$1bn Digital Transformation Project Key to Africa’s Online Gaming Industry

The American multinational technology company Google has earmarked US$1 billion for digital transformation in Africa, this investment covering a range of initiatives, such as improving connectivity and investing in start-ups. The project will connect 300 million people in Africa over five years.

This is what we have all been waiting for; the internet connectivity infrastructure deficit is a barrier for Africa industries and businesses. A population of 1.3 billion and an estimated 780 million people do not have access to the internet. The project from Google is backing cabling projects designed to improve the quantity and speed of African internet access. Africa’s online gaming industry is set to benefit from the project. The continent with young, creative and enterprising with mobile-first resort the choice to access the internet and affordability thanks to the influx of Chinese tech brands in Africa has connected a substantial population to access the internet through affordable smartphones.

The online gaming industry and the betting industry have experienced growth from an underground industry to mainstream business. However, the sector is still yet to become a full-blown industry. The ecosystem still faces uphill challenges in terms of access to the internet, expensive internet access, poor connections, which has been the challenge for the betting enthusiast and in the vast majority of the markets in Africa.

Today, we still see that many jurisdictions still lagged in the online gaming and betting space, considering players behaviour are still retail-centric due to these obstacles. Although online gaming and betting have taken off in a specific market, a case study, in the Kenya markets, the two dominant companies are strictly online-centric. This was possible thanks to substantial mobile money penetration in the country. The Google investment will be essential and a game-changer and will not just connect 300 million people in Africa; the gaming ecosystem landscape will experience massive adoption of mobile online betting and gambling. The project will continue to have a profound impact on communities through technology accessibility and information.

The Google investment will also support digital transformation. It will enable affordable access, help develop a product for every type of user on the African continent, and support companies in their digital transformation goal. The demand for internet access will be significant as a new set of digital natives’ generation of 44 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s population, equivalent to just over 450 million people, will own a mobile phone by 2025 according to GSMA this while the project is pivotal. The digital battlefield is underway in Africa. It is evident we have seen other international tech brands building a submarine cable to connect Africa, such as Facebook, backing its own 37,000 km’ 2Africa’ cable, which will connect the mainland with Asia and Europe.

However, the cable will be the most comprehensive subsea cable system in the world when completed. Orange, Huwai, and ZTE are also embarking on cable projects to capture those in rural and remote areas and create affordable internet access for African people.

Interestingly, the recent project and commitment from various tech companies venturing into the telecom space will provide a competitive market over the years. The competition to take a large chunk of the market is well underway. Interestingly, the investment is critical as access to digital services is pivotal to the growing population, of which the vast majorities are under age 25. As mentioned in the article, approximately 780 million of Africa’s population still lacks internet access and affordable and robust internet service.

Despite the chunk of mobile penetration access, Africa still has many jobs on its hands to close the gap. After the completion of these submarine cable projects by 2023, it is expected to aid businesses and, of course, a game-changer for online gaming and betting. It is estimated that players behaviour approach to betting will experience massive adoption for online betting, and gambling will experience a surge in revenue for sports betting firms.

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