DAKAR, Senegal, May 13, 2021/ — Visit Rwanda Designated a Founding and Host Partner; RwandAir Becomes the League’s Inaugural Season Official Airline; Inaugural BAL Season Will Take Place May 16-30 at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda.
The Basketball Africa League (BAL) and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) today announced a multiyear partnership that makes “Visit Rwanda” – the country’s marketing and tourism initiative – a Founding and Host Partner of the inaugural BAL season taking place May 16-30 in Kigali.
The partnership will showcase Rwanda as a world-class tourism and investment destination and highlight Africa’s growing sports industry. Games will be played at the Kigali Arena, and the Kigali Convention Centre will serve as the practice facility for all 12 BAL teams. Visit Rwanda will be showcased on BAL team uniforms, and the BAL and RDB will collaborate on youth development and social responsibility initiatives in Kigali during the season.
In addition, RwandAir, the country’s national carrier, will be the league’s Official Airline for the inaugural season and has facilitated travel to and from Kigali for select BAL teams and staff. RwandAir operates one of the youngest state-of-the-art fleets out of its Kigali hub. Earlier this year, RwandAir became the first African airline to vaccinate all staff and crew against COVID-19.
“As we set to tip off our league and make basketball history, teaming up with RDB and RwandAir reflects our belief that sports, and basketball in particular, can be an economic growth engine for the continent,” said BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall. “Rwanda is leading the way for tourism in Africa, and this partnership will highlight an African continent that is creative, vibrant and ready to tell its story.”
“We are thrilled to partner with the BAL as it gives us an invaluable opportunity to showcase the wonders of Rwanda,” said Rwanda Development Board CEO Clare Akamanzi. “As a Founding and Host Partner, we will reach millions of basketball fans from all around the world and promote Rwanda’s natural beauty, budding sports tourism, and conducive investment and business environment. Hosting the BAL in Rwanda is also a testament to Rwanda’s successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are pleased to welcome all the players and visitors to Rwanda for a safe and seamless experience.”
“As Rwanda’s national carrier, we’re honoured to be the official airline partner of the BAL,” said RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo. “We’re excited to play such a pivotal role in uniting teams across Africa for the inaugural season. In addition to vaccinating all RwandAir employees, we’ve implemented stringent health and safety protocols on board and at the airport. These measures mean that players and staff will have the highest level of reassurance and peace of mind on their journey to and from Kigali.”
Twelve teams from across the continent will compete in the inaugural BAL season. The Kigali Arena will host all 26 games of the competition, with the first BAL Finals taking place Sunday, May 30.