Will Mbiakop : reconciling business and sport in Africa

The executive chairman of the African Sport and Creative Institute (ASCI) has decided to carry out his activities on the continent by making sport an engine for development in Africa. It is the result of several years of management in the field of sports in Africa and the world, particularly within the NBA.

The story of Will Mbiakop’s involvement in basketball began in high school. And it ended too early for his liking. This, after being selected at a higher level when « I was not too bad ». Despite his parents’ reminders to pay more attention to his studies, the young man has already caught the basketball bug. Although he is no longer regularly on the court, he has decided to live his passion in a different way. By organising basketball events.

With an MBA from Manchester Business School in hand, Will Mbiakop decided to pursue a career in basketball management. He was helped in this by « a friend [who] set up a basketball academy in France and also helped me as a basketball coach ». Will Mbiakop recalls that « we both had the same thought and conviction. We believed in the transformative power of sport. He helped me a lot as an individual and as a professional. In return, I thought I could help him with his basketball academy that he ran in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

In the NBA, Will Mbiakop generates 70 per cent of the organization’s revenue and builds successful partnerships

Will Mbiakop already knows that he will have to reconcile his three passions: business, sport and Africa. To succeed, he relies on his dual Cameroonian and Moroccan heritage as well as the African continent.

For 10 years, Will Mbiakop will then manage the commercial department of the NBA Africa. At the head of a team that generated 70% of the organization’s revenue, he cultivated international partnerships, notably with leading public and private organizations such as MTN, OCP, the ADB and the AFD.

Prior to joining the NBA, Will Mbiakop founded AMW Consulting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he served as executive chairman. Focusing on sports marketing, media, events and sports tourism, AMW has built a strong reputation as the sports business hub for the Middle East and Africa region.

Born in Cameroon and raised in France, Will has also worked as a consultant and business manager in the field of innovation and technology for major companies in the automotive and aerospace sectors in Europe.

An accomplished athlete himself, Will Mbiakop has an innate passion for youth, sport and the creative sector for development and education. He says he believes that « the sport and entertainment industries offer innovative solutions to turn Africa’s key challenges, such as economic development and climate change, into opportunities.

In Africa, sport has economic and societal development implications for youth

One of the biggest and most important projects the now resident in Africa is the African Sport and Creative Institute (ASCI). This is an initiative that aims to make sport a driver for development in Africa. And for good reason, as Will Mbiakop likes to remind us, « sport today represents 2% of the world’s GDP, and only 0.5% of that of Africa. However, on the African continent, the development of sport carries economic and societal stakes. Especially if policies place youth at the heart of this dynamic. Will Mbiakop is also involved in letter-writing activities around sport. He recently edited a groundbreaking book entitled « Africa Sports Industry: Facts, Challenges and Opportunities ». He is also interested in the fight against climate change in Africa. It is with this in mind that he launched the Sports & Sustainability programme ‘Millions Wins for the Planet’. Will Mbiakop sits on the board of the Great Green Wall of Africa Foundation.

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