Sportech: a development arm for the sports industry in Africa


Amateurs, professionals and fans alike are excited by the sports industry, which represents 555 billion euros worldwide and is expected to grow by 33% each year until 2023.[1]. With the inclusion of digital in our daily lives and the acceleration of digital transformation in the African continent, Sportech can be a very good vector of economic growth and social development in the continent. By 2050, more than half of Africa’s population will be under the age of 25. From then on, young people will fully contribute to this dynamic in the Sportech world. With the arrival of major unifying sporting events in Africa – especially the Youth Olympic Games in Dakar in 2026 – sport will be at the center of the continent’s influence more than ever before.

Since the beginning of the health crisis, the sports industry in Africa as a whole has been hit hard, after many sporting events have been suspended and gyms have been closed. But despite this, the health crisis has undeniably accelerated the digitization and modernization of sport on the African continent. Numerous African start-ups at Sportech have developed digital solutions. homeschooling (home training), fitness and sports data analysis.

What is Sporttech?

Start-ups in the world of Sportech put the latest technological developments at the disposal of sports in order to modernize and further digitize this sector. These start-ups explore various topics such as researching new materials, producing objects connected to augmented reality, developing mobile applications and analyzing data. Many actors, including sports professionals, doctors, fans, sporting events organizers, scientists and public administrations, 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 United States and China have the most mature Sportech lines, having produced more than a dozen unicorns. Despite sprouting in the African continent, innovation in the Sportech sector is still underfunded due to the lack of knowledge of investors in the continent. However, to date, there are more than sixty Sporttech start-ups in South Africa.[3] and especially in the midst of a health crisis, we are seeing a wave of digital innovation in North Africa. This is the case for two companies in Morocco, GC Sports and MDJS (la Marocaine Des Jeux et Des Sports), both launching their own mobile apps: gym, application homeschooling and nt7arko app, home sports coaching app. We can also mention other Moroccan mobile applications such as MyBfit Online (a digital training room created in 2020) or iWorkout (a smart personal training platform launching in 2020), both leverage digital to reinvent the sport.

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

With the acceleration of digital transformation on the continent, a real window of opportunity opens for the Sportech sector in Africa. Using 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 experiences and foster inclusion and democratization. important ally.

By massively equipping African athletes with special connected objects that allow better traceability of data in terms of distance, duration, intensity, heart rate, as well as recovery, it will be possible to advance and improve their performance. after all To give African sport the international impact it deserves.

Digital also makes it possible to democratize traditional African sports among the younger generation. Thus, more and more young people in Morocco are able to rediscover Gourara (traditional wrestling) through mobile apps. This example thus underlines the idea that digital solutions can be offered to transfer cultural heritage to new generations.

By fully contributing to the development of digital infrastructure in Africa, Huawei continues and will continue to support innovation and R&D programs while supporting young exiles in the Sportech world to help them develop innovative solutions. In fact, the Group annually organizes the Tech4Good program, which encourages participants (students and young talents) to respond with technological solutions to a social problem. At Huawei, we recognize the key role of sport in social cohesion in Africa and are committed to indirectly contributing to the development of sport in the continent through innovation, connectivity and digital access.

By Adnane BEN HALIMA, Vice President of Public Relations for the Mediterranean Region of Huawei North Africa.

[1] NPD Group, July 2019