April 13, 2024

Opinion: Africa’s Opportunity in the Global Esports Landscape

Opportunity

In a groundbreaking move, the inclusion of esports in the Olympic Games has opened doors for African countries to tap into the immense potential of this rapidly growing industry. With the right strategies and investments, Africa stands poised to seize this opportunity, leveraging its resources to develop world-class infrastructure, nurture talent, establish regulatory bodies, organise competitive leagues, introduce educational initiatives, and foster collaboration on the international stage. By embracing esports, Africa can create a thriving ecosystem that not only promotes competitiveness but also enhances the continent’s global recognition and economic growth.

According to Newzoo, the global leader in video games and gamer data, in its Global Esports Market Report, the global esports market is projected to reach a value of $1.6 billion in 2023, with Africa being a key region for potential growth. By investing in state-of-the-art esports arenas, gaming facilities, and training centres, African countries can provide local players with access to high-quality equipment and venues. This investment in infrastructure will not only elevate the esports experience for African athletes but also attract international attention and drive tourism, bolstering the local economy.

Africa’s rich pool of untapped talent presents a significant opportunity for growth in the esports industry. According to a Newzoo report back in 2022, the number of esports enthusiasts in sub-Saharan Africa was 186 million, a 141.6% increase from 2015–2021. By focusing on grassroots programmes and talent scouting initiatives, African nations and private businesses can identify and nurture promising esports players. Creating esports academies, training camps, and mentorship programmes will play a crucial role in developing a skilled pool of African esports athletes who can compete at the highest level and contribute to the global esports community.

The establishment of national esports associations in African countries can provide a solid foundation for the industry’s growth. These associations can collaborate with international esports organisations, leveraging their expertise and resources. These collaborations and partnerships between regional esports associations and global entities can unlock funding opportunities, sponsorships, and strategic partnerships, creating a favourable environment for sustainable esports development in Africa.

African nations have the potential to host regional and continental esports competitions that showcase local talent and attract international attention. The growth of esports in Africa is evident in the rising popularity of regional tournaments. Esports Africa Tournament (EAT), for example, has seen significant success, attracting top teams and players from across the continent. By organising leagues and tournaments, African countries can create a competitive environment, fostering the growth of esports and positioning themselves as regional hubs for esports excellence.

The integration of esports in educational institutions can contribute to the development of skills relevant to the industry. By introducing esports programmes and courses, African educational institutions can equip students with knowledge in game development, event management, marketing, and broadcasting. This aligns with the increasing demand for skilled professionals in the esports ecosystem. Providing educational opportunities will not only nurture a competent workforce but also contribute to the overall growth and sustainability of the industry in Africa.

Active engagement in international forums, conferences, and networking events is crucial for Africa to establish itself as a global player in the esports industry. The Global Esports Federation (GEF) and the International Esports Federation (IESF) offer opportunities for collaboration and knowledge exchange. African esports organisations, players, and industry stakeholders can leverage these platforms to build connections with global entities, fostering partnerships and paving the way for Africa’s integration into the global esports landscape.

Backed by data showcasing the projected growth of the global esports market and the rising number of esports enthusiasts in Africa, the continent has a unique opportunity to seize the moment. By investing in infrastructure, nurturing talent, establishing regulatory bodies, organising competitive leagues, and introducing educational initiatives.