Lagos-French government to set up E-sports in bilateral agreement

Lagos-French government to set up E-sports in bilateral agreement

Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the French government on Friday through its ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann to enable professional electronic sports (E-sports) players to engage in real-time virtual communities while encouraging youth participation in the state.

The MoU was a bilateral agreement that is set to be background for the ‘multi-billion dollar’ online gaming industry in the country. This was quoted from a press release by the Lagos state government.

In the agreement, the French government would deliver a high-grade online video gaming infrastructure that would afford players in Lagos to switch from being casual participants to competitive players in their games of choice across online leagues.

Lagos state government in partnetship with France
L-R: French ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann, Lagos stste governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu

According to the governor, the development would usher new ways of engaging youths and connecting them to opportunities in the state. This is against the high rate of illegal activities especially fraud connected to a growing number of unemployed youths in the country.

“Signing this MoU is the beginning of another long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship between Lagos and France. We are delighted to be laying the foundation for the development of this industry and becoming the first city in this part of Africa to do it. We are building something new, fresh and organic which will grow and uplift our youths in the IT world. This is the essence of this collaboration and the time is right to give our young people a new lease of life in the e-sports industry.”

“Our enthusiasm is raised because, aside from the money to be earned from the industry, there would be skills and knowledge to be shared and transferred among our citizens taking part in the online sports. Technology, innovation and creativity are part of things we are committing great investment into in order to improve youth engagement. It is our belief that all the players will get to see the benefit of having this partnership between the two Governments,” he added.

In order to achieve this, the government enabled consensus among all e-sports stakeholders to forge a common front in building vibrant and sustainable ecosystem, and established a body through the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) to oversee the growth of the industry.

“It is really to ensure we can create the avenue and space for our smart and intelligent young people to tap into opportunities in the tech-driven industry and deepen their learning through engagement with their peers across the world,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Also speaking on the development, Blatmann noted that the MoU contained the actions and policy roadmap that would strengthen e-sports in the country, noting that Lagos became the first city to be partnered by the French Government in Africa. She also added that French investors are ready to build the industry in Nigeria.

Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Hon. Segun Dawodu, revealed that the process to eventually strike a partnership with the French government started a year ago. He pledged that the State government would collaborate with the partners to ensure proper coordination of the online gaming industry.

A top e-sports player and popular Hip-hop artiste, Sidney Esiri (Dr. SID), described the partnership as a “right step”, stating that e-sport was becoming a new mainstay among the youth to earn legitimate money. He also commended the Lagos Government and France for initiating the partnership to make the industry viable.

E-sports are organised competitive video games played in real time and watched by millions of participants across the world.

There is an estimate of 42 million e-sports players in Nigeria, with Lagos boasting of a growing population of casual and competitive video game players, who invest resources to participate in online competition.

Adebola Makinde

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