Sanwo-Olu: Lagos Targeting Control of 30% Africa’s Gaming Industry

Segun James

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, said the State was aiming to increase the share of its African gaming market to at least 30 per cent.

The Governor who admitted that the gaming industry has seen exponential growth in recent years in Africa, noted that as a key player in the rapidly growing the State government was determined to solidify its status as the sixth largest economy in the continent and the highest growing region.

Sanwo-Olu, who said this in his keynote address at a four-day conference on gaming in Africa tagged: ‘Africa Gaming Expo 2024,’ at Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, said the State government had re-calibrated the thrust of gaming and tourism through the development of a designed strategy to make the sector not only as a huge revenue earner, but a model for economic regeneration.

The event with the theme: “Exploring the Future of the Africa Gaming Market: Emerging Trends, Prospects and Opportunities,” attracted panelists drawn from industry experts, leaders and operators all over the world.

Sanwo-Olu said, “The theme speaks directly to the key objectives which the Expo is set to achieve, against the backdrop of the relatively nascent nature of the industry in Africa.

“Hence, the overall objective of this historic gathering of stakeholders and operators, game developers, investment bankers, venture capitalists, government gaming regulators, and other gaming stakeholders across the globe is to discuss and examine the regulatory frameworks, emerging trends, challenges, opportunities and prospects in the Africa gaming market and the gaming value chain.

“It will also provide a unique opportunity to review the present industry practices against global best standards and chart a new course for the future of gaming market in Africa, which is currently estimated at $7.8 billion. 

“However, for us in Lagos State, as an emerging smart city, the sub-theme of the Expo – ‘Entertainment, Gaming and Tourism: A Nexus for Economic Growth,’ would appear more germane as it speaks to the integral part of the State’s economic agenda and priorities.

“Lagos is indeed well-known for its commercial and political grandeur. It is regarded as the commercial and entertainment capital of Africa and has remained committed to the development of the nation’s tourism sector through entertainment and cultural export across various entities like movie, music, fashion and recently gaming, to mention but few.

“No doubt, we are indeed in the right place. Convening the African Gaming Expo in Lagos could not have come at a better time as it portends to strategically reinforce the State government’s development agenda as encapsulated in T.H.E.M.E.S+ Agenda, specifically the sixth pillar – Entertainment and Tourism.

“As part of our commitment and renewed determination to leverage the potentialities of the gaming, entertainment and tourism sector, the State government has re-calibrated the thrust of tourism through the development of a Tourism Master Plan and Tourism Policy designed to make the sector not only as a huge revenue earner but a model for economic regeneration as we have seen in cities such as Zanzibar, Johannesburg and Cape Town.”

Speaking further, the governor said: “These initiatives, aimed at increasing our share of the African gaming market to at least 30 per cent and solidify our status as a key player in this rapidly growing industry, are largely being propelled through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.”

The governor noted that despite Lagos being the fastest growing cities in the world and ranks sixth in Gross Domestic Product in Africa, “Lagos State still needs more support in terms of investment in the entertainment and tourism sector.

“The State has one of the best protocols for ease of doing business.  This Expo would provide our partners insight into the investment opportunities waiting to be explored in our Entertainment, Gaming and Tourism industry in the State. “

In his welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority, Bashir Are, thanked the governor for his commitment towards revolutionising the gaming industry through effective regulation, by leveraging on modern technological innovation and global best practices.

He said the Expo was to exchange  ideas and share valuable insights that would change the face of gaming while harmonising the standard and regulation in Africa.

The promoters of the event included the Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority, Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Economy of Nigeria.

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