Dapo Sotuminu, with Agency report
The OCP Group (OCP), a world-leader in the phosphate industry, and the National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced a new, multiyear partnership to expand Jr. NBA programs, teach life skills and build new basketball courts in Khouribga and Benguerir, Morocco and in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, while using the transformative power of basketball to empower Moroccan and Rwandan youth and their communities.
The announcement was made today during the opening ceremony on the newly built basketball court at Ennahda in Khouribga, Morocco in the presence of OCP Chairman and CEO, Mostafa Terrab; NBA Africa Managing Director and Basketball Africa League President, Amadou Gallo Fall; and 10-time NBA All-Star, Ray Allen.
The Jr. NBA Benguerir League will launch at Salle Omnisport in Benguerir on Sep. 10, and the Jr. NBA Kigali League will tip-off at Integrated Polytechnic Regional Center in Kigali, Rwanda on Sep. 21.
“The partnership with the NBA is part of the Act4Community initiative, carried out by OCP volunteers, with one of its major objectives being development through sport,” said Terrab. “The young people here are full of talent and energy and the goal of this project is to provide them with a framework where they can develop their potential through a spirit of sports excellence and coaching focused on leadership and personal development. We are very happy to be launching this great project with the NBA in Khouribga and Benguerir”.
“We are thrilled to partner with OCP Group to expand our Jr. NBA programming in Morocco and Rwanda,” said Fall. “As we continue to push the boundaries of accessibility to our game, this authentic partnership will contribute tremendously to inspire more boys and girls to play the game of basketball and grow with its core values while also empowering coaches and program administrators as role models for the youth in their communities.”
Supporting the development of the African continent is one of OCP Group’s strategic priorities. To this end, OCP is striving to develop a sustainable agricultural ecosystem and provide innovative solutions for African farmers. As a corporate citizen, OCP also carries out many socioeconomic initiatives, particularly through its Act4Community program, which enables OCP employees to get involved in educational, cultural and job creation projects for the benefit of their communities. OCP employees have successfully implemented a number of initiatives at the regional and local levels in the economic, environmental, health and educational fields. Consequently, OCP’s investment in the Jr. NBA supports its efforts to develop local communities and African populations.
The Jr. NBA programs in both countries will feature 30 boys and 30 girls school teams competing for their respective leagues’ championship. Each school team will represent one of the 30 NBA teams in each league and will receive corresponding NBA team-branded jerseys for their games.
As part of the NBA and OCP partnership, throughout the Jr. NBA season players and coaches will take part in interactive life-skills seminars focused on youth empowerment and designed to teach leadership, communication skills and health awareness. The life-skills curriculum will be delivered by longstanding NBA partner, Hoops 4 Hope.
The Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth basketball participation program for boys and girls, teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents. This year, the NBA is reaching more than 51 million youth in 75 countries through league play, in-school programming, clinics, skills challenges, and other outreach events.
In the second edition of the Jr. NBA Global Championship hosted in Orando, Florida last month, the Africa boys team won the international division to advance to the global championship game where they lost to the U.S. West boys team and finished as the tournament runner-up. Marouf Moumine (Cameroon) was recognized with the tournament’s Determination Award for the second consecutive year.
The expansion of the Jr. NBA Leagues in Morocco and Rwanda builds on the NBA and OCP’s commitment to the development of the African continent and similar Jr. NBA programs that have taken place in Angola, Cameroon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.