Actor Whitaker, Top Economist Moyo Invest in NBA Africa

Voiced by Amazon Polly

Global economist and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Dambisa Moyo and Academy Award-winning actor and social activist Forest Whitaker on Tuesday joined NBA Africa as strategic investors.

NBA AFRICA STRATEGIC INVESTOR: Global economist and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Dambisa Moyo

“I have loved sport all my life and I am hugely grateful for the opportunity to support basketball in Africa at an elite level,” said Moyo, who was born in Zambia.

The global economist, author, and international public speaker added: “Basketball has a great capacity to be a positive force for communities across this amazing continent.”

Commenting on his strategic investor role, American actor, producer, director, humanitarian and activist, Whitaker said: “I’m thrilled to become a strategic investor in NBA Africa as it plans to grow basketball’s presence across the continent. 

 “The game of basketball is incredibly inspirational, and my decade working in Africa has shown me how sports can be a transformative method of helping to foster peace, as well as an economic engine for socio-economic development in areas of conflict. 

“I deeply believe in the league’s commitment to youth empowerment and am so excited to work alongside the NBA Africa family.”

NBA Africa is focused on expanding the league’s presence in priority African markets, deepening the league’s engagement with players and fans across the continent.

The association continues to grow Africa’s basketball ecosystem through programs like the Jr. NBA, Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa and NBA Academy Africa

NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams said: “We are delighted to welcome Dambisa and Forest to the NBA Africa family.

“They are both accomplished humanitarians whose expertise, resources and guidance will add tremendous value to our existing investor group. 

“We thank them for their commitment and belief in our efforts to use basketball as an economic growth engine and as a vehicle to positively impact the lives of youth across the continent.”

The NBA has a decades-long history in Africa and opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg in 2010.

Since then, the league’s efforts on the continent have focused on increasing access to basketball and the NBA through social responsibility, grassroots and elite development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, NBA Africa Games, the launch of the BAL, and more.

NBA Africa conducts the NBA’s business in Africa, including the Basketball Africa League (BAL), which features the top 12 club teams from 12 African countries and will tip-off its second season in March 2022. 

Earlier this year in July former US president Barack Obama joined NBA Africa as a strategic partner.

Strategic investors Moyo and Whitaker are the latest addition to the list of influential talent that wants to see the game grow without borders on the continent.

Moyo previously served as a consultant for the World Bank, as a research economist and strategist at Goldman Sachs, and has written four New York Times best-selling books about macroeconomics, global affairs and corporate governance. 

Moyo holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and an MBA from American University, an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a doctorate in Economics from the University of Oxford.

Whitaker has been recognised with a Golden Globe Award, a British Academy Film Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and the 2006 Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of former Uganda president Idi Amin in the British historical drama The Last King of Scotland

In 2011, he was inducted as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Goodwill Ambassador and went on to be promoted to Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, as well as an Advocate for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Whitaker is the CEO of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), a non-profit organization that aims to promote the values of peace, reconciliation and social development within communities that have been impacted by conflict and violence. 

Through WPDI, Whitaker has developed the Youth Peacemaker Network, a global peacebuilding network with hubs in South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda, Mexico, and the U.S., and that will soon expand to the Democratic Republic of Congo and France. 

WPDI is active in the area of sports through its Peace Through Sports program, which combines sports practice and tournaments with workshops and events aimed at disseminating values of tolerance, nonviolence, and respect for human rights.

Strategic investors in NBA Africa also include a consortium led by Babatunde “Tunde” Folawiyo, Chairman and CEO of Yinka Folawiyo Group, and Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation (HFP), led by Co-CEO Tope Lawani. 

Additional investors in NBA Africa include former NBA players Junior Bridgeman, Luol Deng (South Sudan), Grant Hill, Ian Mahinmi (France; ties to Benin), Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Joakim Noah (ties to Cameroon).