April 25, 2024

Rising Gamers: How Esports is Taking Libya by Storm & Empowering Youth


Young Libyans glued to their gaming screens in the Libyan capital Tripoli © Mahmud Turkia / AFP

Esports, a rapidly expanding industry that has taken the world by storm, is now gaining momentum in Libya, providing a fresh and thrilling avenue for young Libyans to pursue their passion for gaming and compete on a global level.

Despite facing challenges such as limited infrastructure and support in the past, recent developments have created opportunities for young gamers to showcase their talents and participate in esports tournaments in Libya. This positive change can be attributed to the emergence of local esports organisations and communities that are dedicated to promoting and developing the esports scene in the country. These organisations have been working tirelessly to provide platforms, resources, and training for aspiring esports players, creating a supportive ecosystem for the growth of the industry.

One such organisation is a state-of-the-art gaming complex in Tripoli, operated by computer student Sofiane Mattouss, who spoke about the burgeoning gaming community in Libya with the French news agency AFP. “The gaming community was completely dead here. So this centre gathers young people who wish to play, to enter gaming tournaments, to get a change of air instead of hanging out on the streets.”

“This motivates the players and the youth who have no experience to train and to pursue it as a profession. This will grow in the near future.”

A youth plays an electronic auto sports game on a dedicated car simulator at a video gaming centre in Libya’s capital Tripoli. – In an ultra-modern gaming space in Tripoli, players exchange banter amid the bleeping and music of video games. Isolated by decades of dictatorship and post-revolution chaos, Libyan gamers are finally ready to take on the world

Mattouss’ gaming complex was established in 2022 and is one of the six gaming halls that have already sprung up in the capital, with others located in major cities like Benghazi further east. This growth is encouraging to Mattouss, who sees the esports industry as a means to provide purpose for youth.

“Five years ago, there weren’t any gaming centres in Libya—not a single tournament, nothing. But over the past two years, we started having tournaments in the Tripoli International Fair and the Paradise Gaming Centre. Now all centres in Libya are holding tournaments with prizes.”

Other young individuals, such as 20-year-old student Youssef Younssi, are also impressed with the growth of esports in Libya. Younssi, who used to play in small arcades in Tripoli, did not expect to see such modern gaming centres in Libya until recently. “In other countries when I travel, they are everywhere but I didn’t expect to see so many people interested in it here,” he says.

He is joined by gamer Karim Ziani, who sees the growth of esports as “a good thing, even for the development of the country. It will help, God willing, to eradicate the phenomenon of misconduct behaviours among youth within the society.”

With access to high-speed internet and global gaming platforms, young Libyans can now connect with the wider gaming community, participate in online tournaments, and refine their skills by competing against players from around the world. This has not only helped them improve their gameplay but also build networks and friendships with like-minded individuals who share their passion for gaming.

The impact of esports on the lives of young Libyans has been significant. Many have found purpose and direction through their involvement in competitive gaming, which has provided them with opportunities for personal growth, skill development, and potential career paths in the esports industry.

Furthermore, esports has fostered a sense of community and camaraderie among young Libyans, who come together to form teams, participate in local and international tournaments, and represent their country on the global esports stage. This has helped to break down social barriers and create a sense of unity among young gamers from different backgrounds and regions in Libya.

Although challenges still remain, such as limited resources, infrastructure, and funding, the progress made in the esports scene in Libya is promising. With the dedication and efforts of local esports organisations, the support of the Libyan government, and the passion of young gamers, esports in Libya is finally gaining the attention and recognition it deserves.

As the esports industry continues to grow globally, it presents a unique opportunity for young Libyans to pursue their passion for gaming, showcase their skills on the international stage, and contribute to the development of the esports scene in their country. With the newfound opportunities and support, young Libyans are finally able to answer the call of esports and embark on an exciting journey in the world of competitive gaming.