- Rwanda welcomed guests and friends of the game from around the world to the BAL Season 3 playoffs and finals.
- Egypt’s Al Ahly Basketball Club was crowned the 2023 BAL champion in Kigali.
- Rwanda and partners launched exciting initiatives that will shape the future of basketball in the country.
Rwanda has once again demonstrated its warm hospitality and capacity to host world class sporting events after successfully welcoming the third season of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) to Kigali.
Held at the iconic 10,000 seat BK Arena, the tournament showcased incredible talent and passion for basketball in Africa, while promoting Rwanda’s unique hospitality and vibrant tourism offerings.
Fans from across the world attended games, eagerly awaiting the final game of the 2023 BAL Season. Al Ahly Basketball Club emerged victorious with a resounding win over AS Douanes of Senegal, securing the championship title.
“Sport and entertainment are interconnected. Having the privilege of hosting the BAL, Rwanda has positioned itself as a platform to accelerate the development of these industries locally and across Africa,” said Aurore Mimosa Munyagaju, Rwanda’s Minister of Sports.
The tournament attracted prominent guests from around the world including:
- NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum
- FIBA President Hamane Niang
- FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis
- CAF President Patrice Motsepe
- NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams
In addition, Rwanda welcomed renowned basketball and entertainment figures such as Toronto Raptors’ President Masai Ujiri, two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng, Former NBA Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, Ian Mahinmi, and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, and Hollywood actor Forest Whitaker to name a few.
During the playoffs and finals, Visit Rwanda and partners introduced a series of initiatives and events that will have a significant impact on the future of basketball in Rwanda and Africa at large, including:
- Official opening of the 500-seat Kimironko Basketball Court
- Coaching clinics as part of the Jr. NBA programme
- BAL4HER Careers Sports Workshop
- BAL Innovation Summit
Additionally, participants who attended the finals took part in the monthly ‘’Umuganda’’ community work with President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame, which featured tree planting at Nyandungu Eco-Park.
Rwanda’s Chief Tourism Officer, Michaella Rugwizangoga highlighted the impact of hosting the BAL on Rwanda’s tourism sector.
“The Basketball Africa League has been a catalyst for tourism growth in Rwanda, attracting sports enthusiasts and international visitors to experience our vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes and hospitality. This tournament has positioned Rwanda as a leading sports and tourism destination in Africa, opening doors to a range of economic opportunities,” she said.
The venue, BK Arena, witnessed an energetic atmosphere throughout the playoffs and finals. The dedication and support shown by the fans contributed to the success of the event.
Rwanda looks forward to continuing its support of African basketball and sports in general, as well as welcoming future international sporting events that bring nations together and have a positive impact on the country’s economic development.
About Visit Rwanda
Visit Rwanda is the tourism-focused arm of the Rwanda Development Board, a government body responsible for fast-tracking Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Visit Rwanda works with local conservation, tourism, and development partners to create and sustain tourism products that benefit inbound tourists and local communities and wildlife ecosystems.
About the BAL
The BAL is a partnership between FIBA and the NBA, featuring 12 club teams from Africa. Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, it expands FIBA’s regional club competitions and represents the NBA’s first league outside of North America. Follow @theBAL on social media and visit www.theBAL.com for more information.