Kagame joins Masai Ujiri for Zaria Court groundbreaking

By Jane Babirye
On 14 August 2023 at 04:26

President Paul Kagame has joined Masai Ujiri in the groundbreaking ceremony for Zaria Court, an exceptional urban development project. This project undertaken by Masai Ujiri, who is the president and vice-chairman of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and a co-founder of Giants of Africa (GOA), a non-profit organization that empowers youth through basketball, focuses on community, hospitality, sports, and culture.

Situated at the crossroads of two powerful beliefs - one in the future of Africa and the other in the idea that the future is inherently African - Zaria Court is taking shape in Remera, at the heart of Kigali.

The Zaria Court in Kigali features a dynamic retail area that will cater to the needs of the local community and visitors alike. Utilizing repurposed shipping containers, this environmentally sustainable retail space will house shops and businesses, serving as an incubation hub, with a special emphasis on women-owned enterprises and young local entrepreneurs. The construction of this complex is set to conclude by November 2024, with operations slated to commence in February 2025.

Part of the Kigali Sports City, the Zaria Court project is anticipated to create over 500 job opportunities in the hospitality and tourism sectors. This groundbreaking project represents the first Zaria Court on the African continent and revolves around an urban hospitality hub.

It repurposes the former headquarters building of the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) in Remera, transforming it into an 80-room boutique hotel, a collection of restaurants, a rooftop lounge, a gym, wellness spaces, co-working facilities, and even a podcast studio. Central to the site is a versatile multipurpose court, designed to host sporting events, festivals, performances, markets, and other engaging activities.

At its core, this site harbors a multipurpose court meant to serve athletes, artists, and their fans, fostering a dynamic mixed-use hub of creative entrepreneurship.

Speaking at the event, Ujiri emphasized the necessity to reshape perceptions of sports, highlighting that it’s not just a recreational pursuit on the continent but also a realm of competition and business.

"When I observe the many places where professional sports are played every day, it’s evident that sports drive revenue constantly. How are we leveraging sports to support all these individuals?" He stressed.

Mentioning cities such as Accra, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Abidjan, where arenas are lacking, Ujiri expressed that Zaria Courts is set to be revolutionary, a blueprint showcasing the aspirations for the continent.

During his address to the attendees, President Kagame called upon African leaders who have visited Rwanda and witnessed the BK Arena’s success, urging them to fulfill their promises by constructing larger arenas in their respective countries. He highlighted that sports contribute to economic growth by uniting people from all walks of life.

GOA is marking its 20th anniversary in Kigali with a week-long series of events, including the construction of a basketball court at Agahozo Shalom and the official inauguration of GOA at the BK Arena on August 13th, 2023.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place in Remera.
The Zaria Court in Kigali features a dynamic retail area that will cater to the needs of the local community and visitors alike.