Rwanda’s Akamanzi Steps Up as NBA Africa CEO

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) has named a top Rwandan investment lawyer, public administrator, businesswoman, and politician to oversee the sport and its business on the African continent.

Clare Akamanzi, a skilled business leader and attorney specialising in international commerce and investment, most recently held the position of CEO of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) from 2017 until September 2023, during which time she led Rwanda’s economic growth by facilitating the expansion of the private sector.

According to the company, she will replace inaugural CEO Victor Williams, a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., who joined the NBA in 2020 to oversee its expansion into Africa and steps down on December 31, 2023.

Akamanzi will assume office on January 23, 2024, and will be reporting to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.

Through collaborations with the Basketball Africa League (BAL), Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich, and TIME Magazine, RDB carried out a number of corporate policy reforms and projects that resulted in considerable investment and development for the nation.

Tatum stated, “Clare is the perfect executive to lead our business in Africa because of her business vision, international experience, and familiarity with basketball and the NBA.” “We believe that under Clare’s leadership, NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League will transform economies, communities, and lives throughout the continent.”

As the head of the NBA’s business and basketball development initiatives in Africa, she will be in charge of boosting the popularity of basketball, the NBA, and the BAL throughout the African continent.

“I’m thrilled about the tremendous potential ahead to build on the momentum that the NBA has done in growing basketball and the business around it and across the African continent,’’ Akamanzi said.

“I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families, and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” she added.

Akamanzi was previously the Head of the Strategy and Policy Unit in the Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda, as well as the Chief Operating Officer of RDB. Having previously worked as an ambassador at the Rwandan Embassy in London and the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, she has a wealth of knowledge in international trade, business, and diplomacy.

She graduated with a master’s in public administration from Harvard University. There, she was honoured with three prestigious awards for her outstanding community service and academic achievement.

She also holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

In addition to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK, and the Aviation, Travel, and Logistics (ATL) firm, Akamanzi has served on a number of corporate boards. Forbes named her one of Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women in 2020.

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