President Paul Kagame and Masai Ujiri, Founder of Giants of Africa and President of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors on Thursday, February 20, announced the inaugural Giants of Africa Festival that will take place in Rwanda, in August 2020.
The week-long festival will take place from 16-22 August, bringing together 200 youth, from 11 African countries, namely Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Mali, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Somalia.
The event intends to help young people celebrate the game of basketball and showcase their different respective cultures.
It will also see participants meet with inspiring industry leaders from around the world who will offer the youth with leadership and education seminars.
In his remarks, Kagame said that the festival is not only an opportunity for youth in Rwanda but also the whole continent.
He said: “I thank Masai for bringing this festival here, and this will benefit not only Rwanda but also Africa in general because it will provide a pathway for our young people to become giants.”
He added that: “Young people, you are giants in the making. This implies that there is enormous work ahead of you to do and will require that you work hard so as to fulfill the enormous potential you have.”
“We have to invest in ourselves and do what needs to be done, and especially take opportunities availed to us like this moment and this festival, for the African young people who form the majority of the population of our continent,” he added.
The President also reiterated that Rwanda will make sure that the event is successful.
Ujiri shared his reason for selecting Rwanda for the inaugural festival:
“The whole point of basketball and sports is to win whether on the court or off the court. I strongly feel in my heart that Rwanda is a winner,” he said, adding that: “Rwanda is a shining example and that should spread across the continent.”
Ujiri also mentioned that Africa must win in all aspects and at all costs.
Giants of Africa is an initiative that seeks to provide African youth access to professional basketball training and to empower them to achieve their full potential.
The program is in Rwanda since 2015 and so far has trained several young talented Rwandan basketball players.
Besides organizing basketball camps and community outreach, Giants of Africa also trains coaches whose skills are sharpened when working with top international coaches.
Since 2003, Ujiri’s Giants of Africa has traversed the African continent and conducted camps for boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 19 in over 17 African countries.
It has developed players at the local, national, international and professional levels.