African Games

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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[edit]

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[edit]

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 1995 All-Africa Games because Apartheid (a discriminatory policy against black Africans and other people of color) 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 onwards 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 it to be a sovereign state controls the remaining 20% as the "Free Zone".


Host cities of the African Games
Year Games Host Country Host City Opened by Dates Nations Competitors Sports Events Top Country
On Medal Table
Men Women Total
1965 I  Republic of Congo Brazzaville Alphonse Massemba-Débat 18–25 July 30 2500 10 54  United Arab Republic
1969  Mali Bamako Disrupted by Military Coup
1973 II  Nigeria Lagos Yakubu Gowon 7–18 January 36 12 92  Egypt
1978 III  Algeria Algiers Houari Boumediene 13–28 July 45 3000 12 117  Tunisia
1987 IV  Kenya Nairobi Daniel Arap Moi 1–12 August 41 14 164  Egypt
1991 V  Egypt Cairo Hosni Mubarak 20 September–1 October 43 18 213  Egypt
1995 VI  Zimbabwe Harare Robert Mugabe 13–23 September 46 6000 19 224  South Africa
1999 VII  South Africa Johannesburg Thabo Mbeki 10–19 September 51 6000 20 224  South Africa
2003 VIII  Nigeria Abuja Olusegun Obasanjo 5–17 October 50 6000 22 332  Egypt
2007 IX  Algeria Algiers Abdelaziz Bouteflika 11–23 July 52 4793 27 374  Egypt
2011 X  Mozambique Maputo Armando Guebuza 3–18 September 53 5000 20 249  South Africa
2015 XI  Republic of the Congo Brazzaville Denis Sassou Nguesso 4–19 September 54 15000 22 172  Egypt
2019 XII  Zambia Lusaka Future event


33 sports were presented in All-Africa Games history.

Medal count[edit]

50 nations have won at least a single medal in the All-Africa Games, from 54 National Olympic Committees participating throughout the history of the Games. 42 nations have won at least a single gold medal.

No. Nation Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Egypt (EGY) 11 548 406 408 1362
2  Nigeria (NGR) 11 381 360 337 1078
3  South Africa (RSA) 6 300 270 217 787
4  Algeria (ALG) 11 258 286 342 886
5  Tunisia (TUN) 11 182 158 184 524
6  Kenya (KEN) 11 107 116 130 353
7  Senegal (SEN) 11 55 58 110 223
8  Cameroon (CMR) 11 32 49 111 192
9  Ghana (GHA) 11 32 45 76 153
10  Ethiopia (ETH) 11 31 39 52 122
11  Zimbabwe (ZIM) 8 27 33 60 120
12  Ivory Coast (CIV) 11 21 25 44 90


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[edit]


External links[edit]