NBA Africa investment on the rise
Following on its statement in July that former US President Barack Obama had joined its African operation as a strategic partner, the National Basketball Association (NBA), has announced that Zambian-born global economist and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Dambisa Moyo and Academy Award-winning actor and social activist Forest Whitaker have joined NBA Africa as strategic investors.
Moyo, who is also a public speaker, previously served as a consultant for the World Bank, as a research economist and strategist at Goldman Sachs, and has written four New York Times best-selling books about macroeconomics, global affairs and corporate governance.
Whitaker, an American actor, producer, director, humanitarian and activist, has been recognised with a Golden Globe Award, a British Academy Film Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and the 2006 Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of former Uganda president Idi Amin in the British historical drama The Last King of Scotland.
Whitaker is the CEO of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), a non-profit organization that aims to promote the values of peace, reconciliation and social development within communities that have been impacted by conflict and violence.
Through WPDI, Whitaker has developed the Youth Peacemaker Network, a global peacebuilding network with hubs in South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda, Mexico, and the US, and that will soon expand to the Democratic Republic of Congo and France. WPDI is active in the area of sports through its Peace Through Sports program, which combines sports practice and tournaments with workshops and events aimed at disseminating values of tolerance, nonviolence, and respect for human rights.
“I have loved sport all my life and I am hugely grateful for the opportunity to support basketball in Africa at an elite level,” said Moyo. “Basketball has a great capacity to be a positive force for communities across this amazing continent.”
“I’m thrilled to become a strategic investor in NBA Africa as it plans to grow basketball’s presence across the continent,” said Whitaker. “The game of basketball is incredibly inspirational, and my decade working in Africa has shown me how sports can be a transformative method of helping to foster peace, as well as an economic engine for socioeconomic development in areas of conflict. I deeply believe in the league’s commitment to youth empowerment and am so excited to work alongside the NBA Africa family.”
“We are delighted to welcome Dambisa and Forest to the NBA Africa family,” said NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams. “They are both accomplished humanitarians whose expertise, resources and guidance will add tremendous value to our existing investor group. We thank them for their commitment and belief in our efforts to use basketball as an economic growth engine and as a vehicle to positively impact the lives of youth across the continent.”
Other strategic investors in NBA Africa also include a consortium led by Babatunde “Tunde” Folawiyo, Chairman and CEO of Yinka Folawiyo Group, and Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation (HFP), led by Co-CEO Tope Lawani, former NBA players Junior Bridgeman, Luol Deng, Grant Hill, Ian Mahinmi, Dikembe Mutombo and Joakim Noah.