Sub-Saharan Africa Doubles Number of Gamers to 186 Million in the Last Five Years

A 2021 GSMA mobile economy report indicates that 303 million people, almost 28% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa have a mobile internet connection and by 2025.


The mobile gaming industry in Africa is rapidly expanding, with a 2021 GSMA mobile economy report indicating that 303 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, almost 28% of the population, have a mobile internet connection. 

This number is expected to increase by nearly 100 million by 2025, with Nigeria and Ethiopia accounting for a significant portion of these new mobile subscribers. 

The report also shows that the number of gamers in Sub-Saharan Africa has doubled to 186 million people in the last five years, with the majority playing on tablets or smartphones rather than consoles. 

South Africa has the highest number of gamers, at 24 million people or 40% of its population, followed by Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia. 

The growth of the gaming industry in Africa presents an opportunity for the export of African culture through the incorporation of African themes and characters in games and animated series.

The African gaming industry is rapidly expanding and ready to take on the global gaming economy, with homegrown gaming companies like Qene Games playing a key role in this growth.

Qene Games, based in Ethiopia, was founded by Dawit Abraham with the goal of developing mobile games that represent African culture and are underrepresented in the global gaming and entertainment industry.

The company has released several award-winning mobile games, such as Kukulu and Gebeta, which are based on African storylines. In 2022, 10 African gaming development studios, including Qene Games, joined together under the Pan Africa Gaming Group (PAGG) to unite the continent’s gaming industry and help to grow the talent of young African developers.

As a member of PAGG, Qene Games aims to unlock the potential within the continent’s gaming industry through its pan-African cultural heritage embedded in mobile game development and creating opportunities for university graduates pursuing careers in mobile game development.

In an interview with Forbes Africa, Dawit, the founder of Qene Games, stated that Ethiopia, a country with over 3,000 years of history and culture, has a wealth of creative inspiration for game developers.

From its unique music styles and fascinating legends and folklore, game developers have an endless source of ideas for authentic, local-themed mobile games.

Dawit believes that Africa is a hub of inspiration and that these mobile games will attract global stakeholders to the African market.

However, challenges such as distribution and monetization still exist in the African gaming industry, but Dawit believes that these challenges will not stop the industry from reaching its potential as the time is ripe and Africa is ready for the gaming industry to thrive.


“This is one of the many mobile games based on an African storyline, and it presents opportunities for more creativity by mobile game developers,” says Dawit, “Ethiopia alone has more than one cultural heritage, you can imagine what Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, and the whole of Africa would present in contributing to its mobile gaming industry.”

In an interview with Forbes Africa, Dawit said, “Ethiopia, as a country with more than 3,000 years of history and culture, has a large pool for creative inspiration. From the artistic and unique music styles that have been around for millennia, to many fascinating legends and folklore, our game developers have an endless source to feed their creativity and imagination.”