of the past tournaments, which proved that the country has positioned itself to host such global events and extending the collaboration means that there is even more to come.
“The Rwanda Development Board, as a Foundational Partner, has been integral to the launch and continued growth and success of the Basketball Africa League over our first three seasons,” Fall said.
“Coming out of our most competitive and compelling season yet, we’re excited to renew our collaboration with RDB that will bring BAL games as well as youth development and social impact programs to Rwanda for years to come,” he added.
The Minister of Sports hailed the collaboration, saying that it will go a long way in the development of the sport in Rwanda and usher in more opportunities for.
“We will keep ensuring that this partnership strengthens the core of our sports industry, from talent development programs to capacity strengthening initiatives to further job creation opportunities for Rwandans,” Minister Munyangaju said.
The RwandAir CEO said that the airline will continue to leverage the power of the BAL, to position itself as the official carrier of the stars and visitors coming to Rwanda for the tournament, which in just three years has gained international recognition.
“RwandAir is proud to be a partner of the Basketball Africa League and we are excited to see the Rwandan Development Board continue to bring world-class basketball to Rwanda. We know how sport can bring communities together as teams compete to win and celebrate the power of teamwork and know the extended partnership will further strengthen those bonds,” Makolo said.
“We are also focused on our goal of delivering world-class customer service as we bring people together through our extensive route network, and we look forward to flying fans and players over the coming years,” she added.
This year Rwanda hosted the finals of the 3rd edition in May, which saw Egyptian side Al Ahly crowned champions after defeating Senegal’s AS Douanes 80-65 in a final dominated by the North African side on May 27.
The BAL is professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa, established through a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), with a vision of developing competitive basketball on the African continent.
The BAL builds on the foundation of club competitions FIBA has organized in Africa and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside North America.
A partnership between the BAL and Visit Rwanda as the official founding and host partner, saw Rwanda host the first-ever Basketball Africa League tournament at the BK Arena during its first three seasons in 2021 2022 and 2023 playoffs and finals from 20 – 27 May.
The partnership aims at positioning as a world-class tourism and investment destination as well as project Rwanda as a continental hub for sporting events and sports-based tourism. The partnership between Visit Rwanda and the Basketball Africa League had ended with the third edition.