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The Basketball Africa League (BAL) (www.theBAL.com) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), France’s public development bank committed to financing and technical assistance for projects that improve the lives of people in developing and emerging economies, today announced AFD as an official partner of the BAL. The inaugural BAL season will tip off Sunday, May 16 at the Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, with 12 teams from across Africa competing in the new professional league. The first BAL Finals will be held Sunday, May 30.
Through the partnership, AFD will use the game of basketball to advocate for social development across the African continent, with a focus on disadvantaged communities. The partnership aims to advance access to education, wellness and greater inclusion of girls and women in all aspects of society as part of AFD’s support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Together, AFD and the BAL will promote Sport en Commun (Sport in Common) (www.SportenCommun.org/en/), a pan-African initiative established by AFD aimed at using sport as a tool for economic and social development in Africa. Based in Dakar, Sport en Commun supports and finances sports projects that impact development and social cohesion in Africa. AFD and the BAL will use this platform to highlight inspiring initiatives that provide skills and opportunities to young Africans.
“I am thrilled with this partnership between the Basketball Africa League and the Agence Française de Développement, which will help make sport a lever for sustainable development in Africa,” said AFD Chief Executive Officer Rémy Rioux. “This trailblazing league is a testament to the dynamic sports environment of a continent undergoing rapid economic and social change, and ushers in a new era of cooperation, working together through sports to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“AFD’s experience in driving social projects, combined with the love and passion for the game of basketball across the continent, will create a unique platform that will reinforce our belief that sports has the power to transform lives,” said BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall. “The BAL is the latest milestone in our efforts to grow the game in Africa, with the ultimate goal of impacting communities well beyond the court. We will use this partnership to provide Africa’s youth with resources, skills and opportunities they will utilise throughout their lives to influence positive social change for the continent.”
Following the conclusion of the inaugural BAL season, the BAL and its partners – including AFD – will host an Africa Youth Summit in Dakar, Senegal, where youth leaders and other stakeholders will discuss socioeconomic challenges and collaborate on practical solutions to address them, particularly through sports-related initiatives.
Champions from the national leagues in Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia earned their participation in the inaugural season. The remaining six teams, which come from Algeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda, secured their participation through BAL qualifying tournaments conducted by FIBA Regional Office Africa across the continent in late 2019.
Additional details about the BAL will be announced in the coming weeks.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of National Basketball Association (NBA).
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The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) implements France’s international development and solidarity policy. Through its public sector and NGO financing activities, research, and publications (AFD Publications), training on sustainable development (AFD Campus) and awareness raising activities in France, AFD finances, supports and accelerates the transition to a fairer and more sustainable world. AFD builds shared solutions with its partners, with and for the peoples of the South. AFD teams are involved in more than 4,000 projects, which are having a major impact in 115 countries, French overseas departments, and regions in crisis, for the common good: climate, biodiversity, peace, gender equality, education and health. AFD highlights the commitment of France and the French people towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
About the BAL:
The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA, is a new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa. The BAL, which is headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, builds on the foundation of club competitions FIBA Regional Office Africa has organized in Africa and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside North America. Fans can follow the BAL @theBAL on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and register their interest in receiving more information at www.theBAL.com.