New Data Reveals Explosive Gaming Growth In Africa

New data released from Newzoo, the leading provider of games market data and insights, and Carry1st, the mobile games publishing platform enabling global studios to unlock the African market, reveals that Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest-growing mobile gaming regions in the world.
The report shows total gamer numbers in Sub-Saharan Africa grew from 77 to 186 million people between 2015 and 2021. This rapid growth has been accelerated by increasing digitization, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, and is largely driven by mobile gaming — 95% of gamers across the region play on a smartphone or tablet, as opposed to consoles and computers.
Traditionally, Africa has been overlooked by the international gaming and investment community, given its reputation as a market that is hard to penetrate because of fragmented digital payments and distribution ecosystems. However, with a population of 1.3 billion people and an average age of 19 (compared to 44 in Western Europe), Africa is likely to become one of the most promising gaming markets globally.
Key findings from the report
  • Of the 1.14bn people in Sub-Saharan Africa, 186m will play games in 2021 (16%).
  • Of these 186m gamers, 177m play on mobile (95%). At a +9.4% 2020 – 2024 CAGR, Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile player audience is projected to be the fastest-growing globally.
  • Of these 186m gamers, 63m pay for games (34%). Like mobile players, the group of paying gamers in Sub-Saharan Africa is also projected to be the fastest-growing in the world.
  • Closely examining five major countries in the region (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa), the report reveals:
  • South Africa has the highest saturation of gamers, with 24m people playing within a population of 59m (40%).
  • 27% of people in Ghana play games, 23% in Nigeria, 22% in Kenya, and 13% in Ethiopia.
  • South Africa leads the way in total annual gaming revenue in 2021 ($290m), followed by Nigeria ($185M), and then Ghana ($42m), Kenya ($38m), and Ethiopia ($35m).
  • Through traditional channels, a higher proportion of South African gamers pay for games (43%) than Ghanaians and Ethiopians (33%) or Nigerians and Kenyans (32%).
Carry1st CEO and Co-founder, Cordel Robbin-Coker, comments, “Africa is the future of gaming. Thanks to the massive influx of people coming online and a young and dynamic population, gaming in Africa is exploding. Crucially, this applies not only to people playing games, but also those willing to pay as well.”
  • Gamers are defined as people who played (digital) games on a PC, console, a mobile device, or cloud gaming service in the past six months.
  • People who pay for games are those who have spent money to play games on a PC, console, a mobile device, or cloud gaming service in the past six months.
  • Revenues are the amount the industry generates in consumer spending on games: physical and digital full-game copies, in-game spending, and subscription services like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game Pass.
  • Mobile revenues include paid downloads and in-game spending, including third-party stores, and from direct downloads.
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