NBA names Clare Akamanzi CEO of NBA Africa

JOHANNESBURG AND NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa.  Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.

In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families.

For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth.  Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others.

“Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” said Tatum.  “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.”

“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,” said Akamanzi.  “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.”

Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda.  She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England.

Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda.  She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award.

In addition, Akamanzi 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.

Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company.  She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.

About NBA Africa
NBA Africa is an affiliate of the National Basketball Association (NBA), a global sports and media organization with the mission to inspire and connect people everywhere through the power of basketball.  NBA Africa conducts the league’s business in Africa, including the Basketball Africa League (BAL), and has opened subsidiary offices in Cairo, Egypt; Dakar, Senegal; Lagos, Nigeria; and Nairobi, Kenya.  The NBA has a long history in Africa and opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010.  The league’s efforts on the continent have focused on increasing access to basketball and the NBA through youth and elite development, social responsibility, media distribution, corporate partnerships, NBA Africa Games, an NBA Store, the BAL, and more.

NBA games and programming are available in all 54 African countries, and the NBA has hosted three sold-out exhibition games on the continent since 2015.  The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and NBA Africa, is a professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa that will tip off its fourth season in March 2024.  Fans can follow @NBA_Africa and @theBAL on Facebook, Instagram, X and YouTube.