The Head of State made these remarks during the opening ceremony of the Giants of Africa festival.
This week-long event, organized as part of the 20th-anniversary celebrations of Giants of Africa in Rwanda, brought together 250 youth from 16 African countries to participate in sports, entertainment, cultural activities, and more.
Giants of Africa (GOA), a basketball camp founded by Masai Ujiri, serves as a platform to identify and nurture basketball talent among African youth. Masai Ujiri also holds the positions of Vice-Chairman and President of the Toronto Raptors.
In 2023, Giants of Africa marks two decades of conducting basketball camps, building courts, and facilitating youth outreach initiatives across the African continent.
Speaking at the celebration at BK Arena, Kagame emphasized that Africa should be recognized for its strengths rather than pitied or patronized for developmental challenges.
He stated that Africa possesses abundant resources, talented individuals, and intellectual capacity, comparable to any other region. Kagame underlined the idea that Africans are giants and should uphold that spirit.
Kagame also emphasized the significance of uniting many nations in a celebration of culture and sports. In simple terms, he highlighted African camaraderie, adding a personal touch to Ujiri’s own diverse African heritage, which resonated with the audience.
"Masai has a Nigerian father and a Kenyan mother. I was born in Rwanda and grew up in Uganda. My wife was born in Burundi, and we met in Kenya. This is who we are as Africans. We are brothers; we are sisters," he shared.
"The best way to bring that out to everyone is through talent of sports like today. These giants, they are giants and will be in Basketball but they can be giants in everything else. And it is just a reminder that that all of us, you and me, and other s we know who are not here with us can be giants," added Kagame.
At the end of his speech, President Kagame received a personalized Giants of Africa jersey and a basketball from Ujiri. The ceremony, held at the BK Arena precisely at 4 pm, saw the presence of Masai Ujiri, Sports Minister Aurore Mimosa, and BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall.
Co-founder of Giants of Africa, Masai Ujiri, expressed his enthusiasm for the future of sports in Africa. He highlighted the pivotal role that today’s youth play in shaping the continent’s promising future and expressed confidence in Africa’s great potential.
"The youth of today will shape the next 20 years. This is a blueprint for Africa, and we will continue to grow and establish our own league," Ujiri remarked.
Ujiri also acknowledged and praised Rwanda’s contributions to sports development across the continent. He reminisced about a moment in 2016 when he watched a basketball game with President Kagame. During that time, Kagame expressed his desire for an arena in Rwanda, which soon became a reality. This paved the way for partnerships between Giants of Africa and the Basketball Africa League, leading to the President’s appearance on stage to deliver his remarks.
"We are fortunate to have him in Africa," Ujiri said, referring to President Kagame.