Team Africa Rising, formerly Team Rwanda Cycling, has partnered with the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation (RMWF) for almost a decade to develop and spread competitive cycling in Africa. The goal of this partnership, however, was never to simply build a team and train riders, but to support riders who serve as ambassadors for Rwanda, create unity in their nation, and show others what is possible when we create together.
Like many of the foundation’s partnerships, Team Africa Rising started small and local, but its impact has spread from Rwanda to countries across the continent. The original five cyclists, all young children during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, have overcome overwhelming odds to create a thriving bike culture in the country and Africa, make a living for themselves and their families, and foster the importance of education for young, aspiring riders.
Through their collaboration with RMWF, Team Africa Rising has grown from a small team of cyclists to more than 25 riders, as well as coaches, mechanics, and a thriving tourism industry that ensure the future and sustainability of the program and professional bicycling in Rwanda and Africa. The Africa Rising Cycling Center in Rwanda serves as a hub for generating tourism revenue through visits to the Center and multi-day tours, and also welcomes international cyclists from Africa and beyond for training camps. Team Africa Rising has recently successfully transitioned operational responsibilities to the Rwandan government.
Changing the name from Team Rwanda Cycling to Team Africa Rising is a direct result of the positive impact the Rwandan team’s success has had on countries across the continent. In the last 10 years, Tour du Rwanda has become the premier event in Africa, and 22 African countries are now included in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rankings.
Team Africa Rising is an example of how RMWF tries to use one vehicle to reach multiple destinations with greater efficiency. Leveraging the peloton of human experience creates its own unique energy, helping people and places move ahead with greater speed.
We invite you to visit the inspiring work of Team Africa Rising HERE.
Photo credit: Skyler Bishop Photography