The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Chief Tourism Officer, Michaëlla Rugwizangoga, on March 13, discussed the importance of Rwanda’s partnership with the Basketball Africa League (BAL) in terms of sports promotion and tourism. For the past three years, Rwanda has been partnering with the BAL and as part of this partnership, the country hosted the regular season of the showpiece for three seasons, in addition to having the Visit Rwanda brand advertised on the shirts donned by players and on billboards at the venues where matches take place. “We place sports at the center of our strategy, first and foremost because of our youth. Sports unite people and educate our young people. We want our young people to have strong role models and there is no other way to do it than creating the right environment and expose them to champions and legends,” Rugwizangoga said during a panel discussion on Africa Sport industry at the BAL Luncheon presented by Visit Rwanda at Radisson Blu Hotel Dakar. “The second reason is because of our main tourism markets, the United States, the UK and Europe. It was important that in those markets our destination is better known, and that is what motivated the partnership we have with Arsenal and PSG,” she added. Zeroing in on the BAL, Rugwizangoga said it is an event in Rwanda that not only brings games to Rwanda but also gathers people. “The month of May is becoming an African rendezvous today on the continent. We are glad not only to see legendary players but investors, people in the creative sector, and artists. There are a lot of side events happening making our city vibrant and our continent vibrant.” The BAL is underway in Dakar, Senegal where Sahara Conference games are taking place. In April, the Nile Conference will also get underway. After that, the playoffs will come to Kigali in May, bringing together the eight teams that will have made it out of the conferences.