NBA, bank partner on youth growth in Africa

French President Emmanuel Macron (c) delivers his speech during a meeting with former pro basketball players from NBA Africa and a training with young basketball players in the French Louis Pasteur high school on July 4, 2018, in Lagos. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Ludovic MARIN

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and France’s inclusive public development bank, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) are collaborating to provide financial and technical assistance for projects that will improve lives in developing and emerging economies.

The partnership is also to promote social inclusion by developing basketball infrastructure and conducting youth basketball programmes, events and initiatives in Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Senegal and other countries in the continent.

During the unveiling ceremony in Lagos on Wednesday, which had the French President, Emmanuel Macron, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema; and French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer AFD; in attendance, the AFD Chief Executive Officer, Rémy Rioux, said he was excited over the bond with the NBA, because sport and sustainable development is a natural match.

“Basketball is the second most popular sport on the continent, and it could 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,” Rioux said.

In his response, the NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall, stated that the basketball association looks forward to the partnership with the bank.

“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,” he stated.

According to NBA and AFD, their plan is to collaborate and expand their mutual and longstanding commitment in Africa, by investing in infrastructure development, providing basketball equipment and training to youth and coaches, and teaching life skills in select African countries.

The partnership is also to provide resources to local organisations and community leaders that focus on sustainable coaching, mentoring and leadership development.

NBA Global Ambassador, Dikembe Mutombo; former NBA players Ronny Turiaf, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Olumide Oyedeji and Obinna Ekezie were also around for the event.

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