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Ep 143: Cracking Africa’s mobile gaming market

Carry1st is on a mission to be the leading consumer content platform in Africa, focusing on mobile games and fintech companies. In this episode, the co-founder and CEO of Carry1st, Cordel Robbin-Coker, shares his experience with marketing mobile games to the new, emerging markets of Africa. Learn about African trends, influencer marketing, user behavior, and how the African market compares to the world.

Cordel began his career in finance at Morgan Stanley and then the Carlyle Group, where he led a $700 million private equity fund in sub-Saharan Africa. He started investing in tech startups for fun, which led to Carry1st, a marriage between his childhood passion for gaming and the massive potential he saw for mobile content in Africa. He is based in Capetown, South Africa.

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Questions Cordel Answered in this Episode

  • How did you get to where you are today? What do you focus on in your role at Carry1st?
  • What types of partners do you work with?
  • What trends do you see in the adoption of mobile games in the African market? What kind of games resonate with users in Africa?
  • How does that demographic affect which gaming titles you choose to support?
  • Does someone on your team do market research on popular games in different regions?
  • If you were to compare Africa to the US mobile market, what year would you say Africa is in currently?
  • How does the access to internet affect the mobile games that you’re putting out on the market?
  • Can you tell us about your experience with influencer marketing in Africa?
  • What are the challenges and solutions with payment services in the African region?


  • 1:36 Cordel’s background & Carry1st
  • 8:30 What mobile games are trending in Africa
  • 10:32 Why Carry1st isn’t depending on performance marketing
  • 12:05 Consumer insight strategy
  • 13:25 Comparing Africa’s mobile gaming industry
  • 17:13 Infrastructure & accessibility
  • 22:06 Influencer marketing in Africa
  • 27:55 Challenges & solutions with payments


(8:45-9:00) “There are 1.4 billion people in Africa but 1.1 of those are under the age of 40. So you have a median age of 19 years old, which compares to something like 42 or 43 in Western Europe.”

(10:49-11:05) “We believe that there is a lot of low-hanging fruit, particularly in a new, emerging region, with organic – finding different ways to drive organic installs, driving community-led growth, influencers, and so on.”

(13:34-13:39) “Africa’s mobile game industry is essentially where Southeast Asia’s was six or seven years ago.”

(30:05-30:26) “I think crypto and Web3 will be more impactful in Africa than anywhere else in the world. The reason is because there are legitimate day-to-day use cases for the majority of folks whereas, in the West, it tends to be, up until now, primarily a tool for speculation.”