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Inaugural Jr. NBA & AFD Basketball Experience in Morocco Concludes with Youth Development Event in Zenata
NBA Africa and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), France’s inclusive public development bank committed to financing and technical assistance for projects that improve the lives of people in developing and emerging economies, today celebrated the conclusion of the inaugural Jr. NBA & AFD Basketball Experience in Morocco with a youth basketball development event held on the basketball court of the Parcours Sportif Côtier Zenata, belonging to the Société d’Aménagement de Zénata (SAZ).

The event featured a basketball clinic and life skills seminar for 28 boys and girls ages 12-18 from the local community. NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams, AFD Director for Africa Christian Yoka and SAZ CEO Mohamed Amine El Hajhouj delivered messages to the youth encouraging them to continue actively participate in the program.

The Jr. NBA & AFD Basketball Experience, a series of basketball clinics promoting social inclusion among Casablanca and Zenata’s youth, took place from April-July and reached more than 3,000 boys and girls from 31 schools in greater Casablanca through nearly 800 basketball clinics and life skills seminars focused on basketball fundamentals, skill development, citizenship and gender equality.

“After a year of break in the activities due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic, we are proud that the project has restarted in 2021 in Zenata and Casablanca,” said AFD CEO Rémy Rioux. “This program, in partnership with NBA Africa, demonstrates our common will to use sport as tool to foster sustainable development and social cohesion in Morocoo. The Basketball Experience program will help youth develop themselves through basketball practice, in Zenata and Casablanca’s schools and on the basketball court.”

“NBA Africa is committed to using the game of basketball to positively influence the lives of youth across the continent, and we are encouraged by the impact that the Jr. NBA & AFD Basketball Experience had on young boys and girls in Morrocco in its first year,” said Williams.  “We are grateful to have a partner like AFD that shares our belief in the lifechanging power of sport and look forward to expanding our partnership and reaching more youth in other countries across the continent in the near future.”

Further reading: AFD, the NBA and Basketball in Africa: Four Points on Sports and Development

The Jr. NBA & AFD Basketball Experience, which is supported by Idmaj Neighborhoods Association, is part of Zenata and Casablanca’s efforts to use sport to raise awareness among Moroccan youth about sustainable development, citizenship and gender equality.

The program was launched in 2019 with the unveiling of a new basketball court in Zenata that was attended by 2011 NBA Champion Ian Mahinmi (France; ties to Benin).  Oncourt activities were suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic before restarting earlier this year under comprehensive health and safety protocols.

The Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth basketball program for boys and girls, teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game – teamwork, respect, determination and community – at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. The Jr. NBA program has been implemented in 15 African countries, including Morocco.

AFD backs France’s conviction that sport is a factor of economic and social development. It is both a real economic driver in terms of creating wealth and jobs, as well as a tool for social ties, unity, and a strong vector for equality between men and women. AFD is also a partner of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) and supported the inaugural BAL season, which was held in Kigali, Rwanda in May.

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