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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 has 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 on 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.