African Games

The African Games, formally known as the All-Africa Games or the Pan African Games, are a continental multi-sport event held every four years, organized by the African Union (AU) with the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and the Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC).

All of the competing nations are from the African continent. The first Games were held in 1965 in Brazzaville, Congo. The International Olympic Committee granted official recognition as a continental multi-sport event, along with the Asian Games and Pan American Games. Since 1999, the Games have also included athletes with a disability.[1]

The Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) was the organisation body for the game. On 26 July 2013, the Extraordinary Assembly of the Supreme Council for Sports held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast that was held on the sidelines of the 5th Session of the African Union Conference of Sports Ministers that started on 22 July 2013 recommended the dissolution of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa and to also transfer all functions, assets & liabilities of SCSA to the African Union Commission.[2][3] The organization of the African Games is now managed by three parts, the AU (the owners of the game), the ANOCA (occupying the technical aspects) and the AASC (developing marketing policy, sponsorship and research resources).

After running previous 11 editions as the All-Africa Games, the games has been renamed the African Games. The decision for the name change was arrived at, during the Executive Council meeting of the African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2012.[4]



Modern Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin conceived the Pan African Games as early as 1920. The colonial powers who ruled Africa at the time were wary of the idea, suspecting the unifying aspect of sport among African people would cause them to assert their independence.

Attempts were made to host the games in Algiers, Algeria in 1925 and Alexandria, Egypt in 1928, but despite considerable preparations taken by coordinators, the efforts failed. The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) first African member, Greek-born Egyptian sprinter Angelo Bolanaki, donated funds to erect a stadium, but still the Games were set back for another three decades.

The Friendship Games

In the early 1960s, French-speaking countries of Africa including France organized the Friendship Games. The Games were organized by Madagascar (1960) and then Côte d'Ivoire (1961). The third games were set for Senegal in 1963. Before they were completed, African Ministers of Youth and Sport met in Paris in 1962; as a few English-speaking countries were already participating, they rechristened the Games as the Pan African Games. The Games were granted official recognition by the IOC as being on par with other continental Games such as the Asian Games and the Pan American Games.

The games

In July 1965, the first games were held in Brazzaville, Congo, now called the All-Africa Games. From 30 countries, around 2,500 athletes competed. Egypt topped the medal count for the first Games.

In 1966, the SCSA was organized in Bamako; it manages the All-Africa Games. The second edition were awarded to Mali in 1969, but a military coup forced the cancellation of the Games. Lagos, Nigeria stepped in as host for the Games in 1971. Those Games were finally held in 1973 due to the Biafra War, which had just ended in Nigeria.

In 1977, the 3rd Games were scheduled to take place in Algeria but due to technical reasons had to be postponed for a year and were held in 1978. Continuing the pattern, the next Games were scheduled to take place in Kenya in 1983, but were pushed back to 1985 and finally took place in Nairobi in 1987.

The four-year Olympic rhythm has not missed a beat since, and the Games have been organized in Cairo, Harare, Johannesburg, and Abuja. In 2007, Algiers once again hosted, becoming the first repeat host. The 2011 edition of the All-Africa Games was held in Maputo, Mozambique in September 2011. Brazzaville hosted the 2015 edition in honor of the Games' 50th anniversary.


All 53 members affiliated to the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) are eligible to take part in the Games. In history, the 53 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have sent competitors to the Games.

South Africa was banned since the beginning of the games in the 1965 All-Africa Games till the 1991 All-Africa Games because Apartheid officially ended when it was invited for the first time to compete the games.

Morocco was banned from the games from the 1987 All-Africa Games to the 2015 African Games because of a political dispute over Western Sahara. Morocco claims the territory as its "Southern Provinces" and controls 80% of it while the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which claims to be a sovereign state, controls the remaining 20% as the "Free Zone". In 2018, after the Moroccan government signed its treaty of return to the African Union, the country also pledged to return to the African Games. Rabat, Morocco will host the 2019 African Games.[5][6][7]


Edition Year Host city[8] Host nation Opened by Date Nations Athletes Sports Events Most gold medals
1 1965 Brazzaville  Republic of the Congo Alphonse Massemba July 1828 30 2,500 10 54 United Arab Republic
1969 Bamako  Mali Disrupted by military coup
2 1973 Lagos  Nigeria Yakubu Gowon January 718 36 12 92  Egypt
3 1978 Algiers  Algeria Houari Boumediene July 1328 38 3,000 12 117  Tunisia
4 1987 Nairobi  Kenya Daniel Arap Moi August 112 41 14 164  Egypt
5 1991 Cairo  Egypt Hosni Mubarak September 20October 1 43 18 213  Egypt
6 1995 Harare  Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe September 1323 46 6,000 19 224  South Africa
7 1999 Johannesburg  South Africa Thabo Mbeki September 1019 51 6,000 20 224  South Africa
8 2003 Abuja  Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo October 517 50 6,000 22 332  Nigeria
9 2007 Algiers  Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika July 1123 52 4,793 27 374  Egypt
10 2011 Maputo  Mozambique Armando Guebuza September 318 53 5,000 20 244  South Africa
11 2015 Brazzaville  Republic of the Congo Denis Nguesso September 419 54 15,000 22 323  Egypt
12 2019 Rabat  Morocco Prince Moulay Rachid August 1931 54 4,386 26 340  Egypt
13 2023 Accra  Ghana Future event


35 sports, 2 demonstration sports and 6 Para sports were presented in African Games history until 2019 African Games (also 1991 Diving and 1999 Netball were demonstration).

Main Sports
Boat Sports
Combat Sports
Team Sports
18Field HockeyNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Racquet Sports
26Table TennisNo
Other Sports
30Cue Sports (Snooker)NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Demonstration Sports
37Pharaoh BoxingNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Para Sports ( from 2019 African Para Games )
38Para AthleticsNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
40Para PowerliftingNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
41Para SwimmingNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
42Para Table TennisNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
43Wheelchair BasketballNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo

Medal count

50 nations have won at least a single medal in the African Games, from 54 National Olympic Committees participating throughout the history of the Games. 42 nations have won at least a single gold medal. [9]

1  Egypt (EGY)126505044811635
2  Nigeria (NGR)124704284281326
3  South Africa (RSA)73973622951054
4  Algeria (ALG)123103124001022
5  Tunisia (TUN)12234208242781
6  Kenya (KEN)12134144164442
7  Senegal (SEN)126571153289
8  Ethiopia (ETH)12455475174
9  Cameroon (CMR)124170137248
10  Morocco (MAR)4404461145
11  Ghana (GHA)9365495185
12  Zimbabwe (ZIM)12354371149
13  Ivory Coast (CIV)12293265126
14  Angola (ANG)924214186
15  Uganda (UGA)1222214487


After hearing about the Pan-African Games whilst on a business trip to Congo, Soviet Union-Armenian diplomat Ashot Melik-Shahnazaryan got the idea to create the Pan-Armenian Games.

See also


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