The 13th Edition of the African Games under the theme “Experience the African Dream” Opens

Under the theme “Experience the African Dream” the 13th African Games kicked off, with a spectacular official opening, to showcase the unique cultural heritage.

Under the theme “Experience the African Dream” the 13th African Games kicked off, with a spectacular official opening, to showcase the unique cultural heritage, sporting talent of the African continent and its diversity at the University of Ghana Sports Stadium in Accra, the capital city of the Republic of Ghana. The significance of the venue was described as the land of Kwame Nkrumah, the cradle of panafricanism.

The Games, organized in collaboration with the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and the Association of Africa Sports Confederations (AASC) following a Negotiated Agreement signed in February 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was graced during the grand opening ceremony by Nana Akufo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana; Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of African Union Commission; and Amb. Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development (HHS) at the African Union Commission, among others.

Nana Addo Dankwa- Akufo Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana, and the host of the African Games, provided extraordinary leadership and personal commitment to ensure that Ghana delivers a successful edition of the African Games. The vast political, financial and material investment that Ghana has deployed, shows yet another testament to the unwavering commitment to the ideals of African unity. Most importantly, the African Games are also an opportunity to highlight the values of fair play, equality, discipline, inclusion, perseverance, tolerance, and teamwork; these are considered as invaluable keys for building character and peaceful societies.

Throughout history, African athletes have credibly performed in international sports competitions. For instance, the Rugby World Cup Paris 2023, FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the World Athletics Championship in Budapest and many others. These demonstrate sportsmanship and inspire the next generation. Sports is a powerful platform for human connection.

History of the African Games: The historical roots of the African Games trace back to a General Assembly of African Ministers of Youth and Sport in Dakar, Senegal, in 1963, leading to the inaugural event in Brazzaville, Congo, in 1965. The success of these games led to the creation of the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA), which was recognized by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) as the official coordinating body for continental sports. In 2013, the SCSA was dissolved, transferring all functions to the African Union Commission, and in 2016, the African Union Sports Council Secretariat was established to further sports development and coordinate the African Games.

About the African Games: The African Games, a property of the African Union and coordinated by the AU Sports Council, are convened quadrennially, acting as a precursor to the Olympics. They serve as a celebration of athletic excellence, African cultural heritage, and unity. The event plays a pivotal role in advancing youth education, gender equality, and social cohesion, aligning with the aspirations of Agenda 2063 for “The Africa We Want.”

The Games were established to foster high-performance sports and cultural exchanges among African Union Member States. Organized every four years, these games adhere to rules set by the African Union Specialized Technical Committee for Youth, Culture, and Sports (STC-YCS). The African Union Sport Council Technical Committee for the African Games oversees the evaluation of hosting bids and the overall organization by the local.

Organizational efforts for the 2024 Games involve collaboration between the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and the Association of Africa Sports Confederations (AASC). This partnership, established through an agreement signed in February 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, emphasizes the collective commitment towards the successful execution of the 13th Edition of the African Games.

About the 13th Africa Games: The 2024 13th African Games, set to be hosted in Accra, Ghana, represent a landmark occasion as it marks the first time the nation will host this esteemed continental sports event. Spanning 15 days, the event will see participation from over 5,000 athletes from across Africa, highlighting the country’s capability to organize major events.

This year’s games will feature over 5,000 athletes vying in 29 sports disciplines, including eight that will serve as qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The cities of Accra and Cape Coast will host the events from March 8 to 23, 2024. Competitions will span across sports codes like Arm-Wrestling, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball (3×3), and several others, held in venues such as the Accra Sports Stadium and the University of Ghana Stadium.

According to the African Union, representing over 60% of Africa’s population, healthy and well educated young Africans are the continent’s best vehicle to transform Africa. Therefore, investing in sport is one of the best ways to implement the AU’s Agenda 2063. 

Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah
MD Africa Editor Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.