Kenya has potential to thrive in mobile esports

Gamers during the 2023  Kenya University Esports League.

Photo credit: Pool |

What you need to know:

  • With our burgeoning smartphone accessibility and tech-savvy populace, we have all it takes to make a mark in the global mobile esports arena.

Kenya has firmly established itself as Africa's leading mobile market, boasting widespread smartphone access and a thriving mobile money and fintech ecosystem.

This robust mobile economy paves the way for the growth of related sectors, and one domain showing tremendous potential is mobile esports.

Traditionally, mobile games were relegated to the realm of casual gaming. However, technological advancements are propelling competitive video gaming onto smartphones.

With our burgeoning smartphone accessibility and tech-savvy populace, we have all it takes to make a mark in the global mobile esports arena.

According to the Communications Authority, Kenya has more than 30 million active smartphones, with the number expected to reach 52 million by 2025, positioning us as a major player in Sub-Saharan Africa, second only to South Africa and Nigeria. This surge in smartphone adoption is increasing the player base.

Secondly, affordability is a key factor driving the growth of mobile esports in Kenya.

Unlike PC and console games with high costs, mobile esports titles are often free to play, promoting access and attracting a broader audience. With more internet penetration courtesy of President William Ruto’s digital superhighway drive, and lower data costs, mobile esports fans and players can connect in virtual communities, fostering competition and collaboration.

Kenya's gaming culture further propels the rise of mobile esports. Video gaming is embraced as a form of entertainment and socialisation, and mobile games seamlessly integrate into everyday life. With their casual and easy-to-pick-up nature, they align perfectly with this cultural disposition making them a natural fit for the Kenyan youth, fostering a vibrant esports community.

Recognising the immense growth potential, the Esports Kenya Federation has identified mobile esports as a strategic focus point.

With a roadmap in place, we are targeting qualification to the global esports games, PUBG category, set for China in December 2024.

To catalyze this growth, partnerships are crucial. Service providers can offer subsidised internet packages tailored for mobile gamers, smartphone distributors can explore discounted costs for gaming-centric devices while our government’s ICT hubs can serve as training spaces for our players.

Collaboration within the corporate sector is essential to support and sponsor more mobile esports tournaments, solidifying Kenya's position on the global esports stage.

The trajectory of mobile esports in Kenya is undeniably upward and together, we can ensure that mobile esports becomes an integral part of Kenya's vibrant digital landscape and also promotes our nation’s image on the global stage.