By Florence Onuegbu
Lagos, Sept. 16, 2022 (NAN) The Lagos State Government and the Government of France on Friday sealed a bilateral partnership which laid the foundation for the development of e-sports in Nigeria.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on e-sports at the Lagos House, Marina.
The MoU will enable professional e-sports players in Lagos to go on real time online community and compete with players around the world to earn fortunes from the multi-billion dollar industry.
In the bilateral agreement, the French partners would be delivering a high-grade online video gaming infrastructure that will afford players in Lagos to switch from being casual participants to competitive players in their games of choice across online leagues.
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.
Sanwo-Olu said that through the MoU, Lagos would be unlocking opportunities for the youth, who were the main players, to make legitimate earnings from online gaming, while creating new ways of youth engagement.
He said that signing the MoU is the beginning of another long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship between Lagos and France.
According to him, government is delighted to be laying the foundation for the development of the e-sports 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 parts 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 said.
The governor said that e-sports would also give players the opportunity to further hone their skills in information technology and deepen their knowledge and creativity.
He said that to effectively explore and leverage the opportunities in the industry, the state government, through the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), had established the Lagos State E-sports Association.
Sanwo-Olu said that the government embarked on consensus building among all the e-sports stakeholders to forge a common front in building vibrant and sustainable ecosystem.
”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,” he said.
Blatmann said that the MoU contained the actions and policy roadmap that would strengthen e-sports in the country, stating that Lagos became the first city to be partnered by the French Government in Africa.
The envoy said that the partnership would propel and redefine engagement with growing number of youth gamers, pledging that French investors were ready to build the industry with their Nigerian counterpart.
The Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Segun Dawodu, said that the journey to seal the partnership started over a year ago.
Dawodu said that the state government would work with the partners to regulate the online gaming industry and make it efficient.
A top e-sports player and popular Hip-hop artiste, Sidney Esiri (Dr. SID), described the partnership as ”right step”.
Esiri said that e-sport was becoming a new mainstay among the youth to earn legitimate money and commended Lagos Government and France for initiating the partnership to make the industry viable. (