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NBA and AFD to collaborate on youth development in Africa - Jul 10, 2018


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OLUSEGUN IKUESAN
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The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), France's inclusive public development bank committed to financing and technical assistance for projects that improve the lives of people in developing and emerging economies, announced recently their plan to jointly promote social inclusion by developing basketball infrastructure and conducting youth basketball programs, events and initiatives in Cote d'Ivoire, Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria and select other African countries.

The announcement was made in Nigeria commercial city, Lagos by President of France, Emmanuel Macron; AFD Chief Executive Officer, Remy Rioux; and NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall; in the presence of NBA Global Ambassador, Dikembe Mutombo; former NBA players Ronny Turiaf, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Olumide Oyedeji and Obinna Ekezie; Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; and the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer; during a basketball clinic at Lycee Francais Louis Pasteur School.

The NBA and AFD plan to collaborate on and expand their mutual and longstanding commitment in Africa by investing in infrastructural development, providing basketball equipment and training to youth and coaches, and teaching life skills in select African countries. The NBA and AFD also plan to provide resources to local organizations and community leaders that focus on sustainable coaching, mentoring and leadership development. Their common mobilization will aim to combine sport practice with educational training activities to raise awareness among youth on issues including sustainable development, education, health and wellness, citizenship, social inclusion, gender equality, and entrepreneurship.

'We're thrilled to partner with the NBA in Africa, because sport and sustainable development are a natural match,' said AFD Chief Executive Officer, Remy Rioux. 'Basketball is the second most popular sport on the continent, and it can be a powerful driver for sustainability, addressing unmet needs in urban development, education, creating new opportunities for the African youth, promoting values of openness, tolerance and gender equality, and connecting communities and people.'

'We're excited to work with AFD, which shares our commitment to using sport as a vehicle to drive positive social and economic change in Africa,' said NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall. 'We look forward to collaborating with AFD to scale up our existing efforts in Africa, and to identify new opportunities to use the transformative power of basketball as a platform for youth empowerment across the continent.'

Sport is now an essential part of AFD's strategy and a major tool for sustainable development, particularly in Africa, where half of AFD's activity is concentrated. In its sport and development offerings, AFD aims to promote community sport by supporting local initiatives, diversifying its financing methods, creating international partnerships, and mobilizing the private sector for the development of a dynamic sports sector.

The NBA has a long history of engagement in Africa with 12 African-born players featured on NBA rosters at the start of the 2017-18 season. There are more than 80 current and former NBA players from Africa or with direct family ties to the continent, including Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria) and Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Through NBA Cares, 77 places where children and families can live, learn or play have been created in Africa. Basketball Without Borders (BWB), the NBA and FIBA's global basketball development and community outreach program, has been held in Africa 15 times, with 10 former BWB Africa campers drafted into the NBA.

The Jr. NBA, the league's global youth basketball program for boys and girls, teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game - teamwork, respect, determination and community - at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. During the 2017-18 season, the NBA reached more than 26 million youth in 71 countries through a variety of camps, clinics, skills challenges, league play and outreach events. The NBA conducts Jr. NBA programs for boys and girls ages 16 and under in 13 African countries: Angola, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal and South Africa.

In April 2017, the NBA and SEED Project (Sports for Education and Economic Development), a non-profit organization based in Thies, Senegal that uses basketball as a platform to engage youth in academic, athletic and leadership programs, announced the official opening of The NBA Academy Africa. An elite basketball training center in Thies for the top male and female prospects from throughout Africa, The NBA Academy Africa is the first of its kind on the continent.

The league opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010. The NBA has held two Africa Games, in Johannesburg in 2015 and 2017, in support of charities including UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children's Villages South Africa (SOSCVSA). The NBA Africa Game 2018, the NBA's third game in Africa, will take place Saturday, Aug. 4 at 5:00 pm CAT at Sun Arena at Time Square in Pretoria, South Africa. In honor of the centenary of Nelson Mandela, the game will be played in support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.   




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