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Inside the Challenging World of African Esports

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Photo by Agyeibea Asare-Boye.

Facing several hurdles, Africa’s esports scene is yet to find its footing and roll with the industry’s biggest players.

No longer is esports (or electronic sports) seen as a mindless hobby. Also known as competitive gaming, esports has lifted off the ground and evolved into a billion-dollar industry. With innovations like Twitch and other high-stake investments, gamers around the world are making serious earnings thumbing away in live tournaments. But the story isn’t as glamorous on the African continent. Video gaming in Africa is yet to catch up with the fast-paced industry, especially in competitive arenas. It’s still contending with issues like poor internet connection, economic equality, and, most importantly, unstable game servers. But a few relentless people are dedicated to growing the scene to its full potential. Ghanaian gamer Ritalucia contends with poor esports infrastructure For most African esports enthusiasts, passion is what drives them. Ritalucia, a professional esports gamer and shout caster in Ghana, wants to keep striving in the industry despite her geographical location tipping all the odds against her. “I am a competitive person but I have to stay away from professional esports competitions because of the huge ping difference in Ghana,” Ritalucia tells OkayAfrica. “ If I lose I know I’ll be sad.” She’s joined other African gamers to call for the creation of local servers on the content to level the grounds with their international counterparts, especially when it comes to online competitions. It led to the emergence of #SeversInAfrica, a hashtag created to drive conversations for their cause. Kwesi Hayford, President of the Ghana Esports Association, has been a leading voice. “During the FIFA e-nations tournament, Ghanaian players couldn’t participate in the global qualifiers mainly because we were facing server issues,” Hayford said. “We had to connect to servers in Madrid because that was much closer to us. We lost to South Africa because they flew their players to Dubai where the default servers were for the tournament and that gave them an advantage over our players.” Read more

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