The All-Africa Games, sometimes called the African Games or the Pan African Games, are a regional multi-sport event held every four years, organized by the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa. The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) will takeover the organization of the games after a meeting of the African Union (AU) Conference of Sports Ministers recommended the dissolution of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA). 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.
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 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.
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 (Supreme Council for Sport in Africa) 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 will host 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 1995 All-Africa Games because Apartheid when it was invited for the first time to compete the games.
However, Morocco participated to the game from the first edition to 1978 All-Africa Games. It was banned to the games from the 1987 All-Africa Games till now because political problem in Western Sahara.
32 sports were presented in All-Africa Games history.
48 nations have won at least a single medal in the All-Africa Games, from 53 National Olympic Committees participating throughout the history of the Games. 41 nations have won at least a single gold medal. Egypt became till now the leadership of the most winning medals.
Host cities of the All-Africa-Games
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.