Clarion Gaming has appointed John Kamara, Director of Global Gaming Africa, as Event Ambassador for ICE Africa, as the event positions itself to drive development across the region and bring the whole African Gaming Continent together when it opens between 24 and 25 October at the Sandton Convention Centre, South Africa. Acknowledging the accolade and his objectives for the inaugural ICE Africa, Kamara explores gaming’s current situation on the continent, the region’s burgeoning disposable income and why operators view ICE Africa as an exciting gateway to the emerging market.
As Ambassador for ICE Africa, which objectives have you set out for the inaugural event?
The key objective is to showcase ICE Africa as the go-to event which will help develop and bridge the gap between Africa and the rest of the world in terms of gaming. For myself as Ambassador, I am also keen to work with Clarion Gaming to promote the value of the African market and the opportunities that abound across the continent.
Talking at ICE London in February, you highlighted that the region is 52 nations with 1.6billion people, 68% of whom are under the age of 27 - at this time, where do you see the growth trends in the market?
Since ICE London, the region has actually grown again and is currently about 55 nations strong. The key trend in Africa at the moment is the growth in the FinTech space, Financial inclusion, Blockchain and Intra-Africa trade. All of this means there will be more disposable income in the African market, which is good news for gaming.
What was the response to ICE Africa when you spoke with attendees in London?
People were extremely excited about the event as a gateway to unlocking the African market for each one of them.
With new developments and advances in sports betting, Blockchain and mobile fuelling excitement about the continent, which sectors are key for the international industry to learn about at ICE Africa?
The Financial (FinTech) sector is a key sector that is driving different types of growth in Africa and has a direct effect on gaming, because it includes payments and so much more. In addition, the growth of the entertainment, hospitality and tourism sector is very much targeted at youths who are the number one drivers of gaming growth in Africa. With regards to Blockchain, we are seeing a number of dynamic decisions being made by African governments to include Blockchain in growth and development, so this bodes well for multiple sector growth in Africa.
In addition to the business side of events, how do you think the trade bodies and regulators can benefit from attending ICE Africa?
Regulators can benefit by hearing from operators and also explaining a number of new regulations or changes in licensing and other processes that have happened in a number of countries. ICE Africa is also a place that regulators can use to instil the much-needed confidence operators need to hear about their markets and laws going forward.
In your eyes, why was Africa chosen by Clarion to be the first time their ICE brand has been extended beyond its London home?
Africa is the only emerging market that is growing at double digits at the moment globally. Other markets have emerged to a certain extent, but we are at the beginning of things. Watch this space...
ICE Africa will comprise an extensive learning agenda, world-class training and staff development modules, products and services from leading gaming brands and extensive networking opportunities. Supporting partners for ICE Africa include the South African Bookmakers’ Association, the Western Cape Bookmakers Association, the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling and the European Casino Association.
For more information on the first ICE Africa and to register, visit the ICE Africa website: www.iceafrica.za.com
Image: John Kamara, Director of Global Gaming Africa