Kagame inaugurates Kigali Arena

On 10 August 2019 at 10:30

President Paul Kagame yesterday evening inaugurated the Kigali Arena, a state-of-the-art events and sports facility with a capacity to host 10,000 spectators.

The facility is also set to host the National Basketball Association (NBA) Africa Finals next year.

The inauguration was also graced by First Lady Jeannette Kagame; the Minister of Sports and Culture, Esperance Nyirasafari and the Minister of Youth, Rosemary Mbabazi among other dignitaries and top Government officials.

While addressing participants of the inauguration; Kagame thanked Summa Company of Turkey, who built the arena in only six months.

Kagame said they worked day and night highlighting that it is an exemplary quality work executed fast that people need to emulate.

“That is how we should all learn to work, fast and producing quality. 70% of those who built this arena were Rwandan and this is also the product of our very own resources as Rwandans. The remaining 30% are highly skilled people who collaborated with Rwandans so they can learn from them. Fast execution of the project didn’t undermine the quality of what you see here,” he said.

Kagame thanked Rwandans because the budget of the arena came from their hands.

He also thanked Masai Ujiri, the President of the Toronto Raptors among others who contributed to the development of Basketball in Africa.

“I also want to thank a man named Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors. He brought the idea of developing the game of basketball in Africa and moving it forward. The idea was supported by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as well as Amadou Fall. They have a program called Giants of Africa. Africa has giants and we must carry ourselves as Giants. That means it must be reflected in our actions. When your actions are exceptional then that is who you become,” said the President.

Kagame emphasized that Rwanda must be founded on its people’s own actions to be exceptional.

He said that the arena is not just a decoration to be visited on Christmas and New Year but rather ‘was built to host the best basketball players of Rwanda and Africa, for them to train, play and win here’.

The inauguration coincided with two Basketball Games in Playoffs bringing together The Hoops against APR in women category and REG vs. Patriots in the category of men.

Located next to Amahoro National Stadium in Remera, the 10,000-seat facility is multi-purpose for indoor games and is also designed to host meetings, conferences, exhibitions, and concerts.

Among others, the state-of-the-art arena will be home to major basketball and volleyball events in the country.

The facility is the largest indoor stadium in East Africa and the 10th in Africa.

The project is a joint venture between the Government of Rwanda and the Turkish Investment Company, Summa.

It is similar to Dakar Arena under construction in Senegal though the latter is much bigger with 15,000 seats.

Kigali Arena is set to host the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in 2021 and Africa Basketball Championships (Afrobasket).

The construction of the arena which started in January 2019 is part of what the Government is doing to uplift sports in the country.