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Does Africa Need Another Esport Confederation?

by Ife Akintaju
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After reading this article and seeing posts from attendees during the establishment of the African Confederation of Digital Sports (ACDS), I have a lot of questions.

First and foremost, why use the term “Digital Sports” when the goal is to achieve excellence in “Esports” in Africa? Stakeholders who posted about this news frequently interchanged the terms “digital sports” and “esports” in their articles or posts. The message and goal need to be clearly defined. Is the focus on “digital sports,” meaning only sports-related titles like football, basketball, etc.? Or is it “esports,” which implies that as long as there is a gaming community for a particular game like PUBG, COD, and others, the ACDS will cater to it?

Secondly, it is stated that 40 countries were in attendance and are already members. The main objective of the ACDS is to unite the national governing bodies for “digital sports” from every African country. How many of these 40 represented nations are official governing bodies for esports or recognized by their respective governments? What will happen when governments in these countries officially launch esports federations? Will the ACDS connect or collaborate with these members and their respective sports ministries to create synergies?

Apart from uniting the national governing bodies for “digital sports” from every African country, what is the roadmap of the ACDS? What can Africa expect? Will there be development programs, or will the ACDS primarily focus on organizing tournaments that are already prevalent within the ecosystem without significant influence from the confederation?

I also noticed that other North African countries like Egypt and Algeria, which have government-recognized esports bodies, were not present at the general assembly. Is there a reason for their exclusion, or are they not supportive of the agenda?

Despite holding elections to select officials, I only see a president and an executive committee mentioned. Who are the vice presidents, secretary, and other positions? While the election results and winners for the executive committee are provided, it is unclear who Mr. Hicham EL KHLIFI, the newly elected president and President of the Fédération Royale Marocaine des Jeux Électroniques, ran against for the presidency.

The ACDS aims to contribute to the advancement of “digital sports” in Africa and the overall sports development of the continent. One obvious question that arises is regarding traditional sports confederations such as CAF (Confederation of African Football) and others, which are affiliated with global federations like FIFA, FIBA, World Athletics, and many more. It is essential to determine who the ACDS is affiliated with, considering that the Global Esports Federation has the AEDF and the International Esports Federation has AESA. Is the ACDS planning to be a standalone confederation without any affiliations?

Furthermore, it raises the question of what will happen to members in the 40 nations who are already affiliated with one or both GEF, IESF, and their respective African bodies. Will they be required to forfeit their membership in those organizations? Or is it possible for members to belong to multiple confederations simultaneously, as is commonly seen in esports but not typically feasible in traditional sports?

The million-dollar question is: Does Africa need another esports confederation? Since 2021, the ACDS becomes the fourth esports confederation following the launch of the African Esports Development Federation (AEDF) by the Global Esports Federation, the African Esports Association (AESA) by the International Esports Federation, and the African Esports Federation by the Egyptian sports minister. Apart from the AEDF, which hosted the Africa Esports Championship in partnership with the African Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 at the African Youth Games in Malawi last year, the others have not made any significant impact on the continent. What will the ACDS do differently and how will it create a lasting impact across the region?

A big shout-out to The Afrogamer for providing articles that prompted my questions and thoughts.

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