Sportech: a lever for the development of the sports sector in Africa

Amateurs, professionals and fans excite the sports industry, which is 555 billion euros worldwide and is expected to grow at 33% per year by 2023.[1]. With the inclusion of digital technologies in our daily lives and the acceleration of digital transformation in the African continent, Sportech may well become a vector for economic growth and social development in the continent. In 2050, more than half of Africa’s population will be under the age of 25. From now on, young people will contribute fully to this dynamic in the world of Sportech. With the arrival of major unifying sporting events in Africa, notably the Dakar Youth Olympic Games in 2026, sport will be at the center of the continent’s influence more than ever.

With the onset of the health crisis, after the suspension of many sporting events and the closure of gyms, the sports sector in Africa as a whole has been hit hard. However, despite this, the health crisis has undoubtedly accelerated the digitalization and modernization of sports on the African continent. A large number of African startups at Sportech have developed digital solutions for home schooling (home workouts), fitness and sports data analysis.

What is Sportech?

Startups in the world of Sportech put the latest technological developments at the service of sport with the aim of modernizing and further digitalizing the sector. These startups are exploring a variety of topics, including researching new materials, manufacturing objects related to augmented reality, developing mobile applications, and analyzing data. Many actors, including professional athletes, doctors, fans, sporting event organizers, scientists and government bodies, are not only part of this promising ecosystem, but also its main beneficiaries.

Sportech landscape in Africa

According to a 2020 study by consulting firm Roland Berger[2], currently the US and China have the most mature Sportech lines, having spawned more than a dozen unicorns so far. Even though innovation in the Sportech sector originates on the African continent, it is still underfunded due to lack of knowledge among investors on the continent. However, there are over sixty Sportech start-ups in South Africa today.[3] and we are seeing a wave of digital innovation in North Africa, especially in the midst of a health crisis. This is the case with two companies in Morocco, GC Sports and MDJS (la Marocaine Des Jeux et Des Sports), who have launched their own mobile application: hymflix, application home schooling as well as nt7arco app, home sports coaching app. We can also mention other Moroccan mobile apps like MyBfit online (digital learning room created in 2020) or iWorkout (an intelligent personal training platform launched in 2020), both of which use digital technology to reinvent the sport.

Digital at the heart of Sportech’s new dynamics on the African continent

With the digital transformation accelerating on the continent, a window of opportunity is opening for the Sportech sector in Africa. Thanks to new innovative technologies such as big data, the cloud or the Internet of Things (IoT), it is now possible to develop even more innovative solutions to personalize sports events, promote inclusion and democratization. irreplaceable ally.

By mass equipping African athletes with specialized connected objects that better track distance, duration, intensity, heart rate, and recovery data, their performance can be enhanced and improved, allowing in the end give African sport the international impact it deserves.

Digital technologies also allow the democratization of traditional African sports among the younger generation. Thus, with the help of mobile applications, more and more young people in Morocco can rediscover gurara (traditional wrestling). Thus, this example highlights the idea that digital solutions can be made available to pass on cultural heritage to new generations.

By making full contributions to the development of digital infrastructure in Africa, Huawei has and will continue to participate in supporting innovation and research and development programs, and support young shoots in the Sportech world to help them develop their innovative solutions. In fact, the Group annually organizes the Tech4Good program, which encourages participants (students and young talent) to respond to social problems with technological solutions. At Huawei, we recognize the key role of sports in social cohesion in Africa and strive to indirectly contribute to the development of sports on the continent through innovation, connectivity and digital access.

Adnan BEN HALIMA, Vice President of Communications for the Mediterranean Region of Huawei in North Africa.

[1] NPD Group, July 2019